Friday, April 29, 2005

Melody of Love

For reasons unknown, some of my fave bloggers are writing about music these days, and so, not one to drop my oar, I offer the following which has been simmering within me since the colder months.

All last winter, at the Club Fort Lauderdale, they played the same four songs endlessly and repeatedly and loudly. At first, I was glad for the fact that these songs had replaced J Lo reminding us that she's just Jenny from the Block which was the previous mantra that filled those halls. It was annoying because, in fact, none of those present were just Jenny from the block, although on occasion, with the right piece in one's hand, the lyric "I used to have a little now I got a lot" did seem to make some sense.

The Four Inevitables, as I referred to them in my unheeded complaints to the manager, were

"Beautiful Soul" by Jesse McCartney, which contains the words "I don't want another pretty face". Those of us who sang along while sauntering or posing were outright liars.

"True" by Ryan Cabrera, which contains the words "I've waited all my life to be with you". Another terrific lie. Most of us in that place would wait longer for an ATM to spit out twenty bucks than we would for the attentions of the next man to come around the corner.

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day, featuring the constant phrase "I walk alone". This choice was only partially absurd. I did occasionally walk alone, usually while exiting someone's room and wiping my hands along the walls on my way to the showers. That moment, however, did not capture the existential yearning intended by the Green Day.

"I'm With You" by Avril LaVigne. Finally a tolerable anthem for many of those evenings. Ms. LaVigne commences with the words "It's a damn cold night" which was certainly true of Fort Lauderdale during its last unusually frigid high season, and when she wails "Take me by the hand...I don't know who you are but I'm with you", well there just wasn't a dry dick in the place.

I once read that "Chocolate Cake" by Crowded House was first a hit in the bath houses of Australia, and that the Finn brothers took this as a fine compliment. I wonder if Captain and Tennille would have felt the same if they had heard me whistling "Do that to me one more time" while walking the halls of the Sloane House YMCA many years ago. I liked the fact that there was no music piped into the halls of that wonderful place. Some guys, using a shoe to prop open the door, indicating an interest in the reception of guests, had radios that might catch your ear as you passed, but not in the agressive way that the speakers mounted overhead in most bath houses deliver divas where you just don't want them.

Next career: traveling bath house music consultant. So easy to pack. Won't even need the overhead bin.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


As we were getting into bed last night, C. said, "Do you realize that I have spent the majority of my life with you?"

"No. I hadn't really thought of that but I guess it's true, isn't it?" After a few seconds, I added, "Are you happy?"

Without hesitation, with eyes closed and forehead scrunched against my shoulder, he smiled and vigorously nodded yes.

"Well I've spent the majority of my life with you too", I announced.

"No you haven't", he murmured, "Unless you've been lieing about your age."

"Sweet, if I were going to lie about my age, I certainly wouldn't have been padding it all these years, would I? I'm simply discounting and subtracting those years of my early childhood in which I was obsessed with and desired only sapphires, leopard skin and Troy Donahue. I think it's only fair to let me bundle up and sequester those years in the way that a freed prisoner might sidestep his time of incarceration while making cocktail chat, or an ex-addict might set-aside his pre-clean years or the way someone coming out of a coma might box up the years of oblivion and refer to them as a separate and distinct life. And incidentally, you would think that by now someone would have bought me at least a small sapphire, but no, I remain unadorned, like the last unpurchased Christmas tree on the street corner, late on the 24th, destined for blinglessnessdom."

It took me three tries to get that last word out correctly. Put the blame on the meds I am taking for the pain of my recent back injury (see below). C. missed the whole of my ramble for he had fallen asleep within seconds of closing his eyes. This is his way, and mine as well, for more than twenty years. At various times in the course of the night we will twist and turn, always making sure that some parts of our bodies are touching.

I have lost almost all the jewelry I have ever owned.

I am allergic to cats.

There is definitely no room for Troy in this bed.

"I'm happy too", I whispered into the top of his head.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Plenary Indulgence

By way of follow up to my mention of the indulgence to be gained by correctly receiving Ratzie's Urbe et Orbe blessing, I offer the following interchange with a Monsignor who knows all this stuff. He once taught me the words to Wallis Simpson's favorite hymn entitled "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?"

What kind of indulgence does one get for receiving the first U et O
blessing of a new Pope?

Is it valid via CNN, or does one have to have gotten it through Fox News?

Seriously, what's the indulgence attached to it? Do you have to hear it
live? Via TV OK? Aside from having to be disposed to the indulgence,
what are the requisite prayers that must also be said in order to make
it work?

Dear ____________,

It is plenary -- and even over the radio or TV. However, one has to be in a
state of grace, and free of "any attachment" at that current instant to
venial sin. Since I think neither of us can claim the "any attachment"
part, any indulgence we received from receiving the blessing would be
"partial," rather than plenary, and God would deliver, based upon our good
will. So there!

Benedict XVI

There won't be much of a honeymoon. The faithful have already been forced into bed with this guy for decades, and it hasn't been fun. There's something in his smile that betrays his relishment of the role of Grand Inquisitor. He tried to twist that smile into something conveying Benevolent Pastor as he presented himself on the balcony for the Urbe et Orbe blessing (which, big time sinners take note, is good for a whooping big indulgence). Think formulaic Hollywood: the seemingly nice man smiles upon his victim revealing the bloodied fangs of a vampire. My body hair stood up as I received this blessing. It was cold and unGodly.

I hear that he has said quite plainly that he will not mind the shrinkage of the Roman Catholic Church due to conservative adherence to doctrine. OK, so he's just another stubborn old man who has stopped trusting the unfettered breezes of the Holy Spirit for guidance, preferring to rail against the targets of the old school: gays and women. He stands with that group in "The Poseidon Adventure" that did not go with Shelley Winters. They said, "Nope. We're going to stay right here in the ballroom. Better to dig in our heels rather than to start scampering about." We all know what happened to them.

His choice of name is telling. While casting back to a time and place in which he would feel comfortable, he logically discarded John, Paul and the two John Pauls. But some may wonder why he sidestepped the last century's hugest Germanophile, Pius XII. Maybe it is because of Pius's own difficulties with the Nazis, or because Ratzinger knows that when John XXIII became Pope, the first thing he found on his desk was Pius's plan to call for a Vatican Council, but I suspect the real reason has more to do with Pius's relationship with Cardinal Spellman. There's not much in Benedict XV that stirs the modern heart, but by golly, Ratzinger could place a dollar on the fact that he was a damn fine specimen of an asexual priest.

He's 78. His dictates will be largely ignored, and he is probably not the last nail in the coffin of Roman Catholicism.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Spectator Pumps and Sling Backs of Mrs. Noreen Hamilton of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

DSC00528, originally uploaded by farmboyz.

Not sure why I painted this. We looked at her condo a few years ago when we were looking for a Fort Lauderdale place. She greeted us and the agent in a floor length aquamarine caftan. She was tiny and quite elderly and full of laughter.She had placed a copy of a high end shelter mag by the door. The condo was featured on the cover. She was the widow of an FBI honcho who had worked with J. Edgar. He had taken care of her. Every cabinet she opened contained bottles. She offered us a drink (10:30AM) and even financing as I snapped pictures. When she led me into the depths of her walk-in, I could sense pride in her arrangement of footwear. We didn't buy the place. Should have. She planned to move to a building nearer the Galleria. Must look her up.I think she'd like this.

Monday, April 04, 2005


At the advice of a blogger, we attend this bi-weekly event at the Westside Tavern last Friday night, and we are pleased with what we find. Upon arrival, we pass through a laconic straight crowd draped about the main floor. Dante, or our instinct, guides us past these creatures to a sign that commands "LOUNGE". We make the descent into a cellar where an attentive bartender efficiently fuels a thick mob of men who are mostly taller than us. I shout over the noise to C. that they must be lacing the drinks with calcium. An intelligent DJ has blessedly subtracted any hint of a vocal line from his mix, charging the air with that sort of frisson one feels just before a lightening strike. The men here, with few exceptions, are very white, and all rather butch and built. (Margaret Butch-White?) Their coloration is neither a positive nor a negative. It is simply worth noting, in a city that usually contains more variety. Most everyone has hair that has been allowed to follow the natural contours of the face, like winter rye in a fallow place. No geometric cuts that seem to be lifted from A Pattern Language. And, unlike in other neighborhoods, no one is smoking. Also unlike in other neighborhoods, these men appear to have left their genitals at home, or perhaps to have placed them in some sort of timed-release security box under their vigilantly zippered jeans. There's not a dick to be seen, nor groping nor pawing nor squeezing of the crotch. C. and I, like those shipwrecked boys in Lord of the Flies have almost forgotten this sort of civilized behavior. We are more accustomed to venues in which the objective is to make Origami folds in jeans worn entirely at the ankles. We behave, and acquire a second drink. These men appear to be assessing each other, perhaps taking notes that might be played out over laundry in weeks to come, as in, "Didn't I see you at Snaxx in a Def Leppard tee shirt?". C. remarks that they are the exact same men who may be seen at Siberia. Very Edith Wharton, but a pleasant spectacle, and one which we will return to perhaps with our single, out-of-town, hairy, butch, built, white and taller friends, should we ever acquire any.