Tuesday, December 29, 2009
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Depends. Single gifts get wrapped. Multiple gifts get wrapped AND bagged.
2. Real tree or artificial?
Okay, now starts the rant on indoor safety. GET THAT FIREHAZARD OUT OF HERE. Artificial.
3. When do you put up the tree?
Put it up? Didn’t I do my part by merely buying it? Now you want me to put it up? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
4. When do you take the tree down?
If it’s in the box the day before, it’ll still be in the box the day after – n’est pas?
5. Do you like eggnog?
Darn tootin’! Unfortunately, booze is out, and so is cholesterol. Bye, bye egg-nog.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Erector sets. I loved ‘em.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
My ex was the hardest person to shop for. Actually, anyone who is passive-aggressive and won’t come right out and tell you what they want. I HATE people like that. I theorize that the only reason people really have for not telling you what they want is so they can blame you later for the crappy gifts you give 'em.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
Me. Ask me what I want and I’ll fax or e-mail you a list to choose from. Better still, just check my name on Amazon.com. I have a wish list there at all times.
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Nah. While I love the message Jesus delivered, I believe it’s a crime that we deified him.
10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
Christmas cards. Nothing says lovin like a card. I try to pick cards with a message that conveys how I’m feeling that year. This year’s card was a sort of Zen message about “being that which the world is missing.” It made sense when I bought them.
12. Favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Carol – the 1951 English version with Alistair Sim.
13. When do you start shopping?
Right after Thanksgiving.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Yes. Booze. Booze gifts get re-gifted.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
16. Lights on the tree?
The tree is pre-lighted. Thankyewverymuch.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
“Santa Baby," the Eartha Kitt version.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Every year I drive to my sister and brother-in-law’s place in Delaware. That’s where my father’s clan gathers for the holiday. I love it. It's not that big a schlep -- about an hour and a quarter each way, turnpike driving all the way.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
You’re kidding, right?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A fancy-schmancy ornament I picked up about five years ago at the Museum of Modern Art store on East 54th Street.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning. It’s more “Christmasy.”
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Crowds and holiday commuters on the trains. They all walk around the east side of Manhattan, especially around Rockefeller Center and it’s ubiquitous tree, with both feet planted firmly in mid-air and totally unaware of how they’re blocking traffic.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I got a collection of great ornaments at the MOMA store that are pretty gay. Glass red ruby slippers, a Kodak camera, etc. Tchotchkes like that.
24. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Got it. I stayed sober for another year and got drenched in love every day.
25. Describe how you would celebrate the holidays if it was totally up to you and money was not a factor.
Fly my family and friends overseas and celebrate ‘CHRISTMAS IN TAHITI’! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Not bad, considering I thought my life was over except for the dying part, 12 years ago.
That first sober Christmas was a scarey time. My friend Bev sent me an Advent package of little toys and goodies -- which meant the world to me. Every little thing in that package said "somebody cares" to me. This, at a time, when I didn't even care for myself. Bev and I have known each other since 1994 -- when we met on-line in CompuServe's Issues forum. She was a Section Leader and, later, a SysOp. I thought she was a nice lady.
She was. She is.
By the time my second sober Christmas came along, I was able to spend the day (mostly) with my family.
And now, I look forward to spending the day with them. They don't push any buttons. That's mostly because this family, which is not my family of origin, has no ideas where my buttons are -- they didn't install them.
This Christmas was the best yet. The former kids have all grown up, gotten married, and had kids. The grand-nieces and grand-nephews are at the perfect age (4-10) and still enthralled by the magic of Santa Claus.
Come to think of it, so am I. Santa brought me sobriety. Santa brought me Bev. Santa brought me hope. Santa brought me 11 years and 9 months of continuous sobriety. Santa brought me love.
It's good to be alive and to still believe in magic.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
For example: certain hard-core, anti-gay, types believe that I am going to hell. Furthermore, they believe that *I* should believe I'm going to hell, too. You see, it's not enough for them to believe it. It's absolutely essential that everyone else believe it, too. Especially me. And people like me. People who don't believe what they believe. People like me who believe that there is a God, but it's not their God. People like me who believe that God doesn't make garbage, and doesn't make mistakes, and doesn't dream up various "gifts" for human beings to spend a lifetime "trying to overcome."
I believe that people are free to believe pretty much whatever they want to believe. From a guy who floats around on a cloud all day, surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim, to the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.
I also believe that I am under no obligation whatsoever to share in anyone elses sun-drenched, half-baked, crackpot beliefs. And nobody is under any obligation to believe in mine.
But I am entitled, despite anyone's beliefs, no matter how "core" those beliefs might seem to them, to share, on a fully equitable basis, in the contractural life of America -- and that includes the ability to contract with another individual for our mutual love and protection, i.e. "marriage."
There is no wiggle-room in there for anything else. Especially belief.
Merry Whatever It Is That You Believe!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Friends of the LGBT Community:
Eric Adams (D)Neil Breslin (D)Martin Malave Dilan (DTom Duane (D)Pedro Espada (D)Brian Foley (D)Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D)Craig Johnson (D)Jeffrey Klein (D)Liz Krueger (D)Velmanette Montgomery (D)Suzi Oppenheimer (D)Kevin Parker (D)Bill Perkins (D)John Sampson (D)Diane Savino (D)Eric Schneiderman (D)Jose Serrano (D)Malcolm Smith (D)Daniel Squadron (D)Toby Ann Stavisky (D)Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D)Antoine Thompson (D)David Valesky (D)
Enemies of the LGBT Community:
Joseph Addabbo (D) — NO James Alesi (R) — NO Darrel Aubertine (D) — NO John Bonacic (R) — NO John DeFrancisco (R) — NO Ruben Diaz (D) — NOHugh Farley (R) — NO John Flanagan (R) — NO Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R) — NO Martin Golden (R) — NO Joseph Griffo (R) — NO Kemp Hannon (R) — NO Shirley Huntley (D) — NO Owen Johnson (R) — NO Carl Kruger (D) — NO Andrew Lanza (R) — NO Bill Larkin (R) — NO Kenneth LaValle (R) — NO Vincent Leibell (R) — NO Tom Libous (R) — NO Elizabeth Little (R) — NO Carl Marcellino (R) — NO George Maziarz (R) — NO Roy McDonald (R) — NO Hiram Monserrate (D) — NO Thomas Morahan (R) — NO Michael Nozzolio (R) — NO George Onorato (D) — NO Frank Padavan (R) — NO Michael Ranzenhofer (R) — NO Joseph Robach (R) — NO Stephen Saland (R) — NO James Seward (R) — NO Dean Skelos (R) — NO William Stachowski (D) — NO Dale Volker (R) — NO George Winner (R) — NO Catherine Young (R) — NO
Note the number of (D)'s who voted against us: Addabbo, Aubertine, Diaz, Huntley, Kruger, Monserrate, Onorato and Stachowski.
If you live in New York State, keep all these folks in mind the next time somebody wants your handshake, your cash and your vote.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
"[I] think[s] that New York State legislators continue to exhibit all the spine and rectitude they have exhibited ever since they sat out the vote on Independence in 1776."
In other words, they were wimps then, and they're wimps now.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Since last we talked, New Jersey voted out Jon Corzine (D) as governor and voted in Chris Christie (R). Anti-gay marriage Chris Christie. Anti-gay everything Chris Christie.
Here's what you need to know about politicians.
1. They lie.
2. They are opportunists who will promise you anything (or at least allude to promising you something) in exchange for your undying love, devotion, cold hard cash and vote.
3. They will repeatedly pull the rug out from under you and/or throw you under the nearest bus in order to keep you in a state of neediness so as to guarantee their re-election, time after time after time.
Look. Here's how it works. Let's say, for a moment, that you're the American Cancer Society. You're not REALLY interested in finding a cure for cancer. You're REALLY interested in making a living PRETENDING to look for a cure for cancer (keep those cards and checks coming!)
And that's how it is with gay rights and Democrats. They're not REALLY interested in getting us our rights. They're only interested in making a LIVING by PRETENDING to care about getting us our rights. A living they do not want to lose. Even if it means a couple (or a lot) of us get beat up or killed now and then.
And we're idiots if we imagine, for one second, that it's any other way.
In the words of the immortal Norm on "Cheers", "it's a dog eat dog world, Sammy, and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear."
And so are you.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Look, the cancer is mostly gone and that's what really matters. Right? Right. The surgery was a success, by any standards and I've got about a month off to sooth my ruffled feathers and to tighten up my boy-pussy so I won't piss myself every time I sneeze.
More to follow on my escapades in hospital (with a special, surprise guest -- my EX, who showed up unannounced, unbidden and mostly unwelcome, at my bedside), but for now suffice it to say I am well, I am happy and life goes on.
With time to kill I, naturally, spend hours every day surfing the nether-regions of the internets. Today I want to share with you my new, absolutely favorite, sleazy website, Awkward Family Photos dot.com [click HERE to visit the site]
And here's my selection from that site for today. Notice how prepared Jennifer is for Christmas. Only problem? It's October!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I have to be there at 10:00 a.m. Surgery is scheduled for noon. I expect to be discharged on Thursday. I'll be living with friends in Queens for about a week, until they remove the catheter. Then I can go home to New Jersey. I'll be out of the office for anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.
I'll post when I can over the next week, but I doubt if it'll be regularly.
If anybody out there is the praying sort, I'd appreciate it if you'd shoot a prayer towards whatever Higher Power you believe in to smile favorably in my direction over the next couple of weeks.
Take care and hug somebody you love and tell them that you love them. Don't put it off. Do it right now.
Monday, October 12, 2009
I got involved with gay lib along about version 1.00 (1971-1976). Version .75 was Stonewall itself and it's immediate aftermath (1969-1971). Prior to that, in the late 50's, early 60's there were the Daughters of Bilitis and the Mattachine Society (versions .25 and .50).
Version 1.00 was when the movement went "viral" (a term we didn't have in those days) and spread like wildfire on college campuses up and down the east coast and on the other side of flyover country, in California. "Out of the Closets and Into the Streets" was our mantra in those days. Those were the times when we blended liberation with anarchy. Yearly "Pride" marches started, first in NY, then in other cities.
But I burned out on it. And I'll tell you why. I saw a future in which I had two choices. Either I could become a "professional homosexual" like Frank Kameny or Barbara Gittings (and before you pelt me, I loved those people -- and still do), or I could succumb to my baser instincts and have a 9-5 job with a big paycheck. I opted for the latter.
And I was always mildly discomforted by some professional homsexuals. There was an air of bitterness to a few of them that I didn't like.
Today we have other professional homosexuals. Like Andrew Sullivan, Joe Solomnese and Barney Frank. Luckily for Barney he has a day job as Congresscritter.
I'm not questioning the motives of any of them. Do they serve a purpose? You betcha (to quote a former Alaskan governor).
But here's my problem with them. What would happen to their livelihoods if, magically, we got everything we were seeking in terms of equal rights -- tomorrow?
And, knowing that they would be instantly unemployed if that happened, who's to say that their actions and politicking aren't somehow or other flavored or colored by that certainty. Are they somehow or other just slightly less eager to have my total best interests at heart... if that would mean not having their total best interests at heart?
There's a reason, I believe, why the Founders never envisioned a professional class of politician in our republic. It's the same reason why I inherently distrust professional homosexuals.
What's that got to do with what happened this weekend? Plenty.
While the HRC was breaking bread with the President, as he mouthed the same old political stump speech he made a year ago, motels and campers and buses all over town were being camped out in by college kids and bloggers and their friends and families because they were there to make a difference, and not to have a rubber-chicken dinner with the Status Quo.
The Professional Homosexuals have every reason to fear what's about to happen, because in very short order they are going to be unemployed.
And if the President and his flunkies don't get off the fucking dime and start delivering some of the shit they've been promising, they too are going to quickly find themselves out of office.
It don't take a Weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.
Friday, October 09, 2009
However, red has reared it's ugly head.
Bill Marriott, of the hotel chain, talks about his and his company's separation of religious views from business conduct:
and yet, the virulently anti-gay New Jersey Family Policy Council is tossing a soiree featuring Carrie Prejean at a Marriott Hotel in Whippany.
You might want to call the hotel and let them know your feelings about this … and while you have them on the line, mention Bill Marriott’s publicly stated position.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Tomorrow I have a nuclear stress test at 7:00 a.m. (to satisfy my absolutely useless cardiologist, whom I've come to hate) and a go-see with my internist (whom I still like) at 3:45 p.m. It is my HOPE that both of them will immediately sign off on my upcoming surgery.
If, God willing, they do then a week from tomorrow I'll arrive at Mt. Sinai hospital here in Manhattan at 10:00 a.m. for a radical prostectomy performed by Dr. David Samadi, using the da Vinci surgical robot.
I can't think of anyone, among my male friends, better suited to this than me. Sex has become nothing but a bitter memory of how I routinely sold myself short over the years.
God has actually done me a big favor.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I can't take credit for this, but it's all over the internets in various forms today:
It's the Republican Healthcare Plan.
1. Don't get sick.
and, if you do get sick,
2. Die quickly.
That's the gist of it.
And here's my valentine to the Republican Party today:
Monday, September 28, 2009
1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Gas. We use entirely too much gas.
2. Do you miss being a child?
Nope. Not a single, solitary part of it. Although I do act out childishly at times – and entertainment-wise I’m stuck in the 6th Grade (still love horror movies and amusement parks).
3. Chore you hate the most?
Cleaning the bathroom.
4. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
5. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?
I would prevent my mother from meeting my father.
6. Name of your first grade teacher?
Some unfortunate, less than 30 year old, nun. She had a roomful of screaming 6 year olds to contend with. I think she wound up having a nervous breakdown. I don’t blame her.
7. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Exactly what I’m doing.
8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I never had a plan. I grew up in an alcoholic family. We weren’t big on planning, so I never learned how.
9. How many colleges did you attend?
10. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
It was the next one in the rotation.
11. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
I sense that they’ve dropped a couple of cents a gallon recently. That’s a good thing.
12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
Here we go again.
13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
I never remember the last thought. I drop off pretty quickly.
14. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
15. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
No, but I have been crashed into.
16. If you didn't have to work, would you volunteer?
Yes. I would become a professional recovering alcoholic and spend all of my time attending committee meetings and answering phones at call centers. I would become a Spiritual Star. This is why God never lets me win the lottery. I still have a lot of growing to do, and a lot of humility to obtain, before I’m ready for a life of leisurely recovery.
17. Get up early or sleep in?
The alarm goes off at 4:35 a.m. every weekday. On weekends my internal alarm let’s me sleep in until at least 5:30.
18. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Bullwinkle J. Moose.
19. Favorite thing to do at night with a guy/girl?
Heh. You’re kidding, right?
20. When did you first start feeling old?
At 25. I sobbed through the entire year. I was crushed at being an entire quarter of a century old.
21. Favorite lunch meat?
22. What do you get every time you go into WalMart?
What’s a WalMart? Is that like Sam’s Club? I always buy crap at Sam’s Club, which is why I limit my visits to Sam’s Club.
23. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
“Marriage” is a religious ritual, specifically designed to gussy-up the ancient businesslike matter at hand – the co-joining of wealth and property among, generally warring, factions. Personally, I’d like to see us adopt the European model, left to us by Napoleon; i.e. a lovely, but superfluous, religious ceremony followed by a trip to City Hall for the actual signing of the contracts.
24. Favorite movie you wouldn't want anyone to find out about?
I don’t have any secret vices, movie-wise. Certain movies I will always stop to watch while channel-surfing include: “2001 A Space Odyssey” and “Gosford Park”
25. What's your favorite drink?
Crystal Lite – Raspberry Ice. I luv that stuff.
26. Who from high school would you like to run in to?
Nobody. High school sucked and I’m glad it’s over.
27. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
101.5 in central NJ.
28. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Neither. “Mad Men”, “House”, “Fringe”, “American Dad” & “Lost.”
29. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
Telling Rick Zimmerman that I didn’t love him. I did. That was my disease talking. That was 36 years ago and there isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t think about that.
30. Do you like the person that sits directly across from/next to you at work?
Kathy? Yes. She’s a pisser.
31. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purposes?
Only during training exercises in the Navy. The Navy was very big on firefighting skills – for everyone (including admirals).
32. Last book you finished reading?
33. Do you have a teddy bear?
Yes. Two. Both given to me while I was recuperating from my open-heart surgery in 2004. One’s brown, the other white. I love them both.
34. One thing you couldn't live without?
35. Do you go to church?
Not since I gave up being a Catholic – well, not intentionally. I still get shanghaied once in awhile to weddings and funerals.
36. How old are you?
37. Can you take apart a motor, put it back together, and have no extra parts?
Ask me the same question regarding a PC.
38. Are you for or against the death penalty?
Against. If we, as a society, use it then we are, as a society, no better than the criminal we are using it against. Period.
39. If there is a God and you could ask him/her one question what would it be?
What the fuck were you thinking?
40. Do you think it’s possible that there is life on other planets?
I’m still awaiting proof that there’s intelligent life here.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
If they'd had sports like this when I was in high school, I might've gone out for some teams.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I was a complete douchenozzle for some of the time (I was pretty well-behaved on Saturday night).
It started on Friday when I got home from my job in NY and found two packages I could've done without. One was a letter, with affidavit, from the NYC Transit Authority, wanting me to tell them the entire story of the transit fare card incident at 53rd & Lex on August 24th. The other was a packet from my surgeon wanting all kinds of tests and clearances, from my internist and from my cardiologist, prior to my upcoming robotic prostectomy on October 14th.
In and of themselves, they were nothing. I was out about $58.00 with the MTA and the other stuff would kill a couple of vacation days during the next few weeks.
It could be much worse. These are high-quality problems for somebody who, 11 years ago, didn't have a job and was virtually homeless.
Somewhere along the way, my gratitude, which ordinarily colors most of my thinking, flew right out the window.
What saved me was having a schedule and sticking to it, of meetings and forced association with other recovering drunks like me.
I arose Saturday morning, grunting with resentment, and dragged myself to my local 12-Step, 7:00 a.m. meeting. Then, I dragged myself to a 10:00 a.m. meeting in Princeton. Then I took myself to see the new Matt Damon movie (GREAT!) and capped it by driving 80 miles (round-trip) to a gay 12-Step meeting in Pennsylvania with a couple of beginners in tow. That was good. It kept me focused on them, and not on myself.
Sunday, I was a grump again. A fax machine in Atlantic City kept attack-dialing my home phone number, starting at 6:30 a.m.. I did a reverse look-up on the internet of the number and got an e-mail address and phone number for the company. I sent an e-mail and left a voicemail, basically threatening them with physical violence if they didn't subdue their lousy fax machine. Eventually it gave up.
I went to my usual Sunday 12-step meeting, sat in the back and growled at everyone, including my sponsor.
I fled the meeting, went to the supermarket, went home and spent the afternoon isolating, napping and generally feeling sorry for myself.
This morning, I attended my home group meeting at 7:30, got to the office, took all the steps to "do the next, right, thing" and suddenly life is worth living again.
I owe this mostly to a) God, b) the program and c) people who care about me.
We have a saying in 12-Step programs which is very annoying:
"This too shall pass."
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Change you can believe in.
Change for change's sake.
Change or die.
Anything that isn't the way things were ... oh, like, never.
That's what has them in such a lather. That's what's pissing off the Right, the Birthers, the Teabaggers, all of that lunatic fringe on the other side of the aisle.
If it's change, it's bad. If it's change proposed by someone who doesn't look exactly like them, and is therefore inherently untrustworthy because people who look and sound like them ARE totally trustworthy -- like George Bush -- it's really bad.
No more Government Giveaways. No Socialized Medicine (and keep yer cotton-pickin' hands off of my Medicare and Medicaid and Sociable Security). No abortion on demand between classes in high school! No more third-graders being forced to attend gay weddings in San Francisco!
Have these people no idea just how idiotic they sound? Do they not care that they're fear-driven, knee-jerk, assholes?
Is that how I appear to them?
For decades my party was the party that was "lost in the wilderness" and every time my party, or I, tried to make a point, I/we was/were told to quit being such a cry-baby(ies) and spoiler(s) and left-wing, knee-jerk liberal(s). And I, and my party, were good little boys and girls and we did what we were told.
And we most certainly did NOT yell out at Bush, when he actually was lying from the podium in the well of the House, which happened a lot, that he was a liar. Unlike that attention-seeking, obviously middle-child, grandstanding, wimpy Klansman from South Carolina.
But the Republicans ARE the party now lost in the wilderness. And the best, the very best they can do at this point, is to rally their lunatic fringe while the majority of the country wrings it's hands in fear.
But Maureen Dowd said it best the other day, in her column in the NYTimes, after the Wilson outburst in Congress. What's really eating them... and what was really implied in Joe Wilson's outburst, was this:
"YOU LIE ..... BOY!"
Racism. That's what's really at work here. The rapidly shrinking WASP population, comparatively speaking, sees "its" nation slipping out of its control and feels helpless and fearful.
Monday, September 14, 2009
But first, the background. After my dreadful experience at New York/Presbyterian on the Friday before Labor Day, I snooped around on the interwebs over the long weekend and found a surgeon at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. His name is David Samadi. Here is his picture:
I called his office on Tuesday morning to ask for an appointment, fully expecting to be told a) he's not taking new patients or b) we can squeeze you in next year. Instead I got an appointment for last Friday at 11:00 a.m.
The next morning (Wednesday) I went to my usual 12-Step meeting at 7:30 a.m. in CitiGroup Center here in NY. The speaker was someone who had recently joined our group and she had a fascinating story to tell which ended with her changing careers and winding up working for a doctor at Mount Sinai. I think you know the rest of the story.
Here's Dr. Samadi's wiki:
My Higher Power was working overtime that day, believe me. My new friend emailed me the forms I'd need for the Friday visit. I showed up 15 minutes early on Friday, filled out one additional form, was introduced to Dr. Samadi and was escorted directly into his office. He looked at my test results and pronounced me a good candidate for the surgery. I asked him if he believed in God. Then I said that I did, and that it was my belief that things happen for reasons.
I absolutely believed, at that point, that it was intended for me to have my surgery done by this man.
We stepped across the hall and he did to me what I've only let several thousand other men do to me. Then he sent in his nurse to talk to me about pre and post-op stuff.
Scheduling set me up with a date of October 14th at noon. I should be discharged the following afternoon. I have friends who actually want me to come and recuperate with them, here in New York. I'll have a catheter in me for a couple of days. They'll remove it in the office early the following week. I can then go home. Family members have already said that they'd drive into the city to get me and bring me home. I'll be out of work for anywhere from a month to six weeks.
I have to do Kegel exercises until the surgery. This is to tone up my sphincter(s). I didn't have the heart to tell them that, as a gay man, I'm intimately familiar with contracting and relaxing my sphincters. TMI, I suppose.
Oh, and Dr. Samadi will be using the da Vinci robot.
When I got back to the office on Friday I called Memorial Sloan-Kettering and cancelled my appointment, scheduled for this coming Wednesday. I didn't need to look any further. Not only had I found the gold-standard surgeon and hospital for what I needed to have done, but I'd also found a doctor whom I could trust.
And at the end of the day, that's what really matters.
Friday, September 11, 2009
At 8:46 a.m., the first plane hit the north tower. (click on the picture to greatly embiggen it.)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Not since the 1850's, when it was common for our national legislators to routinely horsewhip and cane each other mercilessly, over the issue of slavery, on the floors of their respective houses, have we seen such a spectacle as we saw last night, during the President's speech on healthcare reform.
Regardless of where you stand on the matter, during a President's speech, especially if you are actually THERE, the very least you can do is to keep your fuckin' mouth shut.
After all, the Democrats kept their fucking mouths shut all during the Bush years when the (then) President spouted all kinds of crazy-assed, wingnut, bullshit to joint sessions of Congress.
At any rate, I was delighted to find out that it was possible to actually DO something about Representative Wilson. And that something is to donate money to his opponent. So I did.
You can, too. By clicking here.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
She's the one who started it all. The Divine Ms. M, Bette Midler, in the fall of 1972. Her debut album. And the cut that still resonates in my head to this day is the first cut of the "B" side, "Friends."
And I do. Have friends. After my hideous experience at NY/Presbyterian hospital last Friday a friend of mine, who just happens to work there, took me out to keep me company until I crawled back in from the figurative ledge. This same friend had already told me that I would come and stay with him and his wife after my surgery until I was well enough to travel home from New York to central New Jersey.
And it didn't matter which New York hospital I used. I would still be welcome.
Then on Sunday, out of the blue, a friend of mine from Baltimore called and announced that he and his partner would "love to have me come and recuperate with them" if I chose to have the surgery done at Johns-Hopkins. How many people have friends who would invite them to come and be an invalid with them, for however long it took to get well?
I have friends like that.
I don't remember ever doing anything to earn friends like that, but I seem to have 'em.
Oh, and here's the kicker on all this. Yesterday morning I called a surgeon's office at Mount Sinai and made an appointment to see him this coming Friday morning. He's performed over 1,000 prostectomies using the "da Vinci" robot. This morning, at my daily 12-Step meeting, our "guest speaker" was someone who worked in medical administration --- for a doctor who specializes in cancers.
Take a guess.
Yup. We spoke after the meeting. She works for the guy I'm seeing on Friday. The paperwork (and insurance) is all being taken care of.
I am being taken care of.
I've got friends.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
I had my appointment with the surgeon at Weill-Cornell/New York - Presbyterian Hospital last Friday at 3:00 p.m.
I showed up on time, signed a paper, got my blood-pressure checked and was seated in a waiting room. In about 10 minutes I was taken to an examination room.
I sat in there, unattended, with no one dropping in to check on me, for 70, that's right, SEVENTY minutes, before I got sick and tired of waiting and walked out to see what was going on.
"Oh" some flunky exclaimed. "Didn't anyone come in?"
I went back. It was another 10 minutes or so before I was finally escorted into Dr. God's inner-sanctum by one of his flunkies in a lab coat. She began the interview, only to quickly be joined by Dr. God, Himself.
I maintained a civil tongue but made my displeasure at being treated so badly abundantly clear.
I ran through my list of questions, which he promptly answered. I terminated the interview with, "I'll let you know."
I thought about it over the weekend and concluded that the actions of the staff were indicative of the mind-set of the teacher. That they treat people badly because he tolerates them treating people badly.
I would, under no circumstances, consider urological surgery at Weill-Cornell/New York - Presbyterian Hospital. In case anyone cares.
Next stop, Mount Sinai this coming Friday morning, followed by Memorial Sloan-Kettering a week from Wednesday.
I'm tired of doctors. I'm tired of surgeries. I'm tired.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
these are employees of the Wackenhut Corporation, which provides private security for all occasions (baptisms, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, occupying forces, etc.) This is an actual photo (amongst many) taken of Wackenhut employees enjoying a little "down-time" in Kabul, Afghanistan. They are there, ostensibly, to guard American interests, specifically to provide security for the American Embassy in Kabul. Technically they are contractors of the US State Department. Be sure to drop Hillary a line today and let her know what you think of the fine job her contractors are doing in projecting a moral, straight-arrow image of America to our
The entire collection of photos shows, clearly, the inately homoerotic nature of most male hazing activities. Not only tolerated, but encouraged, as a way of "bonding" men in combat. Meanwhile, of course, really bonded guys (and gals) are being tossed out of the services left and right because they are gay.
Go figure. And when you have, please let me know, because I'm just fucking dying to know how the Government rationalizes this bullshit. Thank you.
And speaking of bullshit...
On to South Carolina. Man, are we missing out, or what? This sleepy little Southern backwater has, it turns out, been a seething cesspool of roiling, boiling carnality -- and we never knew it! If I'd only known what I know now, I would've moved there years ago! (and you should've too!)
First, there's Governor Mark Sanford. You know, the one with the Argentinian girlfriend in Buenos Aires (not to mention a wife and 4 boys back home).
Then, two days ago, Mike Rogers at Blogactive.com outed the Lt. Governor, Andre Bauer (40 year old "bachelor", and check out THIS gayface):
And to top it all off, the head of the Board of Education, Kristin Maguire, an ultra-conservative, evangelical Christian Republican, appointed by Mark Sanford to head the SC Board of Ed, yet who steadfastly refused to send her four daughters to public school and home-schooled them, instead.... got caught writing salacious porn on the internet. She has resigned "for family reasons."
Here's the hypocrite:
(Oh, wait, that's right. There's not even a wiki on this unqualified beeyatch, let alone any photos.)
Where's the outrage? Remember Howard Beale in "Network"? Isn't it time for us to don our grungy old trenchcoats and to stand up in front of the cameras and yell, "I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!"?
Yes. Yes, it is.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
In 2005 I was (again) told that I was a "ticking time bomb" and I had what's known in the business as "bi-lateral endarterectomies", which is to say they sliced open the sides of my neck, pulled out portions of the arteries feeding the brain, sliced them open and squeezed out the congealed cholesterol in both of them. I have lovely, matching 2" long scars on either side of my neck as souvenirs of that one.
In early 2006 I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Type II Diabetes, it turns out, is not a disease, it is a big-business. There is a cure for Type II Diabetes which Big Pharma does not want you to take. It's called "Gastric Bypass Surgery" and I had it in early August of 2008. I lost 65 pounds and the diabetes (and the co-pays for Glucophage and Test Strips and a lot of other hooey and hokum which is totally unnecessary and is probably killing more people than it helps). That particular surgery, laporascopically done, left a bunch of little scars all over my belly.
Then, a week or two or three ago, I was told I have prostate cancer.
God only knows what sort of scars I'll come out of this with . But I do know this:
Despite the "big-business" aspect of all my hospitalizations and assorted medical effluvia, I thank God that I had pretty good insurance which covered pretty much everything.
Today, I am the Six Million Dollar Man (for those of you old enough to remember the non-Stone Cold Steve Austin) -- in more ways than one.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Apparently it's no secret that the President Pro Tem of the SC Senate, Glenn McConnell, is also gay.
And everyone over the age of 7 with an IQ over 100, which automatically rules out most of the citizens of SC, knows that Senator Lindsey Graham is officially "light in the loafers" (as was Mark Foley, another fine example of Southern Manhood and Good Old-Timey Down-Home Pederasty).
Jeebus, are the voters of SC complete idiots or just in total denial? We know all their politicians are queer as folk.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Good news. Bad news. But news.
Now the ball is in my court. He was solicitous and concerned. He answered my questions truthfully. He assured me that he wouldn't feel "two-timed" if I snuck around and saw other doctors behind his back. In fact, he encouraged me to make appointments and to get other opinions.
I've been given names of doctors at New York Hospital-Presbyterian, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Mount Sinai in New York and at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
Some of them use the robot, others do not, preferring instead to do it the old fashioned way, through a 3" incision.
My guy at home in NJ has done 600 removals in his career. He does them at a non-teaching hospital in New Brunswick, NJ (St. Peters). His rationale is that the operation is so delicate he doesn't want to have surrender any portion of it to resident surgeons, i.e. "rank amateurs." I liked that.
There's a good 10-15% chance that post-removal I'll still have to have some sort of follow-up therapy, probably radiation. Hey! That leaves a good 85-90% chance that I WON'T.
I'll be incontinent for awhile. A month, maybe two. As for "male potency" (don't you love the euphemisms we come up with for "hard ons"?), well, it'll be about as good as it is now within 6 months. I can wait 6 months. It's already been years.
Ordinarily I'd be on the phone this morning, rounding up appointments, arranging for time off, coordinating everything. But the weather is crappy, and I need a good scary movie... "Ultimate Destination" would do.
I'll deal with cancer next week. Promise.
p.s. But be assured that I know this ... I am loved. A lot. And that is going to make all the difference in the world.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There is a certain film critic of reknown, from Chicago, who blogs. Fair enough. What I didn't know is that he, too, is in recovery.
His name is Roger E. and [click here] is the entry which I find truly inspiring,
and on a lighter note, here's a birther, or teabagger, or Blue Dawg Democrat, or some other kind of illiterate douchebag, trying to explain healthcare reform:
[VIDEO DELETED DUE TO EMBEDDED ADVERTISING BY DOUCHEBAG ON-LINE SO-CALLED UNIVERSITY NAMED AFTER A CITY IN ARIZONA]
Monday, August 17, 2009
My PSA readings (a blood test) had been varying for years but recently, in the last year, they had been consistently hovering above the number generally recognized to be worrisome by the medical profession.
He took his samples (you don't even want to know about how he gets them, suffice it to say you have zero dignity during the procedure) and I went, gaily, off to the beach.
Well, last Thursday I had my follow-up with him. His face a mask of concern, he told me that it was cancer. 60% of the samples were infused with cancer cells over 90% of their surfaces.
I have no idea how others handle this, but I do know how one person I know handled it -- my ex had prostate cancer and had his prostate removed in 1991. They filleted him like a fish to do it. Afterwards he had to inject his penis with a syringe full of something in order to get a half-assed erection. He did not take it well. Sex was a lot... everything to him. I might as well have been a hole in the mattress, for all the (BITTER, PARTY OF ONE)... but I digress.
Not that I'm exactly worried about that. I haven't had sex with another human being in ... a decade? Two? Well, it's been a long time, and nobody is beating my door down and, to be honest, I have been deliberately NOT looking lustfully at anyone since 1984 or so.
So I'm not really worried about that.
No... it's the pain I fear. I remember how much pain the ex was in. It was bad.
My RN friends assure me that the pain is much more manageable and bearable than the gastric bypass was last year.
That's good news, I suppose.
But what about AFTER the removal? What then? Will I have to have chemo? Radiation? Will I be incontinent for the the rest of my life? Or even a month?
There's a new machine, Da Vinci by name, which is a surgeon-controlled robotic octopus which, according to the hype, does all of it's work through one teeny hole in your gut and which does NOT damage, the way old-fashioned surgery does, the delicate nerve bundle which surrounds the prostate and which contributes to a male's intense joy at the moment of ecstacy.
Shit. Look, I'm scared. It's cancer and I'm scared. I wasn't scared at quadruple-bypass surgery or bilateral endarterectomies or even gastric bypass -- but this time I'm scared.
I need help. Gods, yours and anyone else's who is willing.
Oh, and yes, I plan to not drink over it.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
But I am back from the Delaware shore. And I threw my back out in the process of unloading the car after a nearly picture-perfect week at the beach. Sigh.
All the news that's fit to print mostly has to do with Wingnuts, Freepers, Teabaggers and Birthers gettin' their knickers in a twist over the proposed healthcare reform legislation (Obama Death Panels passing sentence on everyone over the age of 30, etc.) WTF? I say leave the Death Panels where they are now, at the insurance companies which routinely make life or death decisions and deny people all kinds of treatment. Assholes.
Rather than joining that fray, I found this little item on Andy Towle's site. I happen to be in love with Jason Mraz and his cute little hat and his cute little bod and his cute little voice and his cute little ass.
Take a look at this and see if you don't agree with me... for a "straight guy" he sure is pretty gay-friendly.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Here we are:
Just kidding. This is an old snap of the beach patrol in Dewey, the next beach town south of Rehoboth.
Not that I've been very good about posting lately but I'll probably be even worse between now and August 8th, when we return.
Stay out of trouble while your father and I are away and we'll bring you a nice, big box of Dolle's Salt Water Taffy and a stuffed bear from one of the boardwalk arcades.
And keep out of the liquor cabinet.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
A swimmer named Ricky Berens had a "wardrobe malfunction". And here are the pictures to prove it, above and a close-up, below:
See? There is a God. Sigh.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I was on a Metroliner from Wilmington Delaware to New York City at the time. It was a Sunday afternoon. I'd been on vacation that week in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where I ate badly, smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish.
In other words, business as usual.
A few minutes after the train pulled out of New Brunswick, I caught sight of the (late) Twin Towers of the World Trade Center some 30 miles off in the distance.
That's when I first felt it. A tightness in my chest. It felt like someone had balled up their fist and was shoving it straight up under my sternum. I didn't know that that's where the heart is actually located. I thought "how odd. it must be indigestion." What did I know about heart attacks? Nothing. I thought you were supposed to feel a shooting pain up your arm (I didn't).
It didn't go away.
I got back to New York and I got home.
It didn't go away. I slept fitfully that night.
It was a hundred degrees in New York that July. My ex and I went out to dinner because it was too hot to cook. We went out that Monday night, the next night (Tuesday) and the night after that (Wednesday). We went to dinner at the Post House (a chop and steak joint) that night. I had the prime rib (large), with a baked potato and lots of butter and broccoli with hollandaise sauce (yeah, I know).
After dinner, we decided to walk over to the Lex line from the west side. We got to Astor Place. I collapsed on the platform.
The doctor said I should've died. He said I'd had a massive coronary. I needed a cigarette and a drink when he said that.
I kept drinking and smoking for years afterward. I didn't care. Even though I was a high-powered Wall Streeter at the time, I was very unhappy and wished, deep-down-inside, that I was dead.
I would eventually lose everything (Wall Street, the ex, etc.) I would get sober in 1998. I would have quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004 and quit smoking at the same time. I would have bilateral endarterectomies in 2005. I would be diagnosed with type II diabetes in 2006 and eventually have a stomach bypass in 2008 to fix the diabetes.
Twenty years ago I had a massive coronary.
Twenty years ago, I realize now, God was very busy saving me from myself. Time and time and time again.
I don't doubt it.
Miracles happen. I am one.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I wonder to myself "what bright young dingbat just found this out?"
As anyone over the age of reason, who has seen the movie "1776", knows:
"Molasses to Rum to Slaves" was sung by Edward Rutledge from South Carolina and directly refers to the triangulation of north/south/caribbean economics in the 18th century.
But even non-musical types have a general knowledge that the North and the South were heavily divided on the issue and not always along geographical lines (Mr. Dickinson of Pennsylvania being a prime example), and that it took all the genial diplomatic skills of Benjamin Franklin himself to eventually broker a deal on the matter, primarily between John Adams of Massachusetts and his followers and Rutledge and his followers. The Virginians, by the way, were ambivalent on the matter.
Franklin could probably not have foreseen just how much long-term damage that deal would inflict on the country, but then, he was faced with the more daunting (and immediate) problem of creating a United States of America, and not merely preserving it.
We were a work in progress then, and we remain so now.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
David Mixner in his blog today, July 1st, 2009 , said this:
“For me to be a free man doesn't mean I have to make everyone in America like me. In fact the Constitution protects an unpopular minority from the tyranny of a majority.”
This is what he called it: Gay Apartheid
This is what it is: Gay Apartheid
Politicians can mouth off, Religiosos can mouth off, The Powers-That-Be can mouth off, but the net-net is... gay apartheid. Separate, and mostly unequal.
And here's Keith Olbermann interviewing Dan Savage last night on the subject of DADT.
Wait for the payoff at the end. Keith swears up a blue streak and it's absolutely worth the wait.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Have we come a long way since that mythic night in 1969, when the Queens fought back against a routine Vice-Squad raid of a Mafia-run gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village? Yes. Undoubtedly.
Background check of my bona fides:
I'd turned 21 the week before. I was in the Navy and had just reported for duty after a year of boot camp and electronics schools, to the Naval Air Test Center in Maryland. It was weeks before even a hint of the events in New York managed to filter down to where I was. And where I was was alone and lonely inside my own skin, absolutely convinced that I was doomed to a lifetime of secrecy about who, and what, I really was. I remember being thrilled to hear that there had been a "queer uprising" of some sort in New York City. It gave me a teensy bit of hope that maybe the future might be okay for me, after all.
Long story short, I got out of the service and came flying out of the closet, got very involved in gay lib on a grassroots level at the University of Delaware, got burnt by same, swore off gay lib and gay politics -- moved to Seattle -- moved to New York, attended a few early Pride Parades and most importantly... I saw where it was all going.
It was all going to a party.
The early parades were rag-tag events, scheduled mostly by word of mouth in those pre-internet, pre-email days. Mouth and pamphlets and underground newspapers.
They didn't need no stinkin' permits to march. Everybody just "showed up" on Central Park West and started organizing themselves behind banners. There were no "floats" or flatbed trucks full of scantily-clad party boyz and blaring disco music, tossing Mardi Gras beads to the gawkers along Fifth.
The cops didn't interfere because, to be honest, there were about a quarter of a million of us and about 10,000 of them.
But then, and rather quickly, the marches got sold out. To corporate interests and the aforementioned flat-bed trucks loaded with Party-Boyz.
And Pride stopped being political.
Look, I like a party as much as anyone else. But there is a time and a place for it. And Pride Parades are NOT it. NOT yet. When we have achieved our political goals of full, unbridled, equality before the law ... then, and only then ... can we "reward" ourselves with a parade with floats sponsored by Bud Lite and American Express.
Until then, there is work to be done. Political work. Hard work. In your fucking-face work.
Our lives are at stake here. And a once-a-year, blow off some steam, Disco-on-Fifth, is not a fit way to demonstrate against discrimination and in favor of civil rights for LGBT peoples from coast to coast. All it is is just a fucking bone thrown to us by an establishment with a vested interest in keeping us "uppity faggots" in our place.
A minor annoyance to the majority and a battered-wife reliable cashcow to the Democratic Party.
And if that don't piss you off, then just what will it take?
I seem to have struck a nerve with a few people with my post, both above and over on Facebook. My friend Robin posted something remarkably similar on her website. You can jump directly to her post, here. I've also added her to my list of Daily Reads under "Here's What I Don't Get." Check it out. Eclectic, feminist and po'd at the status quo. Like me!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I'm a big, ol' musical queen. And I've seen a ton of big, ol' musicals over the years. I was even IN a few of them, in college and community theaters, along the way. I'd always thought I'd seen 'em all, and knew 'em all.
Well, I'm here to tell ya, I didn't know jack-shit.
I saw "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center on Tuesday night, and I'm here to tell you, it is the best American musical play, ever.
It beautifully captures the mood of a robust, vigorous nation at war, a country flexing both it's impressive muscles and it's small-town naivete. Yes, it also has bald-faced capitalism (Billis), bald-faced racism (Lt. Cable and Nellie Forbush), worldy sophistication (de Beque) and altruistic heroism (Cable and de Beque).
This show is loaded. Mostly with America, warts and all, with a smattering of ex-patriate France, just the way we all were in the 40's.
The overture starts, as many B'way overtures do these days, small and tinny, sounding more like it's being played on a synthesizer across the street at Juilliard, until... the music builds and builds to the crescendo in the midst of the "Bali Hai" section when, suddenly, like a giant wave pulling back from the shore, the entire stage floor swiftly retracts upstage to reveal an entire Broadway orchestra, the way B'way orchestras used to be ... BIG. 25 or 30 seats, at least. Only then did I really appreciate the lushness of the Robert Russell Bennett orchestrations and the true value of Rogers' brilliant score.
I'm sorry for waxing ecstatic over it, but I was just blown away by it. The cast is great, not a miscue among them. The sets and costumes are perfect and not overdone.
If you see nothing else on Broadway, this year, or ever, by all means go see "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
And right about now my attitude is that they can all go fuck themselves, the lying sacks of self-serving shit.
On a lighter note, I'm going to see "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center tonight. Here is a clip of Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza singing "Some Enchanted Evening" which is one of my earliest recollections of b&w television. This is from the days when these broadcasts of scenes from Broadway shows and operas were considered so culturally important that they were simulcast on all of the television networks, and paid for by one sponsor, to an estimated audience of over 80,000,000.
Monday, June 22, 2009
But if anything, I am a child of the 70's. The disco era. I came out of the closet when I came out of the Navy. And I immediately started hitting places in Philadelphia with names like Oz, Allegro and The Steps, and places in New York like Barefoot Boy and Uncle Charley's.
This was pre-Studio 54.
Then I moved to Seattle. And in those days (by now it was 1976) if you wanted to dance in Seattle you either went to Shelley's Leg or the Boren Street Disco.
I went to both. I made a lot of dance friends. We had a great time. We loved Grace Jones and Sylvester and ABBA. But the Queen of Disco was her Majesty, Donna Sommers.
And for our money, this was the song that defined her and defined the era.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
1. Immediately cease making donations to the DNC.
2. Cultivate local gay and gay friendly politicians by donating heavily to them, instead.
It is CLEAR to all but the blind that the DNC regards the LGBT communities as nothing more than minor annoyances with major bank accounts.
The DNC has absolutely no intention of giving us what it is that we seek, full and equal rights under the law. Not now. Not then. Not ever. And why should they?
If we got what we wanted, we would have no further use for them and would, possibly, stop donating to them anyway. It is in the best interests of the Democatric National Committee to insure that we remain disgruntled enough to think that we have no choice but to back them, no matter how badly they treat us.
In psychobabble this is called "an abusive relationship." We, my friends, are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic Party. Oh, sure, we get beat up in the back alley by the Republican thugs, but our good friends the Democrats are all over us inside the bars, like a cheap NY hustler, smooching up to us and telling us that they can't live without us, until we get them home with us for an evening of raw, hot sex. THEN they get viscious, beat the crap out of us, take our wallets and leave us for dead.
And, fools that we are, a week later we're out there once again, looking for them in all the bars all over town ... thinking to ourselves that maybe "this time it will be different."
Yeah. Well, take it from an alcoholic who thought that every time he drank it would be different ... it's never different. Until we fight back.
I know abusive relationships. I've had 'em. With guys. With booze. With politicians.
What really works with an abuser is to knock the cocksucker flat on his ass.
It's time for the LGBT communities to knock the DNC flat on its ass.
Monday, June 15, 2009
But I did want to pass along my growing annoyance and discontent with the current administration. Watch this:
Last week, the Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court IN FAVOR of keeping DOMA ... and in its brief, used the old incest/child-molestation stereotype.
It is clear that this administration has gone from gay friendly to gay hostile... on the assumption that we will always be there for them, like a lover in an abusive relationship.
And trust me, I know exactly what it's like to be in an abusive relationship. I was in one for 15 years, until I got sober.
Maybe it's time for the LGBT communities to get sober and to wake up to the fact that politicians do NOTHING without either a) being bought or b) being publicly humiliated.
I am planning on showing up for the March on Washington in October. I urge every other LGBT person to do the same.
Marches didn't necessarily end the war in Viet Nam ... but they sure made the evening news -- night after night after night.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I remember being asked, in college at an open-forum Psych class where I was one of the "star-performers" that night, when, exactly, I had "decided to be gay."
I was astonished that anyone would even think that there was some element of choice involved. There was never a moments doubt, from age six on.
Now, many decades later, I know why that question was asked. I also know, now, why it's so important for so many people to believe that I chose.
Because if I didn't, then their whole belief system comes crashing down around their ears. It means that God... their God... doesn't make mistakes, and doesn't make garbage, either.
Worse, if I didn't choose... and they did... then it means that there is a lot of suppressed anger in a lot of people, because they chose badly, and they know it.
Personally speaking, I believe that so many people are angry about this because a.) their God doesn't make mistakes and they know it and b.) they chose wrong, and they know it.
It's enough to piss off the Good Humor man. And Fred Phelps. And Maggie Gallagher.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
My dad never talks about it, but he was a tail gunner aboard an aviation fuel refueling ship in the South Pacific during the war. It was the kind of ship that Kamikaze's loved to dive-bomb. Dad got a lot of practice shooting Kamikaze's out of the sky.
His dad, my grandfather, was in the Navy in the 1920's. Pop-pop was stationed aboard a battlewagon, the USS Delaware. He was a Boilerman. But his real job was to be the coxswain for the Navy's championship rowing team. He led the Navy team to something like 4 victories. The Navy was heartbroken when Pop-pop bailed out at the end of his second enlistment in 1927.
I was born under a water sign, Cancer. I came from generations of Navy men. It was inevitable, I guess, that I would go to sea.
I never stroked a championship team, nor did I blast Jap Zeros out of the puffy-clouded South Pacific sky. But I did serve my country, honorably, from 1968 to 1972. I was an aviation electronics technician. I spent most of my enlistment ashore, in boot camp, electronics schools and, for a two year stretch, attached to the Flight Test Division of the Naval Air Test Center located in Lexington Park, Maryland.
I love working there. The best and the brightest of both officers and enlisted members of the services were sent to the NATC. Our test pilots all had "the right stuff." Our enlisted personnel were either on their way to becoming officers or else they had turned down commissions due to their feelings about the Viet Nam war.
Eventually, though, the time came for sea duty, and I was sent to Lakehurst, New Jersey, were I was assigned to HC-2, The Fleet Angels, a Sea-Air Rescue Helicopter Squadron. After six months of non-descript duty aboard the base I was re-assigned to a detachment leaving for six months of sea duty aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, CVA-42.
Rosie was a WWII relic. Rather like dad. She wasn't as fast as the newer nukes. She was smaller than most of the newer carriers. But she was feisty. And she was comfy. She had a "lived-in" look and feel that you couldn't find aboard newer ships. If you look real close at the arresting gear, my bunk was under the the #3 arresting wire. You have no idea how loud a 40,000 pound jet aircraft slamming into the deck at 150 miles per hour is, when it's just six inches above your face.
Rosie had character. I like ships with character.
I don't expect anyone to ever thank me for my duty. It was a great time in my life. I met some great guys, got drunk a lot, and learned how to play well with others.
And do you know that, to this day, I still fold my socks and underwear exactly the way I was taught to do it in bootcamp?
Catholic school was good training for the Navy. But the Navy had much cuter guys.
UPDATE: California Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8. Existing same-sex marriages to stand.
Tell me again why I should be grateful to this country for all it does for me?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s about being forced to stay in the closet if you’d like to serve your country.
One dirty little (and undiscussed) secret underlying the policy is our national wish that all queers, lesbos and other disgusting misfits would also stay in the closet… out of sight and out of mind.
But in the military, it’s not merely about pandering to the homophobic panic of redneck teenagers who form the backbone of our fighting forces.
DADT is really about something that never gets discussed, even at the highest levels of power within the forces, because it’s too explosive a subject for even them to handle.
It’s about Sparta.
No, I’m not kidding.
The Spartans deliberately set out to create an army of lovers, the theory being that a soldier would be far more willing to die for his country if he was also to die defending the life of his soul-mate. It was terrific military policy, to create an army that was at the very least bisexual. You can see how well it worked by looking at the battle of Thermopylae – when a measly 300 Spartans (and a thousand or so other Greeks - who never get mentioned) held off the entire Persian Army of Xerxes for quite a long time, comparatively speaking. The Spartans went down… as it were… defending the lifeless body of their King, Leonidas, who, according to all reports, was quite a hunk of Greek manhood.
Can you imagine what it would be like if we had a national security policy enforced by a military composed of millions of happily queer couples?
Can you imagine what it would be like if we had a hunk of burning Greek love as a Commander in Chief?
Monday, May 18, 2009
I drove down to Dover, Delaware on Saturday to spend some "quality time" with my father and step-mom.
All families are complicated, each in their own unique and often horrifying way. Mine is no exception.
My birth mom and my dad were divorced while I was still gestating in the womb. Throughout my childhood my mother, a bitter young woman with a severe drinking problem, used me as a pawn in her relations with her ex husband, her mother and anyone else who got in her way. I know that, and I forgive her for that. It ruined me in many ways, but there's no going back and undoing it. I am nearly incapable of having trusting intimate relations with sexually desirable people as a direct result of that childhood. When push comes to shove, I can't let anyone in... and more importantly, I can't let myself out.
But still, I try.
Eventually I did meet my shadow family consisting of my dad, my stepmom whom I love dearly and my should-have-been siblings, my sister and our younger brother. Over the years we have gotten closer and more loving.
As my sobriety has ripened, I have learned more and more about the important things in life, such as family and friends.
Dad has started having more and more hospital episodes over the last couple of years. This year my siblings had to fly down to Ft. Myers in Florida to literally rescue the folks and drive them home because dad was physically incapable of doing it.
Mom is no help. She never bothered to get a driver's license and, recently, her memory has started to go. She really needs to be watched at all times now. This will only get worse. In fact, both of them are only going to get worse, and to be honest, it will be in very short order.
After they came home from Florida my sister suggested that each of us go to Dover to spend some quality time with them. I knew what that meant. It meant my sister suspects that the end is near for one or both of them and now would be a good time to show them that they are still loved and that they are still a relevant part of their children's lives. I know, from personal childhood experience, what it means to feel like a fifth wheel in life.
I prayed all week about it. I asked God to take charge of the visit on Saturday and to help me keep my mouth zippered shut, to smile, to be loving and considerate and compassionate, to not have any agendas, and to be of service however I could.
Well, God held up His end of the bargain. I sailed through the day, even though were trying times at the drug store and supermarket. I showered them with affection, verbally and physically, whenever the opportunity arose.
Maybe I am learning about letting people in a little bit. Or even better, maybe I'm learning how to let myself out.
But I do know that I'm going to cry like a baby if... when anything happens to either of them.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
What Would Jesus Drink (on a steamy LA day)? A vente iced latte, of course, before heading off to a hard day of saving souls.
And you can tell it's Hollywood because out there even the Starbuck's have kleig lights in the windows.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Joe Jervis over at Joe.My.God does a much better job eviscerating Giuliani over his latest, shameful, conduct than I ever could.
Rudy Giuliani, "America's Mayor", is a totally disgusting, opportunistic, political pig.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I'm grateful that Keith Olbermann is on the air -- and isn't afraid to take on wingnuts like her. Last night he took on three. For an appetizer he devoured Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), who is just plain batty. Then, for an entree, he chomped into Rupert Murdoch. Finally, for dessert, he lacerated Ms. Foxx (at 2:43).
Keep in mind, the legislation passed in the House. A Senate version has already been introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). The speed at which things are changing in this country can be breathtaking at times -- which makes the wingnuts even wingnuttier than usual.
I thank my Higher Power, whom I call God, for having kept me alive long enough to see a day when things seem to be really changing for me and people like me.
Here's Keith's "Worst Person in the World" from last night (04/29/09).
Monday, April 27, 2009
In true Noo Yawk style, the inhabitants of the greatest city on the face of the earth (except, of course, for wherever you come from - or live in now - or lived in sometime and still have a soft spot for) stampede into the great park at the center of that city, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux over 150 years ago - in order to divest themselves of as much clothing as is decently possible and to cool off, play, read, pitch some woo and relax amidst the greenery therein.
Here are some shots from the weekend - most taken in and around the Sheep Meadow of fabled Central Park (click on the photos to embiggen them):
And, of course, the twinks were out in force:
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Shep's kind of cute and if I were still drinking I might hit on him. But I'm not. However, I do agree with him. The United States does not f*cking torture.
Look, I was born at night, but it wasn't last night. I know the world is a nasty piece of business and we need to be on our guard all the time and sometimes we might have to resort to some pretty nasty tactics in order to preserve, protect and defend our national interests.
But we do not f*cking torture.
I cannot wrap my brain around the idea of us having a high-handed attitude of righteousness as we lovingly shove human rights and democracy down other people's throats (whether or not they want it) on the one hand, as we "faux drown" terrorists in extraterritorial hellholes created specifically for the purpose of being beyond our laws and Constitution, on the other.
We do not f*cking torture. If we do f*cking torture we can give up all pretense of being what we claim to be. If we do f*cking torture then we are no better than the zealous religious idiots who flew their planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania.
We may have lost the most recent battles for our national soul, also known as "The Bush Years", but it is not too late to win the war for it.
We all know how far up the chain of command that nonsense went (all the way). We all know that Condi and Dick and Rummy and Georgie-Porgie signed off on it. We all know that for 8 years the White House suffered from a dual-diagnosis of stupidity and eagerness.
Prolonging our national nightmare by revisiting these matters in Congress, when there are far more important and loftier things we need to be doing, would be a further waste of our national wealth and psyche.
I think that it is time to move forward and upward, out of the muck and into the light.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Her name will, most likely, mean little to you unless you're a real afficianado of the Broadway stage. Tharon was a lighting designer, which is a little like saying that Picasso was a painter. Both are true but there's a lot more that could, and should, be said about the subjects.
Tharon lit the shows of my youth. Not incidentally, she also lit the shows of Stephen Sondheim. She lit "Follies." She also lit "A Chorus Line." And "Dreamgirls." She won Tonys for all of those. She also designed the lighting for "Applause", "A Little Night Music", "Pacific Overtures", "The Act", "Ballroom" and "42nd Street (original stage production - 1981)". I'm here to tell you, this woman could paint a stage in light. And she painted a lot of them.
She was an innovator. "A Chorus Line" was the first B'way show to use a computer to activate the cues. It was considered radical at the time. She used computerized lighting more and more as the years went by. Anyone who saw the original production of "Dreamgirls" will instantly recall the 4 giant, castered lighting towers that whirled and spun around the stage during the show -- uncredited chorus members who danced from beginning to end -- the entire show being (mostly) lit by them in computer-controlled, lightning-fast changes that dazzled the audiences of the time as much as Jennifer Holliday's rafter-rattling rendition of "And I am Telling You (I am not going)".
Tharon Musser did that. And today, 27 years later, the hairs on the back of my head still stand up as I recall that knock-dead evening of theater. Thank you, Tharon, for being a part of it.
Tharon is survived by her life partner, Marilyn Rennagel, who is also a lighting designer.