Monday, November 21, 2011

The Washington Clown Show

Oh, hai.  I've been busy.  I had foot surgery (on both feet, cause I'm a f*ckin' wimp and if I did one and it hurt too much I wouldn't have done the other -- so shut the eff up about it) and was home recuperating from it for a month and a half and couldn't be bothered.

But I'm back and some things have happened in the meantime that have really gotten my attention and knickers in a twist.

The first was Occupy Wall Street.  These are a bunch of frustrated folks without a clear message.  Personally, I think they should rally behind this message:

Yes, the rich are richer and poor poorer.  We all know that.  But the problem isn't unequal distribution of wealth.  The *real* problem is unequal distribution of tax effects.  The rich pay nearly next to nothing in taxes in terms of the IMPACT that tax burden has on them, as a class.  Unlike the poor, who take a real body-slam, taxation-wise, compared to the rich.

We need to even out the effect of taxes on the classes so that if a poor person has to sacrifice the equivalent value of a loaf of bread to the tax man, then a rich SOB should suffer an equivalent burden, i.e., they should sacrifice the equivalent value of owning a 4-star restaurant.  In Manhattan.  Or Beverly Hills.

The second thing has been watching the spectacle of the Republican Circus-Clown Volkswagen as it disgorged it's content on national tv, seemingly every 3 days for the past 2 months.

If I hear the message clearly (and I think I do), it is this:

The Republican Party policy is:  that we should live in an abortion and gay-free America, where everyone who earns less than $1,000,000 per year must marry and endlessly procreate for the purpose of providing illiterate, underpaid workers and cannon fodder who will die, in the harness or in the trenches, before the age of 50, thus saving the rich from having to keep them in their old age.

Have I misread that?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The "Real" America

I grew up in the 50's, believing in the American Dream of working hard and getting some stuff to show for it and eventually retiring on a pension and social security.

Well, so much for that.

Now I believe:

That both political wings of the same old party that we vote for have edged further and further to the right since I was a child.

That the Republican Party is against education, unless it's to educate their own offspring to handle the wealth that they will inherit.  That the Republican Party is, in fact, against educating the middle and lower classes, in order that they will have legions of underpaid, mindless drones to work in their factories and on their farms. 

That this is the Republican Dream:  to have all the money and to share it with no one.  To keep what's theirs and what's yours too.

This is not the American Dream.  Republicans do not believe in the same America that I believe in.  Republicans do not believe in the America that my dad and his brother and countless other dads and brothers fought for in countless wars.

The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not being fought to fight the forces of evil afoot in the world.  They are being fought to further enrich the already Republican rich.

This is America now.  America is a place where a handful of people have it all.  And that same handful people has every intention to keep it all.  And they will do whatever needs to be done in order for that to happen.

I can't believe that it's taken me 63 years to wake up and to see America for what it really is, a semi-noble experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong.

I am no longer buying the bullshit.  Are you still buying the bullshit?

Monday, August 01, 2011

My Despair

I pissed away a small fortune back in the 90's.  That's on me for being a drunk and believing a writer.  But one thing I've done for my entire life, notwithstanding a few sabbaticals along the way, was to work.  Since the week I graduated from high school, I've worked.  Hard.

I grew up believing, because this what I was told, that in America, if you're a team player, and you work, you will get a protective covering when you retire, in the form of Social Security and Medicare.

I turned 62 last year and started "doing the math".  The Social Security Administration started sending me yearly statements showing me "how much" I'd get if I retired at 62, 66 1/2 and 70 1/2.  Needless to say, the big payday for me would come when I was 70.  So I started mentally adjusting myself to the probability that I'd work until then.

But now, who knows what Congress has just given away to the far right meatheads who still fantasize that rich people create jobs.  And what will be my new "plan B" according to them?  Work until I'm 75?  80?  Dead?

I'm not feeling the love from D.C. these days.

Maybe my recurring nightmare of living in a beat-up, 1966, all aluminum Airstream trailer, somewhere in the high desert 80 miles east of L.A., where atomically mutated ants come visiting at night, and you have to shake the scorpions out of your boots every morning, will come true.

It may not be much, but at least it'll be mine!

Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

And thanks, Mom, for naming me after that bastard.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


How can you tell if someone is expressing interest in you?  No, seriously, I mean it.  How can you tell?

Being gay and of a "certain age" means having grown up without the benefit of acquiring the usual social skills that heteronormative kids get when they start dating in high school.  While they were busy doing that, I was busy hiding in my bedroom waiting to be rescued.

Now, years later and without the benefit of drugs or alcohol, I find myself trying to decipher the words and body language of somebody I like.  A lot.  Who is cute.  And smart.  And an ex-actor like me.  Yesterday, for example, he asked me what I was "doing for Easter."  I looked at him blankly and said, "nothing."  He then proceeded to tell me that he was going to a gay-friendly church downtown and how inclusive the place was and how comfortable he felt there, etc.  I nodded and thought, "well, how nice for you -- Catholicism caused me nothing but self-hatred and guilt.  But by all means go and enjoy!  Who am I to criticize."

I thought, later, "You big dope.  He was practically THROWING an invitation your way."  I think.  I'm not sure.  Boy, wrap up some obliqueness with some low self-esteem, and you'll wind up like me -- clueless.

If any of the regulars are out there, I'd appreciate some advice.


Monday, March 28, 2011


That word, that FEELING, is probably the cause of more addictive behavior than just about any other word or feeling there is.

I remember my childhood filled with shame. I was ashamed about the drunkeness in my family. I was ashamed that I often had to stand in front of my drunken grandmother on the sidewalk to shield her from public view while she relieved herself... her urine stream running out to the curb between my little legs.

I was ashamed the first time I saw my 1st grade school bus driver. His name was Frank and I knew, the moment I laid eyes on him, that wanted to be alone with him. And I felt shame about that and KNEW I could never share that shameful thing with anyone else. Ever. I remember the feeling of shame that arose from desiring boys, instead of girls.

I remember the shame I felt at being a late bloomer, puberty-wise. I remember the feelings of inadequacy that I’m quite sure, now, that every boy must feel in the showers after gym class.

I remember the shame of not being able to perfectly, and intuitively, understand Algebra. Because of that, I felt inadequte, inferior, “less than.” I cut school for nearly a month because of that shame. Until I got caught. And I felt shame over that, too.

I remember the feelings of guilt and shame that I was going to be consigned to the eternal fires of hell.


I drank over all that shame. I drank over my shameful feelings.

And yet, I had absolutely *nothing* to be ashamed of. I was absolutely perfect, just the way I was.

Religion, however, had another idea.

Which is why, today, I believe in God, but I don’t believe in religion. Not any of them. And I’m not ashamed of that.

Friday, January 07, 2011

I Dated

I need to put it out there that I went out on a date last week.  It was the first "real" date I think I've ever been on.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's didn't provide a lot of relationship-testing dating opportunities for a gay kid from the suburbs of Wilmington, Delaware.  I couldn't exactly ask the captain of the football team to go to the prom with me.  So I didn't go to my prom. 

"Jack" is a guy I met a year or so ago at a 12-Step meeting I sometimes attend on Saturday nights over near the Willow Grove naval air station in Pennsylvania.  He's fun and kooky -- and fairly new in recovery (more than a year, but less than 2).  I hadn't seen him in many months when he resurfaced at the meeting about 2 months ago.  He asked me if I'd be willing to help him with one of the Steps, to which I happily agreed.  We never quite got it together to do the step work but he called me the week before Christmas and wondered if I'd go out to dinner and a movie with him.  I didn't think anything about it, other than as an "activity" a couple of guys in recovery could do together.

But I talked about it, with my sponsor and with some friends and the feedback was all the same... that this was a "date."

As dates go, it was catastrophic.  The service was terrible at the restaurant.  The food practically inedible (Thai/Malay).  The movie he picked, one of the "Fokker" flicks, was gawd-awful and his movie etiquette was abysmal (he yapped and commented throughout, much to the chagrin of me and everyone around us.).

But it *was* fun.  And I did have a good time.  And I do like him.  Even if he wants to live in half a dozen cities and is converting to Judaism (whatever for?  didn't he get enough guilt in his Catholic childhood?).

I went out on a date.  With a guy. What next?  A goodnight kiss? Cue Katy Perry!

Whodda thunk it?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

And goodbye, American Exceptionalism.  Hello, American decline.

And if there is blame to dole out for this, let it be spread, equally, among the left and right.  But it should all be concentrated on one institution, the Congress, which perpetually runs for re-election rather than running the country.

Trillions of dollars which *should* have been spent on bettering ourselves, were spent trying to shove our brand of world-view down the throats of other nations.  Other trillions were spent enriching people who needed no further enriching, i.e., the already obscenely rich.

We're sliding.  Fast.  China and India are rising.  Equally fast.

What I find really sad is that the British Empire lasted twice as long as ours will have lasted.