Monday, December 29, 2008

Lah-di-Dah....

Before you start nagging I have an alibi for my absence. Boredom. Actually, I was shaking my ass and hanging out with my grandnieces and grandnephews in Delaware over the Christmas holidays and couldn't have cared less about asshole preachers who are speaking at the upcoming inaugural, or douchebag president-elects who care more about moving to the right than they do about DOING what's right. Asshole.

So shut yer traps and let me wish you all a joyous, happy & healthy New Year or whatever it is that you celebrate around your house at this time of the year! (Saturnalia?)

This was my 11th sober Christmas, in case anybody is counting, and although the fear of being magically struck drunk has long since left me, it can still be a time of dredging up and sifting through unpleasant childhood memories of the drunks I lived with while I was raising myself. Fortunately, I don't do much of that anymore. I have, finally, put most of those demons to rest and choose to live, instead, in the present moment rather than the dreary past.

I'm almost ready to have a boyfriend (don't faint).

There are a couple of headlines in today's celebu-news which caught my fancy. The first pertains to the movie-going experience in general. I love movies. Always have. I hid out a lot in movie theaters as a kid. So imagine my delight when I read this:

"Philly filmgoer gets firing squad for yakking during 'Benjamin Button'."

We easterners don't fuck around when it comes to our movies. BTW, I saw "Benjamin Button" last week and thoroughly liked it, even if it is just like "Forrest Gump" only with Brad Pitt instead of Tom Hanks. So go see it.

I also saw "Doubt" and, as you'd expect, when Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman collide the sparks fairly fly off the screen. I was SPELLBOUND.

Now, in recovery news, there's this hi-larious item regarding "Choices" the upscale, pricey, Malibu Rehab for folks who like to recover AND go clubbing (it's ads state that they do NOT believe in the 'disease concept' of addiction, nor do they preach 12-Step recovery). I'm sure it works for somebody, but it sure wouldn't have worked for me.

Times are hard and they're trying to drum up business by luring in D-list celebutards to tout the place. Read about it here.

If I don't get around to posting again before Thursday, I want all (2) of you to have a safe, sane and sober New Year's and remember, if you insist on getting drunk, for God's sake have the common sense to stay home to do it.

Peace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Political Calculus

I lifted this, verbatim, from JoeMyGod's website today.

Obama Responds To Rick Warren Flap
=====================================================
Barack Obama was questioned about his selection of Rick Warren during a televised press conference this morning. His response:
=====================================================
I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and -- well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something I have been consistent on and something I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency. What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues. And I would note that a couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion. Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue, I think, is a part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're never going to agree on every single issue. What we have to do is create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. So Rick Warren has been invited to speak, Dr. Joseph Lowery -- who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren about a whole host of issues -- is also speaking.
===================================================

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog reacts:
===================================================

Great, then where are the racists, Mr. Obama? We don't see you embracing too many of them in the name of learning to agree to disagree. Or does your desire to create a new "atmosphere," and reach out to our enemies, stop when it's your own people, your own children, you'd be betraying? Funny how you only reach across the aisle when it's someone else's family, gay families in particular, getting the shaft.

===================================================
And this is from yours truly, JoyZeeBoy:

In other words, how many more times do we have to get beaten up in order to be allowed to sit at the table? What is the political calculus here? Do we need to put in a hundred or two hundred or three hundred years of being "less than" and "left behind", like a certain other minority did, before we finally are allowed to have our piece of the pie?

I'm just curious, as I lie here beneath this bus, wondering how much longer I have to put up with being somebody's fucking "issue" rather than being treated like the human being I am.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Automotive Christmas!


As anyone over the age of, oh, say, reason knows, Detroit saw (or should've seen) the handwriting on the wall during the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973.

And it did abso-fucking-lutley nothing about it.

Eventually that particular oil crisis subsided, OPEC was created, the cartel started fixing prices and we became little more than Harem girls to a bunch of Middle East potentates.

All thanks to Detroit.

Now, of course, the Pep Boys have come, hat in hand and blaming the unions for all their problems, before Congress, begging for $$$$ to help the cash-strapped automakers "get through" this "difficult time."

As others have noted, nobody helped the autoworkers in Indiana and Michigan and elsewhere when the Pep Boys started shipping all the manufacturing jobs overseas, not merely to save money in manufacturing but, rather, to MAXIMIZE PROFITS FOR THE AUTO COMPANY SHAREHOLDERS which, incidently, included most of the senior management of the companies.

As a recovered alcoholic, I'm here to tell you that until somebody hits "bottom" they have absolutely zero impetus to change.

And if there's one thing I've learned in 12-Step recovery, it's this:

"If you keep on doing what you did, you will keep on getting what you got."

So the Pep Boys can bitch and whine and carry on and get out their blamethrowers and try to pin the blame on the labor donkey all they want, the fact is that the TOP of the industry is rotten to the core and has been ever since the end of World War II.

This is what unrestrained, ungoverned Capitalism looks like. It looks like greed run amok. It looks like "get the government off our backs and let the markets take care of the problems."

It looks like a bunch of empty suits begging the American public for more drug money, so it can keep on doing exactly what it always did, making shoddy merchandise and then guilt-tripping the public into buying it.

It looks like shit. It smells like shit. It is shit.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Viscious Queens




Hey! Remember when "viscious queen" meant some limp-wristed drag queen who'd scratch your eyes out? Bitch!

I do.

But to hear the latest crap out of the RRR, you'd think we've been living in gyms for the last 30 years (we have) and pumping ourselves up (we did) and taking self-defense lessons and are now:

S U P E R Q U E E R S!




making the world unsafe for God-fearing folk such as they. I also remember a time when, with the swing of a baseball bat, or a well-timed public raid on a bar or a bathhouse, they could count on us to slink back into our shame-filled closets, where we belonged.

Well, they can't count on that anymore. We lost that shame. It turned out that the shame wasn't ours to begin with, it was THEIR shame which they foisted off on us. We had nothing to be ashamed of. Never did.

And with the shame, went the guilt. And with the guilt went any impetus for us to care what they think. We are now beyond their control.

And they know it. And they are starting to get scared. And they should.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why I Love Jon Stewart

In case you missed Wednesday night's broadcast of "The Daily Show" starring Jon Stewart (the cutest Jewish boy there is).

His guest, Mike Huckabee. And before I go any further, let me tell you right now that I have been told, point blank, by somebody from Arkansas who knows him well, that Mike Huckabee is, quote, "a fraud." Caveat emptor: My source is a rabid Democrat.

Just sayin'.

Here's the clip on gay marriage. Jon is wonderful. Huckabee sticks to the talking points.



Here's the line that bears repeating:

“It’s a travesty that it’s forced … that someone who is gay has to ‘make their case’…”

I have always felt as though I had to defend that which I am. And how ridiculous is that?

And let's not forget:

“Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality..”

to which I always add, "Choice? I had a choice? To what? Admit it?"

Be afraid Huckabee. Be very, very afraid.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like ... Seattle!

For reasons I still don't understand, even 32 years after the fact, there was a time when I thought it would be a swell idea to take two hostages and move to Seattle from Newark, Delaware. It wasn't long after we arrived there that it became clear why that wasn't such a good idea. Such as winter.

No, not just winter. I was used to winters, fairly harsh mid-Atlantic winters, with howling gales and blinding blizzards. But in Seattle, although there was no snow, there was a total dearth of sunshine. And although it wasn't "freezing", it was damned cold. And damned damp. The sheets were always cold and damp. So were the bath towels. From late September of 1976 until, so it seemed, the following May, I swear we had a total of about 20 minutes of sunshine and I started to mildew.

From May to September, of course, the sun never bothered to set. It turns out that if Seattle were on the east coast it would be somewhere along the same latitude as, oh, say, Newfoundland, or St. Petersburg or someplace like that.

After two winters out there I ran, screaming, back into the warm, heaving bosom of the east coast, New York City in particular, where I lived, miserably, for the next 20 years. But that had nothing to do with the weather. Before the emails start, I have been back to Seattle numerous times over the years, and it was never as awful as I remember those two winters being. In fact, it's been downright gorgeous, even in the dead of winter. Go figure. Probably due to Global Warming or something.

I bring this up because today's weather in New York is eerily reminiscent of the weather during my two winters in Seattle, i.e., dark, cold, damp and just plain shitty.

But at least it ain't snowing.

For that you'll have to visit New Orleans.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Heartbreak of Butt Itch

There's no polite way to put this but ever since my surgery in August (70 pounds and 3 waist sizes lost so far), I've been having a slight problem with sore butt.

The weight started falling off my face and back first. The gut was the last to go. It happened so quickly that my center of sitting gravity shifted and what had been a nicely padded portion of my nether regions was suddenly being rubbed raw by my skivvies as I sat, day after day, once I'd returned to work.

I tried creams.

I tried salves.

I tried Gold Bond powders of various compositions.

Nothing worked. And it hurt like hell to commute for an hour each way every day on seats covered in ancient upholstery most likely made from horse hair. It hurt to sit for any period of time.

Finally, I saw a dermotologist. He instantly knew what the problem was, prescribed some steroidal crap for it and told me to only use it for 2 weeks and, after that, the coup de grace,

to slather on a healthy serving of plain, unadulterated, unfumed, petrolatum every morning after I bathed.

And so I did.

Ahhhhh. What a relief.

I've oft heard it said, from childhood on, that as the years pass we become more and more childlike until, at the end, we're as helpless as newborns.

And now I know why. Now if someone would only come and change my diddie.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Disingenuous Hypocrisy

We live in an age of disingenuous hypocrisy. One example of which is, I can bash the bejeezus out of you and your kind for centuries but the minute you bash back I get all outraged and indignant that you would have the temerity to disagree with me and, worse, to hit back.

I think we all know who I'm talking about here.

There's a full page ad in today's NYTimes (click on image to embiggen it):




This ad does just that. You see, for over a 1,000 years certain groups of religious believers have bashed queers, burnt us at the stake, slammed us into prisons and iron maidens, tortured us on the rack, ran us out of town, shoved red-hot pokers up our asses and, when no one was looking, kidnapped young boys into indentured servitude, cut their balls off so they wouldn't lose their lovely soprano voices and, when no one was looking (i.e. most of the time) buggered the crap out of the adorable little cherubs until they were finally ready for the priesthood.

And nobody said a thing about it until this past century. Really, not until the last 50 years or so.

Now, the tables are turning and all of a sudden the bashers are fearful of being bashed. The bashers are typical schoolyard bullies, terrorizing anyone who doesn't stand up to them, running away in fear the minute somebody socks them in the nose and screaming bloody murder to the powers that be for protection from the victim.

It's always about blaming the victim. Hitler blamed the victims. Kristianity has always blamed it's victims ("If only Galileo would swallow his pride and deny the scientific evidence...").

And victims co-dependently go along with it by doing nothing. More people should turn around and sock the bullies in the noses. Literally. Figuratively. Immediately. Put up with no shit from anybody. Gay people are just as entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of the American Dream, in full equality, as anyone else is.

And as MY God is MY witness, I will never again play dead for the heterosexist patriarchy which is about to find it's world turned upside down and it's worst nightmares coming true.

Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day

Bloggers Unite

I have a sneaking suspicion that if Harvey Milk were still alive, he'd be at the forefront of the war against AIDS.

The first person I knew who died of this disease was an architect friend of mine named John. John was a quiet, tall redhead. Sweet as they come. And then, one day, he was gone. It all seemed to happen so quickly.

He was the tip of the iceberg. In quick succession a number of friends started becoming ill with exotic illnesses, some of which we'd never even heard of. Thrush. Kaposi's Sarcoma. And the ever present (and always fatal), pneumonia.

When our next door neighbor, Lee, passed away my ex and I both started getting nervous. My ex had had a brief flingette with Lee just before we met. And in those days, nobody knew anything about the incubation period for the "gay disease."

But the wolf stayed away from our door. In time the medicines got better. "Cocktails" started coming along and people who, only a decade before, would've surely died, started living longer and longer.

Today I know some people who've been living with HIV for over two decades. But there is still no cure. Maybe there'll never be a cure. But more needs to be done.

I hope everyone out there will, at the very least, stop today at some point and maybe think about someone they knew who died from AIDS, or maybe someone they know who is living with HIV. Or, of the millions and millions of people in other parts of the world who aren't nearly rich enough to afford the treatments currently available, or whose national governments think that they are merely getting what they deserved.

There is no more imperious urge in human beings, after the need for food and shelter, than for sexual companionship. Not one single human being who died of AIDS "deserved" to die from it. That's just plain bullshit to think that they did. People cannot be categorized as "innocent victims" or "deserving victims." Nobody deserved this. Nobody did anything to deserve this.

And it is not some sort of divine retribution any more than the bubonic plague was divine retribution on Europe for it's medieval sinfulness.

Stop. Think. Act.

Lives depend on it.

Here are some scheduled events for New York City today:

CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL begins at 6PM
Gay Men's Health Crisis - Tisch Building Lobby
119 West 24th St. (btwn 6th/7th Ave.)

CANDLE LIGHT PROCESSION to Judson Memorial Church:
55 Washington Square South (at Thompson St.)
Time of Reflection to those we have lost to AIDS:
Begins at 6:30PM (for those not at Candlelight Vigil)
World AIDS Day Program:
Begins at 7PM

And here's the official FaceBook page.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Harvey Who?


I'm coming into Manhattan this Friday to see "Gypsy" with Patti Lupone at a special holiday matinee. It's required in order to keep up my standing in the gay union (One Jules Styne musical PLUS a Gay Diva = 1,000 BONUS QUEER POINTS).

After copping my ticket (great seat, too. Aisle seat, 5th row Mezz -- the ideal seat for any musical, especially at the St. James Theater) I realized that I was going to be in town "for the evening" and that I could either a) see another show (big $) OR b) see the movie "Milk" which opens tomorrow in "selected cities" (translation = "cities with humongous gay and/or ultra-liberal populations, many of whom are either in show biz or they know people who are), namely Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.



Being the sort of guy I am (on a budget), I decided to see "Milk." Then I decided to invite some other gay people I know who are also in recovery. I called my friend "M" first and blurted out my plan. "Oh", he said, "I'd LOVE to go." Well, that was easy. Then he added, "Who was Milk?"

WHO WAS MILK???!!!! I was horrified. Appalled. Scandalized. Don't they teach these kids ANYTHING these days? They don't know where Zimbabwe is and they never heard of Harvey Milk. Tsk. Tsk.

Granted, "M" was exactly 1 year old when Harvey and George Moscone were assassinated, thus, sadly, launching Dianne Feinstein's political career on the national stage with her tearful announcement on nationwide TV of the deaths of the Mayor and city Supervisor. He was unaware, too, of Dan White and the ridiculous "Twinkie Defense." Or the fact that White, after a few years in prison, was set free, only to off himself a short time later.

I jettisoned plans to invite anyone else and determined that "M" was going to be my gay good deed of the month. I was going to educate this lad, whether he wanted it or not.

Seriously, though, we shouldn't be too surprised that Prop 8 passed in California, given the lousy job my generation has done of keeping the gay lib flame alive AND of passing along gay history to the next generation of gay, lesbian and transgendered youth.

But it was so easy to give up. The "Uncle Moms" among us made it easy to surrender, with their soothing talk of "making nice with the straights" and "it'll come... in time.... just give it time." It was about assuaging the feelings of straight people ... and denying and subjugating our own. It was about making straight people "comfortable" with having us around.

BULLFRIGGINSHIT. We should've been out there marching and demonstrating and making straight people VERY uncomfortable all along. But then AIDS came along and some of us actually bought into the RRR (radical religulous right - or Rockin' Ronnie Reagan)'s assertions that we were being "punished" for our previously hedonistic lifestyle, when, in fact, AIDS had been around for a hundred years, was primarily transmitted via heterosexual intercourse in Africa and was no more "our fault" than the sun, the moon or the stars. That, coupled with the Uncle Mom's pleadings to "play nice" proved to be too much for the handful of radicals who remained.

By the time the 80's were over, the few radical faeries left got involved in either ACT-UP or Queer Nation, both of which groups eventually succumbed to political infighting and subsequent fracturing.

Maybe it's radical time again. I feel emboldened, even at the ripe old age of 60, to once again take to the streets (this time without the aid of "marshals" and "permits" and "police escorts") to make the point that:

I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!

Screw the establishment.

Oh, and marriage is just the tip of my iceberg. Full, unfettered, equal protection and rights under the law, is what I want. And when do I want it? 1972.

I think Harvey would've approved.


p.s. I got tickets to see the revival of "West Side Story" this coming March, too. I'm in Show-Queen Heaven right now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Knew There'd Be Trouble...

... the first time I addressed a community college law enforcement psych class in Delaware, sometime in 1973. The question was asked of me:

"WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BE GAY?"

Excuse me? "Decide?" Decide what? To admit it? Recently. Decide that I knew? Oh, it was the First Grade (when I knew I wanted to be naked and alone with our school bus driver ... I just didn't know why I wanted that. At least, not yet.)

Decide? What a ridiculous question. As though anyone in their right mind, circa 1972, would suddenly and magically "decide" to be gay. I might as well decide to have tuberculosis or leprosy, or "decide" to piss off most people by being something they were afraid of ... or, more to the point, were afraid that they might catch it... or even worse, afraid that they already "had it."

But over the years, as I've mentioned here before, I came to realize, painfully slowly, that the reason most people conclude that there was a decision to be made was, because, well... ahem, how do I put this delicately? Oh, right, I can't. They conclude that I decided BECAUSE THEY HAD DECIDED TO NOT BE GAY, that's why.

Look. You can argue Kinsey's statistics forever. Shave a percentage point here, pad another one there. But the inescapable, fundamental reality he discovered is this:

Human sexuality is, for over 90% of the population, fluid. In other words, the vast majority of people either swing, or they're easily capable of it.

Only a teensy percentage of the human race has their sexuality written in stone. Oh, lucky me. Oh, lucky them.

I can't even think straight (and never have.) There are some who can't even think gay.

But lots and lots of people can think gay, but choose not to. And lots and lots of other people can think straight, but choose not to. Then there are schmucks like me, in the remaining 4% or so on the gay side, who've never been fascinated by breasts, have never wondered what a woman's sexual package looks like, have never imagined being alone and naked with one of them.

And there's another 4% or so, all the way over there somewhere, who are my mirror image, and have never given a moments thought to the joys of same-sex attraction.

That just leaves 92% of the human race, perverts all, who have no standards whatsoever and who would sleep with just about anything that walked in the door. You know who I'm talking about. YOU, you freak!

====================================================
p.s. visit this website to determine which kind of Blogger YOU are!

http://www.typealyzer.com

Here's mine:

The analysis indicates that the author of http://joyzeeboy.blogspot.com is of the type:
I. ESTJ - The Guardians

The organizing and efficient type. They are especially attuned to setting goals and managing available resources to get the job done. Once they've made up their mind on something, it can be quite difficult to convince otherwise. They listen to hard facts and can have a hard time accepting new or innovative ways of doing things.

The Guardians are often happy working in highly structured work environments where everyone knows the rules of the job. They respect authority and are loyal team players.

===================================
Yeah, that's me. Pig-headed and loyal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Addiction

The Big Three automakers are begging Congress for $25b to "help them out" of the current crisis.

That's junkie talk for "we're gonna keep on doing what we did and you'll keep on getting what you got" in return for it.

In short, there's no impetus in the handout for them to actually change anything about the way they act, react, think or do business.

The junkie analogy is apt. I know a thing or three about addiction, being a recovering drunk myself. I certainly know enough to not give cash to people or institutions like me. The minute your back is turned, they or I will be right up to our old tricks again. That is absolutely true of the auto makers.

They have not learned much since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. How do I know that? Easy. SUVs. Period. But the Japanese learned plenty. And that's when the Japs started selling lots of cars here. Oh, Detroit paid some modest lip service to it -- by modestly improving mileage and lowering emissions year after year -- but not without a lot of whining and foot-dragging in the process.

And now the junkies from Motown are standing there, arms outstretched, pleading national security and love of the Fatherland and bullshit like that.

And you know what I say? Go ahead. Give 'em the money. And then nationalize their asses "in the name of national security and love of the Fatherland."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gay Lib - 4.0





[Both posters copyright Austin Cline]

The internets is atwitter with news that Gay Lib has been re-born, re-furbished, re-packaged and is hot-to-trot. It turns out that a whole generation (which one is it, Gen AA? Gen BBB?) has just "discovered" that you can take to the streets to register your dissatisfaction with things in general, including the status quo.

Well, whoop-di-friggin-do.

We boomers managed to organize anti-war demonstrations with 500,000 people using little more than telephones (anybody remember them?) and things called "Underground Newspapers" such as The Village Voice, The Great Speckled Bird and my favorite in Washington, DC, The Quicksilver Times. Granted, it took somewhat longer than 72 hours to throw these things together, given the lack of the internet, PDA's, iPhones, Crackberries and the other assorted electronic effluvia of modern life.

By my real point today is that everyone's ire seems to be pointed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Said organization apparently ordered it's members to cough up tons of money they didn't have in order to BACK passage of Preparation H8 in California.

So, many of my young compatriots have focused all of their anger, bile and ire on... LDS.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no fan of organized religions which I personally think are just money making machines for the folks who run 'em. And they use the concept of "sin" to keep their membership in line ... and to try to keep the rest of us in line, too.

But, as my friend Jake on his blog, Nofo, says (and I'm totally paraphrasing him here), their "mythology doesn't trump my reality" or words to that effect. I couldn't agree more. This country has, for too long and way too often, allowed people's fervent beliefs in fables and fantasies to dictate public policy.

We have, over the centuries, used such fervently held beliefs to rationalize the heinous institution of slavery. We used such beliefs to try, time and time again to "regulate" sin, such as we did with Prohibition. But the truth is that we are a nation of adulterous, drunken, philandering, lying, cheating, backstabbing Puritans. We sin without remorse except for the remorse of being caught at it. And then we cry and wail and blame it on the fact that we were molested as youngsters or we blame it on the booze, or the pharmaceuticals we've been taking.

And now, I'm ashamed to say, my fellow gays blame OUR failure to bash down Prep H8 on a church whose major sin seems to have been that they were better organized than we were. God love the folks at HRC, GLAAD and a handful of other groups. They tried.

However....

someone in the late 70's said that the Gay Rights Movement was doomed to failure because we were such a disparate group, lacking a single, unique and public "marker" indicating who and what we are. It's too easy for many of us to "pass". And many of us opt for "passing" rather than electing to do the really heavy lifting involved in being professionaly queer.

I'm sincerely glad to see the youngsters starting to exercise some political muscle. I hope they don't give up the way a lot of us did way back when. I also hope they'll remember this:

The Fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars.... but in ourselves.

Oh, and some advice for the Professional Kristians out there, too. There is nothing fragile about you. You hold all the cards and you know it. So quit playing the f*cking victim here.

Gay people ARE the victims and you ARE the bashers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And, on a lighter note....

Blechh. I'm fed up with the elections, PropH8 and who accidentally voted for what because they never thought that it would actually "affect" anybody.... It's time to move forward into the holidays!

And since it promises to be a Pretty Crappy Christmas, economy-wise (thereby forcing everyone to actually look for reasons to be grateful to spend time with their families) I decided to go in search of my absolutely favoritest holiday treat, the Drifters singing their Doo-Wop version of "White Christmas" with Santa and the animated reindeer.

Only I found this instead. I don't know who actually had the lamps made and then took the time to program and sync the lights to the music and then to drag out the videocam to capture the whole thing on video tape... but whoever they are, they are either from a) Queens or b) New Jersey and in either case, they have entirely too much time on their hands, so I instantly fell in love with it.

Do hang on until Rudolph finally chimes in... it's absolutely worth it. Enjoy.


Monday, November 10, 2008

More Weird Bigots

Betcha never thought a show queen would be against gay rights, didja? Well, check out these two stories regarding one Scott Eckern, artistic director of the California Musical Theater in Sacramento, CA.

It turns out that Scotty-kins gave $1,000 to the PRO H8 side in the recent election. I guess he's a nice Mormon boy or something -- although that does beg the question, what the f*ck is he doing in show biz if he's not one of the Osmonds?

It reminds me of a story that circulated around the time when Bill Clinton was floating the idea of repealing the ban on gays in the military and lots of folks, in and out of uniform, got their knickers in a twist over it. One interviewer asked an Air Force colonel about it and the response was, (seriously), "if he does that I'll resign my commission and go to work for a civilian airline."

Clearly this colonel hadn't done much civilian flying if he thought he was going to avoid GAY people by working for United because recreational travel is a great way to avoid that nasty queer element. And so is Musical Theater!!!!!

Anyway, check out these two stories regarding Mr. Show Biz. And be sure to check out the embedded "tool" in the 1st article which you can use to look up which of your neighbors gave money to the cause.... either ours ... or theirs.

Start here:

http://www.americablog.com/2008/11/never-ever-cross-show-queen.html

then go here:

http://guydads.blogspot.com/2008/11/california-musical-theatre-artistic.html

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nothing to see here...

Rather than reading my usual blather today, go read this instead.

Jake and his DP (domestic partner) are awesome.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Gay is the New Black!




It's official. After losing Proposition after Proposition regarding marriage, civil unions and rights in general to a populace which clearly likes it's hot, steamy, same-sex on same-sex sex strictly on the DL .... and wants it kept that way, I can confidently state that Gay is the New Black.

Why?

Because it's no longer cool to hate Black. And why is that important?

Because we are a nation that always champions underdogs. Particularly those who have to suffer and claw and bite and crawl their way out from underneath to achieve full equality with the blow-hard asshole rich Plutocrats who think they own this Country.

And now that African-Americans have (finally) captured the White House (which I wholeheartedly support, believe me), it's time for America to find a new group which is personally responsible for all the misery in the nation. In short, it's time to create a new class of underdogs we can all be fearful of, and fret about, and hope and pray to God they never come to power and who need to be kept in their place, at the back of the bus and at the end of the line, at the business-end of a firehose or at the muzzle of a Police dog.

And that would be us fags.

Hooray. Our time has finally come.

Thanks a bunch California, Florida and Arizona for every little crumb you throw us.

Assholes.

[On the other hand, today's NYTimes has a soothing editorial for jangled LGBT nerves. You can read it here.]

===========================================
More stuff

I read over at Joe.My.God that some hard-core Christianist Groups are trolling the internets today, looking for "evidence" that some gay bloggers (such as Joe) are "inciting" their LGBT readers to violence against peace (and queer) loving pro Prop 8 types .... in order to sic the cops on us.

So forget what I said about getting together and roving the streets late at night and beating up lone, innocent, heterosexual boys.

Offer 'em blowjobs, instead! That'll REALLY piss off the Fundies!!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Beginning

We may have lost on Prop. 8 in California (although Gloria Allred is already stirring up lawsuits on the matter), but we captured the Federal Government.

Today's front page of the New York Times about sums it up:



[Click on Front Page to Embiggen]

Thank God.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Goodbye, George. Don't let the door hit you in the ass...

on your way out.



Tomorrow America goes to the polls and, no matter what happens, by the end of the day, or days, or the week, we will in all likelihood have a brand-spanking-new President elect.

And that lame assed douchebag who has lurked in the White House for nearly 8 years while his cronies ravaged the Constitution, New Orleans and the Economy, will finally have to face the fact that the party is OVER and in just a few weeks he'll be leaving town... for good.

This was the national debt on the day he took office:

$5.7 T (that's "T" as in "Trillion")

today its:

$10.5 T (yes, "T" as in "Trillion." Are you learning-impaired or something?)

(here's the fun website the Treasury runs where you can check this out for yourselves: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np


One man. 8 Years. Nearly 5 Trillion Smackeroos. Wouldn't you like to know where it went? I would. War, mostly. War in Afghanistan. War in Iraq. War in general. "Look, Daddy, I can WIN the war you lost!!!" "Look, Daddy, I'm as good as Jeb!!!" "Please love me, daddy."

I know I'll find myself on Wednesday morning thinking, "Oh, Jeebus, are you STILL in the White House? When the hell are you moving out?" It's gonna be a long couple of months until late January when Barack Obama is sworn in as our next President, Chief Magistrate and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

An aside to the idiots out there. If you are a civilian the President is NOT "your Commander-in-Chief" or "my Commander-in-Chief." He is merely THE Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. No need to salute him. We do not live in a military dictatorship (yet). And unlike the Queen of England, he does not Troop the Colours in front of his Army every year.

You can almost feel New York on the verge of exhaling a collective sigh of relief now that our long national nightmare is nearly over.

Thank God.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

POPCORN!

I went to the movies yesterday afternoon. Originally I'd intended to see the Angelina Jolie thing, "Changeling" but I wimped out at the last minute because, you see, well... ahem, Kevin Smith has a new movie out.

Kevin Smith is a movie director and local (JoyZee) boy. He lives over in Red Bank, near the shore, and has a video store there. He shot his breakthrough indie, "Clerks" over there. And "Clerks II" and (my personal favorite) "Dogma." And others. I feel that it's important to support your local artist(s), so I plunked my money down at the AMC Googoolplex in Hamilton yesterday afternoon and bought a ticket to see "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." It stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. The supporting cast consists mostly of the usual characters from Smith's rep company. Even Jason Mewes, who usually plays the foulmouthed horndog "Jay" of Jay and Silent Bob (Smith) plays a totally different type of character in this one (except he's still horny) ... and does a "full-monty" near the end that's well worth the price of admission.

I recommend it IF you're a die-hard Smith fan. Otherwise you'll be put off by the never-ceasing stream of obscenities and boob-shots.

Maybe I'll see Angelina today.

But here's the real news. I stopped by the concession stand (which I've avoided since my surgery in August) and, gasp, bought:



I didn't go ape-shit. I bought a small bag. And no sodas (carbonation is forbidden for now and all eternity) -- I got a bottled water instead.

I enjoyed that small bag of popcorn more than I've enjoyed anything else since my dietary habits were forced to change. Popcorn was the one thing I've been craving the most. There is nothing more satisfying to me than scrunching down in a theater seat and enjoying a movie with a nice bag of popcorn.

Life (and movies) is good. Are good? Oh, screw it. I'm a happy puppy today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Donations



Last Saturday, a miserably dreary wet cold morning here in the east, I drove my Element down to the Salvation Army Thrift Store in beautiful downtown Trenton, NJ. In the back, from the floor up to halfway from the roof, were stacked 39 pairs of dress trousers, blue jeans and shorts -- every pair of them sized 44 in the waist.

They represented the size I was before I had my gastric bypass surgery on August 11th. I had lost 60 pounds in the interim. My internist, at my annual physical in late August, had advised me, "Get rid of your fat clothes to avoid the temptation of wearing them again."

The gang at the thrift store were thrilled. Most of the pants were still in dry cleaning bags from last winter. The Army runs a halfway house in Trenton and sometimes the guys who work in the thrift stores pick through the clothes to find decent "work clothes" for guys who are trying to put their lives back together as they recover from alcoholism and drug abuse. I can't think of a better use for my old clothing than to help another sick and suffering addict. The remainders go on sale in the store, with the proceeds helping to fund the halfway house and other good works.

I don't even want to think about how much $$$$ they originally had cost me. It doesn't matter. Whatever it was, it was a small price to pay for the payoff I'm receiving now. Luckily, I still had a decent wardrobe of size 42" waist pants. Only, not so much. On a whim I'd bought two pairs of pants from Land's End last week, sized 40" in the waist. They arrived yesterday and I tried them on last night. They fit me perfectly. I had no choice but to admit that I have now gone from a nearly 46" waist to a rather loose fitting 40" waist in just over 11 weeks.

Nevertheless, I need pants that fit me now. So I went back online last night and ordered another $400.00 worth of pants, with 40" waists, two pairs of cotton twills, 4 pairs of finewale cords and a pair of jeans. I hope they last until Spring.

p.s. In keeping with the spirit of donating, I gave $$$ to the "No on 8" campaign in California today. I've NEVER donated money to any political thingie in my life until now. But when I found out that the Mormons are in cahoots with the Knights of Columbus on the other side of this (pretending they care about hetero marriage), I went ballistic. They know the general election is lost, especially in California, so they're staking their futures on this, instead.

I'm tired of being fag-bashed by self-loathing closet cases posing as caring Christians. May they all rot in hell.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Shudda Stayed Out of Bed!

My friend Bev created this for me. Go ask her for info on how to do it. Click HERE to visit her website.


I've always secretly known that it was all my fault because IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

We're Everywhere!

Heh.... in anticipation of an Obama win we're dusting off our gay agendas (which specifically state that kindergartners MUST attend gay weddings).

The Agendas also refer to the Sport of Kings:


First Openly Gay Racehorse To Compete Sunday

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Death in the Family



No, not him. This is just a screen cap of him from last night's debate (more like "hissy-fit" than debate, but that's a moot point now).

I'm referring to my aunt who, in her youth, looked like this. She passed away on Monday.



There was a time in my life when I worshipped this woman (no, no Do Day, but my aunt). I thought she was the sanest member of my family of origin. She was the only one of the women whom I lived with while I was raising myself who didn't drink. I loved her for not drinking, and hated my mother and grandmother for getting drunk all the time.

Anyway, as time went by, and I got sober, my aunt and I started drifting apart. She made it clear that she wasn't interested in hearing about my recovery from alcoholism. Her sons, my cousins, also made it clear that they had no intention of getting sober, even though there had been numerous arrests on drunk driving charges and even court-mandated attendance at 12-Step meetings.

Then, about five or six years ago, two things became clear. 1. When I was young there was some disturbance in the family involving some state-sponsored hearing after which my aunt, who had previously been a registered nurse was, suddenly, merely a licensed practical nurse. And 2. When I wanted to talk with her about how her sister and mother's boozing had wrecked my childhood she violently interrupted me with, "the only problem with your childhood was that they loved you TOO MUCH... that was why they drank and fought." In other words, as a child, I was responsible for their drinking and fighting.

It didn't take me long after that call to piece together the whole story. My aunt had become a prescription pill junkie, way back when, had gotten caught stealing drugs, had lost her license over it, and she'd spent the rest of her life numbing the pain with prescription pain killers she'd managed to wheedle out of a succession of doctors whom she bullshitted into dispensing them to her.

And she did NOT want to hear about the "family nature" of addiction (mine) because it would've meant that she would have to look at her own.

And that would not do.

No one in her immediate family called me to tell me the news. True to form for our family I found out about it through a second cousin in Pennsylvania who heard about it from another second cousin in Delaware who thought she read the obituary in the local paper. I confirmed the obit by logging into the paper's site. It said she was survived by a husband and two sons. No mention of any other relatives. It also said that the funeral arrangements were private, with no mention of a service, viewing or burial.

I have chosen to respect their wishes and to stay away. I'm sorry that my family of origin just sort of fell apart like this.

But when push comes to shove, and it comes down to my family or my sobriety,

my sobriety wins.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thinny-Thin

These were taken last Saturday night by a friend of mine.



This is me, fifty-one pounds lighter than I was on August 10th. Notice how light in the loafers I am.



This is me, diabetes free and (mostly) meds free.

This is me, on the verge of living a lot longer than I ever thought I would.

It's been worth it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You can Bank on it!

It's official. I now bank at Wells Fargo.

I didn't set out to bank at Wells Fargo. In fact, for umpteen eons I was a diehard Citibank user, and had been ever since I arrived in New York in 1978. And I stayed loyal to them, through thick and thin, until I finally had to give up when I fled the city in 1998 and landed in central New Jersey. Citibank hadn't arrived there yet. And they probably wouldn't have had me, even if they did. We didn't part under the best of terms when I left New York. I still owed them a chunk of change (which has been paid off, thankyewverymuch).

As I slowly recovered from alcoholism, and I got a crappy temp job which at least gave me a weekly paycheck, I opened up a pathetic little account at First Union Bank -- which had one of those 1920's type buildings right on Main Street in the sleepy little burg of Hightstown, NJ.

I loved that bank. Everybody knew me when I walked in to deposit my check on Saturday morning. They knew I didn't have much but, like small town banks used to do, they were friendly not because I was already rich but rather because there might be an outside chance that someday I would be.

Then, one day the unthinkable happened. Suddenly, First Union was no longer First Union. They'd been bought by a bank from North Carolina called Wachovia. I was leery at first, but they seemed nice enough and, in time, I was happy banking with them, too.

Now comes the stock market collapse, the demise of institutions I was sure could never fail and, amazingly, I am no longer a customer of First Union or Wachovia.

Now I bank at one of the finest and oldest of California's founding banks, Wells Fargo.

I feel like the Polish peasant who, upon hearing of his country's liberation from the tyranny of the Czar exclaimed, "WELL, THANK GOD! NO MORE RUSSIAN WINTERS!!"

Oh-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-coming now, oh please let it be for me.....

Friday, October 03, 2008

We Didn't, Like, Totally Suck!!!!



Okay, no major campaign-busting gaffes. Just dead-on seriousness from Mr. Biden and plain old folksie (pass the basket of hot-out-of-the-oven brownies, please) from Governor Palin.

No matter what you thought of the debate, I can help you clarify your thinking with this. I call it the "drop-dead test." If both presidential candidates were to drop dead tomorrow, which of the remaining vice-presidential candidates would you HONESTLY wish to see sitting down across the table from Putin next year? Or Ahmadinejad? Or even the French, fer chrissakes?

Lipsticky Hockey Mom or Joe Six-Mouth?

Personally, I'd take the guy with 300 years of Senate experience, please.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Modest Proposal

Tomorrow night, when Sarah Palin finally bursts into tears and flees the auditorium, I would like to suggest to the McCain campaign managers that they have a "Plan B" in place -- a Plan B that can be summed up in two words.... Tina Fey.

Well, she does LOOK like Palin. That's (apparently) a giant plus. And she's clearly lots smarter (hey, you don't get your own hit show on NBC and before that becoming head writer on SNL for years without having SOMETHING on the ball).

Okay, so she doesn't know squat about foreign policy. Does Palin? At least Fey admits it. And let's face it, she's a helluva lot funnier than Palin.

And she's snarky in that East Coast Liberal Gen-Y sort of way that I know and love.

Palin wouldn't know snarky if it came up and bit her on the ass. She would, however, know a moose if it did the same. I doubt if Tina knows how to kill, skin and gut a moose.

Which, according to Republican theology, is all the talent you need to be the Vice President of the United States of America.

It takes somewhat more talent in order to get a show on NBC.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yes, Virginia, the Dow CAN Hit Zero

Rule Number One. The Dow can hit zero (and, if you haven't written any naked calls, it'll definitely stop there).

The Dow didn't actually hit zero today. But it sure looked like it was trying.

The bailout failed. Even my dingbat Republican Representative voted against it.

But here's whats important.

This is Reaganomics, in it's most grotesque form, coming home to roost. Reaganomics, aka "Voodoo Economics", turned the financing of our nation on it's head. Reagan railed against taxes, and especially railed against the Democrats who raised them.

What he proposed (and got) instead, was debt. Rather than taxing us to finance the government and to buy swell stuff from foreigners (like oil) he, instead, foisted off the bill to future generations.

Rather than being a Tax and Spend Democrat, he became a Borrow and Spend Republican. His cavalier disregard for future generations was sloughed off as "don't worry -- we'll be wealthy" and by freakishly Pollyanaish thinking on his part.

After him, rather than raise taxes, the Republicans kept cutting them -- and raising the debt ceiling to pay for all the shit we actually needed -- like an Army and a Navy and an Air Force and oil. Not to mention some piddling-assed social welfare programs which they blamed for everything and then slashed the f*ck out of.

Nobody has envisioned and carried out Ronnie Raygun's dream of a debt-ridden tomorrow (and tax-free today!) better than our current president, George W. SilverSpoonissoontobesentpackingbacktoTexas-ThankYewJeebus.

I think that Ronnie was kind of hoping that we'd all be dead by the time the bills came due.

Which just goes to show you -- never trust an out of work actor (or writer, or a faux Good 'Ol Boy who never worked a day in his life) -- especially when it comes time to pay the bills.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Big Five-Oh

As I tiptoed onto the scales, stark naked, at 4:55 a.m. this morning I wasn't looking for anything spectacular. But then I looked down.

229 pounds, it read in it's ominous red lcd display.

My God. I've lost 51 pounds since August 11th.

Then I had a glass of orange juice (pulpless, no sugar added) and checked my weight again. 230. Crap. Only 50 pounds.

I'm amazed.

I ordered new belts and a new Meltonian jacket from Orvis yesterday. While I was there I ordered up some brass luggage tags, engraved with my name and address, on the outside chance that I might want to travel again -- now that I'm trim and svelte and lovely to look at once again.

Listen, all joking aside, if there is anyone out there who drops in here now and then (we used to call those folks "lurkers" back on Compuserve in the middle ages of the 90's) who suffers from even mild obesity and also has Type II Diabetes and Sleep Apnea, don't even think twice about this -- find a bariatric surgeon in your health plan and schedule a consultation regarding Roux en Y gastric bypass with her/him NOW. Yes, your insurance company will make you jump through endless hoops to have it done, but just do it.

It will transform your life as much as it's transformed mine.

Babies, I've gone from being a sick old man to being a hot middle-aged guy (again). And it was worth every single thing I went through to get here.

On to politics and the election.

Apparently Sarah Palin is as stupid as she sounds. I've been watching interviews with her on YouTube and if the question is too uncomfortable she falls right back onto her talking points. And she manages to mangle those, too.

Do YOU really want this woman to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? I don't.

Meanwhile, I see that Senator McCain, at the White House shouting match yesterday, singlehandedly caused the financial sector bailout to fall apart, which is totally okay by me. Nobody except God came and bailed me out when I got into trouble starting 14 years ago. And with God's help, I dug my own way out. As far as I'm concerned, all those big institutions can do exactly the same thing. So they'd better hit their knees and start asking heaven for some heavy duty assistance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Check-In

I saw the Internist last Wednesday for my first post-operative physical. He clocked a 43 pound weight loss so far. The following were flags for concern on my blood work: Calcium maxed out -- quit taking calcium citrate supplement and get another blood test this week. PSA double what it should be, call urologist and do a go-see ASAP. Other than that, A-OK.

The next day, last Thursday, I saw the surgeon. He clocked a 45 pound loss. Pronounced that "another 20 pounds and you will be a success." Hell, I'm a success now! Gave me permission to leave the liquid diet and embark on solids again. Got the necessary cheat-sheets for what to eat and what to avoid... at least in the early stages.

Monday morning the long-missing cardiologist called ME at the office. Net-net, quit taking cholesterol reducing drugs and come and see him in December (which seems to be a very popular month for follow-up visits to doctors these days).

I am now officially cured of everything (well, Type II Diabetes and my cholesterol problem) and am completely off all meds except for a vitamin supplement and 2 Lyrica caps every evening (for the neuropathic pains in my feet.)

Left the office early in order to see Doctor Pee-Pee. He said (after I told him everything I'd been through in the last six weeks) "HELL, you may have picked up a mild urinary tract infection from the Foley catheter in the hospital, which would send your PSA through the roof. Here's scrip for another test. Get it done in late October and then we'll take another look at it."

Okay by me.

Got home early after seeing him. Weighed in. Lost another 2 pounds (47 total now). Closing in on 50.

Pulled over 20 pairs of too-large summer and winter pants out of the closet and began looking for consignment stores in the area where I can at least attempt to recoup some of my investment in them. If none of them pan out, off the pants go to the Salvation Army.

My Internist advised me, as he was looming over my nearly naked body last week, "Take it from somebody who's been there. GET RID OF YOUR FAT CLOTHES. It'll help you to avoid the temptation to 'just slip into a next larger size this week'." I took his advice to heart. BTW, my Internist is a hunk without an ounce of discernible fat on him. Too bad he's married.

Here's a snap I took of myself a week ago (at 5 weeks post surgery) ... when I'd only lost about 40 pounds.

The target remains elusive. I'd like to lose 2 more sizes, which would put me at about 190 pounds. But that was my college weight, when I had a metabolism. Realistically, I'm with the surgeon. 20 more pounds and I'll be a very happy camper.

More will be revealed. I'll try to get another picture of me this coming weekend, if the weather cooperates (4 days of rain are predicted starting Thursday... the remnants of something or other).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All Is Forgiven

I worked up the nerve to call Lehman Brothers today and actually got through to a human being. A human being who put me through to another human being in the Human Resources Department (or what's left of it).

That nice lady looked me up in the system and, indeed, there I was, in all of my

FULLY VESTED
FULLY FUNDED
FULLY PROTECTED

glory. She then gave me a magical 800 number (well, an 866 number) at Fidelity devoted solely to people like me who had worked at Lehman. I called the number and got a bright, young, lad.

He reiterated what the lady in HR had told me. But he added some stuff. First he fixed me up with on-line access to my retirement information. But then he told me that when I retire (assuming it's age 65) I'll collect:

$849.95 per month

for the rest of my life.

On top of my social security.

And 401-ks.

I'M RICH!! RICH, I TELL YOU!!!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! (Hey, it's about $600 more per month than I thought I was gonna get.)

So even though Lehman is in the crapper, and even though the unhappiest years of my life were spent on Wall Street, it wasn't a total loss.

That $850 a month will be some blood money I'll be happy to take.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall of the House of Lehman

Disclosure: I worked at Lehman (variously named during my tenure: Shearson-American Express, Shearson-Lehman Brothers, Shearson-Lehman-Hutton and, just before I left, plain old Lehman Brothers) from December 1983 (just prior to Lehman being acquired by Shearson in the Spring of 1984) until January or February of 1992.

I was "supposed" to have been fully vested in their in-house pension fund after five years of continuous service. It remains to be seen if there's any pension fund left now that the house has collapsed.

We (by which I mean Shearson American Express) acquired Lehman in a fire sale brought about by internal fighting at the old firm. The place was not on the verge of collapse financially, but it was on the verge of collapse politically. Finally, they sold themselves to us. It was an uncomfortable marriage from the outset. It had actually been pushed on us by our corporate parent, the American Express Company, who wanted to RAPIDLY pump up piddling little Shearson into a world-class brokerage powerhouse. However, there was baggage.

One suitcase of which was and is Richard J. Fuld. He was the head of trading at Lehman at the time of the acquisition. Lehman was a fixed-income behemoth when we bought them.

As the years went by the Lehmanites exercised their power and eventually forced out all of the top equity people and replaced them with their own, hand-picked, asskissers. My department was eventually handed over to two people wholly incompetent to head Equity Trading. Eventually Mr. Fuld became co-chief executive and, finally, the sole chief executive of the firm.

One of the reasons I left the firm was because of the wholescale movement of funds (there's no other way to describe it) which occured every New Year's Day when the Lehman Brothers "secret partnerships" would, without notice, dip into the profits of each department of the firm and skim untold millions of dollars off the departmental P&L statements and onto the books of the SPs. These partnerships had, I guess, been "grandfathered" in as part of the deal during the acquistion in '84.

When I found out what was happening I asked one of the vice-treasurers what was going on with my departments (suddenly missing) $600,000. This was her response.

"Oh... that's Mr. Fuld's."

"Kiss my fucking ass" I thought. "Oh." I said.

I made up my mind, on the spot, to seek employment elsewhere. I did NOT want to have to sit in a witness box in a Chancery Courtroom in Delaware someday and answer questions posed by the shareholders of American Express as to where their profits were going.

Maybe the whole thing was legal. Maybe not. I don't know. I got out.

That was 16 years ago.

Do I blame Dick Fuld for the collapse of Lehman (again)? Nah. I remember something that Peter Cohen once said to me. "You don't run big corporations... they run you."

I'm sure nobody is more shell-shocked today at Lehman Brothers than Dick Fuld.

But I still want my piddling-assed pension.

Friday, September 12, 2008

40 - Finally

It's official. I've now lost 40 pounds since my surgery on August 11th.

Here's the skinny on all that. My nutritionist (perky Stacy) wants me to get back to my college weight, which was about 4 pounds. I was 24 when I went to college (Viet Nam, the Navy and several other hiccups occurred along the way) and I had a metabolism in those days. Hence, no matter what I poured down my throat (Burger King, Booze, Boy Butter) it didn't stick around. In fact, it didn't stick to anything, not even my ribs. Those were the good old days.

Nowdays, of course, I can LOOK at a piece of pecan pie and gain 5 pounds.

But those days are over. No more "pieces" of anything. From now on, it'll be "bites", if even that.

Still, I think that trying to get back to my college weight (okay, it was 190 pounds) might be a little unreasonable. I was kind of hoping to get back to my weight around age 30... ish. Say, 210 or 220. In which case I only have to lose another 20 or 30 pounds and I'll be done. But to get to 190 I'll have to drop another 50 pounds and that sounds way too much like a year-long project to me.

People ask me if I crave anything. No, I answer, because no matter what I ingest (and it's still mostly liquids) I fill up after two swallows. My new tummy only holds about 4 ounces of anything.

Well, that's not completely true. There is one thing I crave above all else. It's not prime rib or pork chops or baked potatoes or asparagus with hollandaise sauce.

It's popcorn.

Not microwave popcorn, either, but corn popped in a big pot on the stove and then smothered in melted "I Can't Believe JoyZeeBoy Thinks This Crap is Butter."

It's worse when I think about going to the movies and not being able to have a 10 pound bag of popcorn cooked in God-Only-Knows-What, dripping with crankcase leavings and washed down by a Bladder-Buster of my favorite beverage, 64 ounces of Diet Coke which is higher in caffeine to offset the loss of sugar -- wasn't that thoughtful of the Coca-Cola people?

So, you see, I don't really have any cravings.

At least not until I lose another 20 pounds. Or 50, if that Nazi Nutritionist of mine, Stacy, gets her way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So, what's new?

I'm back. Yeah, I know, whoop-di-goddamned-do.

I forgot to send my gut pix to the office, where I'm currently goofing off instead of working. So you'll have to wait for those.

The surgery didn't go horribly awry, although there were "complications." Enough complications for them to have shot me up with 4 units of blood, kept me in the hospital for two additional days, and to have filled me with bag after bag of saline solution.

When I was discharged on Friday August 15th I spent the first week at home just trying to void myself through whatever outlet was handy of the gallons of salt water they'd inflated me with.

I remember watching Michael Phelps (endlessly) while I was in the hospital. Every time I came out of yet another coma there he was, slithering through the water like a water snake. Swimmers have the oddest bodies.

Then, after I'd had a week to adjust to reality, the conventions started. Initially I was kind of surprised by Barack's choice of Joe Biden (from my home state of Delaware). But upon reflection he seemed the best choice if Senator Obama hoped to deflect Republican criticism of his LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS, which seemed likely given the fact that the GOP had been doing just that for months.

Then, of course, the Gay Old Party turned right around and picked the most unqualified person, male or female, to have run for the vice presidency since Spiro Agnew (another state governor who eventually wound up in prison -- which, with any luck, started a trend.)

And that brings us up to date on external affairs.

Now, as to the surgery.

I have lost nearly 40 pounds in 4 weeks. I've had to have additional holes punched in some belts, and to have some inches of webbing removed from others. I'm not quite down to the next size in pants (although all my workmakes insist that I am). I can eat (if you call "drinking" "eating") about 4 ounces at a clip. For a real treat I've started having 2.5 ounces of tuna at lunch (1 6 oz. can of tuna packed in water mixed with 2 heaping tablespoons of low-fat mayo) this week.

I can button the collar buttons on my shirts again. The weight loss began, as it always does, with the face and the ass. While not exactly gaunt, my face is decidedly less "jolly" than it had been. My formerly well-padded behind no longer exists. It's actually painful to sit in the same position for any length of time. Our office ops manager is ordering a pillow for me to sit on.

My first day back at work was Monday of this week. By Tuesday morning my feet were killing me. I hadn't worn dress shoes in a month, only deck shoes. The streets of New York didn't help matters.

Despite the initial complications (and week of hourly trips to the can), I have no regrets. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Oh, and finally there's this.

My diabetes is resolved. I've been off all medicines since the day before my surgery. My blood sugar (which I continue to monitor daily) has dropped completely back to the "normal" range of 90-110.

I feel wonderful.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

It is done. As of 3:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon I got final approval for my upcoming bariatric surgery from my cardiology group (after much drama - theirs, not mine) and the insurance carrier. I'm scheduled for surgery this coming Monday, August 11th (time TBA).

Yesterday morning was spent having my pre-admission work done at the hospital. I'm now tagged like a bull walrus, with various colored wrist-bands indicating that I've been x-rayed, peed into a lab vial and had a quart or two of blood drawn.

On Tuesday I had my final "go-see" with the surgeon. He said that the next time I saw him he'd be in scrubs. To which I added, "and some amateur from anesthesiology will be trying to put in an A-line, with no luck, and blood'll be spraying all over the staging area."

He looked kind of freaked out and asked me why I thought that? "Because, " I said, "that's what happened the LAST time I had surgery."

I've been cut up so much in the last 4 years that I'm a) an old hand at it and b) pretty cynical about the whole affair.

Still, I have confidence in him. Him being my surgeon.

Everyone has been taking great pains to stress just how much of a "lifestyle" change this is going to entail. Like they're asking me to turn straight or something. That, of course, simply will never happen.

But I do know a thing or two about lifestyle changes. I did, after all, forsake my best friend, and public enemy number one, alcohol 10 plus years ago. Changing the way I "think" is nothing new to me. I do it all the time. Now.

I'm back at work today and tomorrow and then... that's it.

FYI, I'm still computerless at home (who has time to fix or replace that?) If I'm bored on Saturday and I find I have money to burn, I'll try to get a new one, bring it home and set it up before I go into the hospital. Otherwise, if you have my phone numbers, call me late next week. Theoretically I should be home Wednesday afternoon.

The current plan, with my surgeon's blessing, is to be out of work for about a month, or up to six weeks if he so determines. THIS WORKS FOR ME!!! I love "recuperating."

And if you're so inclined, and you have a favorite deity or higher power you talk to, please put in a good word for me next Monday morning, will ya?

I'd really appreciate it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Death of a Computer

The Sony VAIO died. Again. This is the 2nd time it's fried a boot drive. I'm sick and tired of Sony computers.

TV's yes. I'll buy a Sony TV any time. But never again will I plunk down a grand for one of their computing products. They suck.

I asked Bev what she uses at home ("Dude! You're gettin' a Dell!")

I asked my friends what they use (everything from hand-me-downs to do-it-yourselfers).

There was a time when I was grateful to get a hand-me-down 1.2ghz Dell with zero expansion slots and a 20gig drive.

There was also a time when I thought it would be "fun" to build my own PC from scratch (motherboard, drives, keyboards, cards, cases with neon lights and watercooled CPUs).

But those days are gone. Too.

I'd like a pc that doesn't lull me into a false sense of security and then blow up on me.

This is not what I needed to kill time the week before my surgery.

I am annoyed.

AND IT'S ALL SONY'S FAULT!!!!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

And The Days Dwindle Down....

Here is how my mind works: Let's say that I wake up in the morning and have 300 things to be grateful for and 2 things to be pissed off about. Guess what I'll spend the day dwelling on?

My life these days is basically happy, loving and secure. I'm surrounded by people I love and whom love me. So, naturally, I spent most of this week being pissed off at my cardiologist who have the NERVE to go on vacation when I needed him to be in town to do some paperwork so I can have my surgery a week from Monday.

Am I crazy?

Yes.

Then, of course, his office called yesterday and we got it all straightened out and now I won't have to postpone the surgery after all and it's still on for a week from this coming Monday (August 11th -- send cash.)

This also means that I get to spend this weekend and next loitering in the stacks at BJ's and Sam's Club looking for bargain cases of College Inn Lo-Fat Chicken Broth and tons of sugar-free Jello (ibid) and other stuff to try to ingest since I'll have to live on that stuff for about a month, supplemented only by the prayers of other recovering alkies and gallons of liquid vitamins.

But this is good. I am eager to have my Type II Diabetes "resolved" (doctors don't like the word "cured"). I am eager not to wind up, like so many of my immediate ancestors did, blind and footless, strapped into wheelchairs in hellhole nursing homes.

I am eager to not have that happen to me.

And for that I am truly grateful.

Maybe I'll get some photos of my weekend and post 'em here next week. BUT NO PROMISES.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inda Gude Ol Sommer Stein

Today's title refers to a line I heard on a show called "I've Got A Secret", hosted by one Gary Moore (Thomas Garrison Morfit) which aired on CBS-TV from 1833 until 1902. What can I tell you? It's a slow news day and my mind wanders easily these days.

But it also refers to the fact that it is summertime and I have more photos of the Fabulous Jersey Shore to post. So let's get cracking:

Here's one of the boardwalk attractions. I forget what they call it, but they strap you into a cage attached to two counterweighted cables and then launch you, straight up about 200', after which you bounce up and down, up and down, until you upchuck all the delicious Philly cheesesteaks, South Street pizza and 2 and a half pounds of pink spun sugar you scarfed down before plunking down your ten bucks to ride this sadistic monstrosity.







Looks like fun, huh?











Next up we have food.









and more food:













and touring beautiful Cape May:

























And, finally, no trip to the Jersey shore would be complete without losing your shirt at some cockamamie game of chance.





Maybe more tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wildwood Nights!


Here's the view of the ocean from the boardwalk. Note the half-mile hike to the water line. And that sand is not loose (actually a good thing). It's more like tightly packed wet cement. Do not attempt to cross it on a hot summer's day in bare feet. You'll wish you were dead before you're halfway to the ocean.




On the right is a piece of the 2-mile long boardwalk. Note the two "concrete runways" that run parallel to each other, with yellow outside warning stripes, the entire length of the boardwalk. You need to stay on your toes on this boardwalk. The next picture will show you why.





You and your friends will be strolling, casually, down the boardwalk when all of a sudden this pre-recorded PRONUNCIAMENTO will blare out from behind you

"WATCH THE TRAM CAR, PLEASE. WATCH THE TRAM CAR, PLEASE. WATCH THE TRAM CAR, PLEASE."

Thus scaring the crap out of you and your associates. After the first few times you do get used to it and learn a) not to walk along on the cement portion of the boardwalk where the tram car runs and b) to stand to the side and watch OTHER tourists get the crap scared out of them!

By the way, the Tramcar is a real bargain at two bucks a pop after you've spent hours schlepping up and down the boardwalk on a steamy July afternoon.


But here's the real reason one comes to Wildwood, New Jersey. It's a town out of time. It's permanently locked in the year 1959. All the drive-in joints and motels look like something out of "American Graffiti" with "space-age" designs and doo-wop motifs.




And the locals revel in it. So do the tourists.

Biggest surprise of the trip (aside from how things have changed since, oh, 1964) were the bajillions of French-Canadians who obviously have chosen the south Jersey Shore as their summer residence ("chez ete"). I heard more bad French than I did bad English last week.

And speaking of bad English, here's how we old poops whiled away our evenings, playing cutthroat games of Scrabble.





Here's a close-up of the same board:



My so-called friends are the types of people who spend the winter memorizing all the words that begin with "Q" and don't require a "U."

The bastards.

Enough for today. More photos tomorrow. If you're real nice.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a Dope.

Yes, I was down the (Jersey) shore all last week and had a swell time.

Yes, I took pictures.

Yes, I uploaded them to my pc at home.

Yes, I created a slide show in PDF format which I sent to my friends who were down the shore with me.

Yes, I forgot to forward the individual pictures to me at my office email address.

Yes, I'll post some pictures ... tomorrow.

Oh, and I attended 12-Step meetings from Cape May to Avalon. It's a wonder those people manage to stay sober (just kidding -- we alkies always think that people elsewhere are clueless about recovery).

So, stay tuned.

More will be revealed.

Really.

====================================================
Addenda:

It would be a cold day in hell before I attended something called "ComicCon" or something like that in San Diego (or anywhere else, for that matter). Even so, the event is, apparently, not without it's charms.

To wit: Click HERE (warning: NSFW bespandexed nutsack on display).

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Off!

It's been a busy week. Much too busy to have written about it until now.

Come to think of it, though, there's no time now, either.

Tomorrow morning my friends and I are off to the South Jersey Shore, to the Doo-Wop Capital of the world, Wildwood, NJ.

I had the day off to prepare and to see the nutritionist one more time before my surgery and my opthalmologist as a follow-up to my eyelid surgery in May.

There were also quick trips to Barnes & Noble to buy a new road map atlas of NJ and some magazines, and to Shop-Rite to pick up farm fresh herbs because there are no farms near Wildwood, New Jersey, here in the Garden State, where the corn is as high as an elephants eye these days.

Nor do they sell toilet paper, kleenex, toothpaste or deodorant there, either. So, of course, I must pack all of those things.

Am I crazy? YOU BET!

This is my favorite part of any vacation. Making myself nuts in advance of it. I'm actually fun to watch.

While I'm gone please try to behave yourselves, don't let the world blow up, and, if possible, kill a homophobe for Christ!

Nobody deserves it more.

I'll see you in a week and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, you will see ME in a week because I have my phabulous new digital camera with the 1gig memory card capable of holding 399 pictures.

Love to you all...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Brush Up Yer Resumes

Okay boys and girls, it's time to start brushin' up yer resumes. Soon (and sooner than you think, although not nearly soon enough) there'll be a new administration in Washington, D.C., and you know what that means...

A whole passle of new Republican Congresscritters are gonna be a-comin' to town and there's nothing they need more than a bunch of overqualified, Type-A, alcoholic, closeted, self-loathing, queer as a three-dollar bill office staffers, who can type a hundred words a minute with no errors and who have heard of this "interwebs" thing.

You'll be in rehab in no time as you drink and drug yourselves into nightly oblivion, unaware of and/or in denial about the gnawing cancer of self-loathing that's eating you alive as you slavishly serve the fag-bashing hypocrites who walked into office ON YOUR BACKS!

Like John McCain. He's against gay marriage and gay adoptions. Like where does he get off talking about marriage? Didn't he dump wife number 1 as soon as she became an inconvenient (and incapacitated) truth for the beer heiress he's married to now?

I may be wrong.

But never mind that, we're talking JOBS here.

Perhaps the only jobs remaining in America, come next January 20th, no matter who wins.

If Barack keeps his focus on one thing, and one thing only, he'll have a hard time losing in November.

"IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID."