Sunday, March 30, 2008
Smart and Pretty
Not a moment too soon. My 1999 Toyota RAV4 LX is showing symptoms of mysterious distress. When I turn it on for its first excursion of the day, it coughs up a puff of white smoke from the exhaust pipe. This only lasts a second or two and is not repeated in the course of the day. (I see no need to bring it to a repair shop. Afterall, my Vatican-based sense of mechanics tells me that white smoke is better than black smoke.) Parked as it is with an ocean view after years of triangulating to Montreal, New York and Provincetown, it can hardly be blamed for not wanting to move. This car has been entirely reliable but it's time to hand it off to some young-tuff who will find the latch to the hood and be not afraid to replace its internal organs as they fail with parts scavenged from junk yards. It has given me 160,000 miles. He'll easily get another 100,000 out of it.
No one ever called my RAV4 beautiful, but it has four-wheel drive that laughs at new snow, and the kind of alert brakes that have saved me thousands of dollars and aggravation from fender-benders averted in city traffic. Retractable sunroof and seats of pure leathuh. Best mileage of all the SUVs.
I was reading about last week's auto show in Manhattan. The freshly "redesigned" Nissan Maxima was unveiled.
Sorry. That's not a design. That's a non-design. A blob typical of most cars these days. I don't understand why people accept the fact that new cars are mostly indistinguishable, one from the other. Day was when you could tell a Ford from a Chevie, and you could align yourself with one particular make that appealed to you. Day was when the annual unveiling of new models was thrilling.
For instance, here is the most beautiful car ever built, the 1964 Buick Riviera in "marlin blue".
Here's a 1958 Riviera. Not at all bad. Each part invites your caress, and you can see how greatly the design evolved over a few years.
Here's Buick's "concept" for future Rivieras. Eh. They would build this in China where the Riviera is now selling in greater numbers than in the USA.
The luxury of an urban landscape graced with elegant older cars is just one more reason why I am packed and ready to swim over to Havana once it opens up. Meanwhile, this is how I've specified my new Smart Car.
It looks like a running shoe. And it's not much larger.
Labels: smartcar smartfortwo smartusa
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Who among us does not wonder what his own modest and swiftly evaporated legacy will be? I suspect folks will recall me as "sybaritic" rather than say "He bargained well with time". Some will say "He was lucky." Others, "No. He worked." So be it. I am of my nature found. No thought of post-tumbling remembrance will shake me from this perch. Like Simeon the Stylite, I can see you all quite clearly from up here and through the quiet tangle. I know you better for it. I inspect your traffic, your upsets and your passions. In absence, they begin to make sense to me.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Vindication of Mrs. Niven and Sally Kern
On the narrow sill between the blinds and the pane is a dusty display of quartz crystals and other arcania. Mrs. Niven, like most other fortune tellers, seems to believe in the power of quartz to effect introspective wisdom, and I am prone to make fun of this, setting aside my own life-long love of quartz and all other naturally occurring crystals. (I can gaze contentedly at a chunk of raw amethyst for hours. A Swarovski crystal chandelier? Eh. Not so much.)
Today, I read this fascinating installment in Olivia Judson’s series about mutation. It seems that some quartz contain bacteria that live on sunlight alone. They are not on the crystal, but in it. I now wonder if, as a child, when I parted with my life-savings of $1.65 to purchase a quartz crystal at a gift shop on the Vermont/Canada border (I still have it), I was responding to something alive and salubrious. Holding that crystal in the palm of my hand always feels good in a puzzling way. Sometimes I go to it, much as I sometimes seek out blueberries or walnuts or salmon or oatmeal or chocolate or red wine, all of which contain things that I instinctively know to be good for me.
The focus of the article is really not on the business of magic but is on the process of beneficial or deleterious mutation in which some unexpected genetic alterations may be helpful or harmful to the future of a species. A helpful mutation allows its owner to live longer and reproduce more often. A harmful mutation does the opposite.
I suddenly realized that the dim-witted Sally Kern is absolutely right about something: allowing the homosexual agenda to thrive will help to destroy the family structure as we know it today. If my 10% of the population is kept happily rolling about in back rooms rather than marrying in the light of day and raising children, I am an unsuccessful, albeit recurring, mutation. I am good for the species in that I provide Broadway lyrics and your stylish hair but I have no progeny. If C and I had been parents for the past twenty-four years, we certainly wouldn’t have produced a Von Trapp of homosexual tykes, but we would have produced an enlightened set of humans who would now be teaching there own children how to love. Even allowing me to teach in your grade schools and featuring me in the books that kids read, would produce a changed generation, one that does not fear what Sally fears. One that does not hate what Sally hates. One that does not beat up the boy with the blue eye shadow on the school bus. One in which, as Olivia Judson describes, there are spiders that are yellow when they are on a yellow flower and pink when they are on a pink flower.
Ah, but now, as Professor Marvel once said to Dorothy, “The crystal has gone dark”, and I am off to the beach.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Did I hear this correctly
In bed and deeply into The Letters of Noel Coward, I am informed by the television that Puerto Rico will deliver fifty delegates in a Democrats' primary, and that, given how close the race is, those fifty will be extraordinarily decisive. And yet, the good folks of Puerto Rico will not be voting in the general election.
Surely I am not alone in finding this absurd.
The two party system ought to be dismantled, and, it's rather time for Puerto Rico to desire and be granted statehood.
There. Look at me being political. That was quite exhausting and the closest I'll get to a political rant/tirade.
Monday, March 24, 2008
The Queens English
Check out (via your click) the handmade sign in the center of this shop window in Jackson Heights. I doubt its creator was an English major, but he has admirably bothered with the inclusion of commas, a colon and some apostrophes.
Let’s consider his use of apostrophes after CD and DVD. I am often tempted to use them likewise. They are probably not necessary. Wouldn’t an upper case CD followed by a lower case s do the trick? In this case, the apostrophe does not denote possession (That CD’s cover is ugly.) or contraction (The CD’s almost obsolete.). It just means that they have more than one of them inside the door. And yet, there is something that draws me to using apostrophes after abbreviations like these. It seems to add a sprightly attractive note to the copy, the purpose of which is to grab my attention and to build desire.
Last night, while writing a recalled conversation I had at Slammer last Friday, I came to the part where a stranger whispered something to me while indicating a passerby. I wrote That guy is a buffet of STD’s. I corrected it to STDs, but it just didn’t look right, so I changed it back, and back and forth a few times. I felt anxiety. I still do. I can’t tell the story until I figure out the right and wrong of this. Lazy, I avoid sentences whose structures are taxing, rather than simply research the governing rules. (Why have I totally forgotten how punctuation works in the vicinity of direct quotation marks? More anxiety. This one too important not to research. It’s like the time I was leading the rosary at a wake, when suddenly, I forgot the words to the “Hail Mary”, a prayer that every Catholic knows by heart from early childhood. Clear out of my head those words went! After a few seconds of total panic, I faked a cough and asked one of the ever-ready pious ladies to take over for me while I went to get water. They may have assumed I was overcome with sorrow for the deceased, someone I had never met. After that, I pasted the text of that prayer, and of the "Our Father", into the cover of my ritual book.)
In any case, if you return to the photo, I’m quite certain that you’ll agree with me about the text on the orange CD in the upper right corner of the vitrine. Star Band’s? I don’t think so, unless Star Band owns El Grupo Ideal.
These and other wonders are to be seen in Jackson Heights, in Queens. (Queen's, as in the Borough of Queens? Or maybe Queens' in reference to the number who live there? Oh dear.)
PS: Here's the rule, although, as the writer notes, some editors and teachers disagree.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Every time a cloud hides the sun, I look up from the sand beneath my feet and wonder again about the real Jesus, what had happened to him, and what had happened to me as an alter-Christus, now relaxed and threading my way through the careless frolicking families enjoying a day off without honoring its provider. The little children shrieking their way into the waves have no fear of God, and their watchful parents, standing with arms folded over large and exposed bellies, have greater fear of sharks than of heaven. The elderly mahogany Jewish couples deep into their retirement who daily schlep their chairs, umbrellas and books to the exact same spot on the sand. The supple collegiates diving into that sand with paired fists to keep a volley ball aloft. The lean surfers in their floral board shorts, billboarding the beauty of their apexed youth. They do not ponder the fate of Jesus. Am I the only one in this crowd and on this beach aware of the day and its unshakable meaning?
I stop occasionally, stooping to inspect and collect a bit of bleached coral more interesting than the others. This has been my approach to Jesus throughout my life. I have read everything he supposedly said, learned everything he supposedly did, and have been lectured by important theologians all about him. I have surveyed the lot of Jesus and have kept within my heart just those bits that I felt important and true of him. I have made strenuous efforts (and I think successful ones) to wipe from my eyes the Jesus presented to me by religious leaders who zealously want me to believe on him, to buy into him, to accept him and to bind myself to the rules of their clubs. Their Jesus is no different from the Hollywood celebrities presented on the couches of late night talk shows whose hosts want our fervent appreciation and hypnotic fascination to sell their product. I would not really know them unless I were to cross their paths here on this beach, unformatted and without cameras. I begin to count the great number of Jesuses I have discarded.
There is that Jesus described in the Creed recited by Roman Catholics for centuries. The one who, while dead and in the tomb, descended into hell for a few days! If an explanation for his descent into hell was ever given me, I have not retained it. Something about the need to free souls erroneously trapped there and awaiting salvation. (Passing Orpheus and Dante on the stairs? A mumbled “Don’t go there”?) A list of names. A haggling and chagrined Satan. I imagine that what actually happened was a conversation between Jesus and some of his disciples over dinner sometime after his resurrection. They ask him, “So what was it like? Being dead. Being in that tomb for a few days. What did it feel like?” Jesus takes a sip of wine, looks them in the eye, and says “You really want to know what it was like? I’ll tell you what it was like. It was hell.” His response is repeated for years to come by the disciples and among the early Christians and eventually finds its twisted way into church dogma, no longer a zinger, and far a field from its real meaning.
There is the Jesus of the morbidly underutilized penis finally revealed to friends, family and hecklers while on the cross (except in the G rated versions in which it is never revealed and is always draped by a bit of strategically floating swaddling or shroud). I never understood why we needed to believe that he was celibate. I do understand that when one is charged with the writing of advertising copy, editing the distractions is key. The writers of the major gospels and the zealots of Christian religion had bigger fish to fry, and so the sexual Jesus (the ejaculating Jesus) was kept out of the picture in favor of the godly one. Besides, he does not strike me as a kiss-and-teller. What he and his disciples did in Vegas stayed in Vegas.
There is the Jesus really and miraculously and substantially present in the bread and wine transformed into his body and blood in the course of every Roman Catholic Mass that is performed. I know it shocks you Catholic believers, but I never got this one. As often as I raised the host and chalice and proclaimed the words to you from my side of the altar, I just never felt it the way I think I was supposed to feel it. I never even felt the need to feel it. I do know that in human communion there are probably no more beautiful times than those spent eating and drinking with loved ones. Invoking the names of those who are away from us. Remembering friends who have died. Is not that enough? Would it not be sufficient to think that the words of Jesus could aptly be translated as “Whenever you all get together on a night like this, I will be there with you.” Is that sentiment less than perfect? It certainly seems to be, as expressed in the tortured pens of centuries of indignant theologians who insist on Transubstantiation. I recall a Sunday many years ago when I had just finished Mass and was taking off my vestments in the sacristy. A group of agitated pious ladies rushed in to tell me that a Down Syndrome boy returning from Communion had spat the host out onto the floor of the aisle next to his pew. A few of their group remained there, guarding it and making sure that no one stepped on it. Would I please come immediately and deal with this terrible situation? I looked over at the pastor who was preparing to say the next Mass. He hid from them the smirk that said to me “Deal with it, boy.” I followed them back into the nave of the church where they led me to a wet bit of beige paste on the tile. They formed a circle around me as I produced a kleenex and picked it up, inspecting the morsel in the palm of my hand. It was obvious that they were wondering what I would do with it. I am quite sure that some of them wanted me to reverently eat it at that very moment to prove that my love of Jesus was stronger than the yuck factor. I was thinking that what I would really like to do would be to single out one of them by name and to make her eat it herself. “Don’t worry.” I said, “Every church has a special drain called a Sacrarium leading deep into the earth for exactly this purpose.” I folded up the kleenex and left them relieved that the piece of Jesus had been protected from harm through their intercession. Back in the sacristy, other folks demanded my attention, and I entirely and unintentionally forgot about the kleenex that ended up back in my pocket. It was not until the following Sunday when I again encountered those ladies that I realized the fact that I had not flushed the remnant down that special drain. That I was no longer in possession of that kleenex. I had gone out to the local gay bar that night for the Sunday beer blast. I had spent some time later that night with a local funeral director in the back seat of his car in the parking lot of that bar. Things had gotten pleasantly messy. I wondered if perhaps he and I had shared that kleenex while we spoke of the funerals he had scheduled in my church for the upcoming week. Please understand that if I had remembered the task when I returned to the sacristy, I would have sent Jesus down the appropriate drain for sacred decomposition. Not because I believed in Transubstantiation but simply out of respect for a man I love, just as I would honor the urned ashes of a close friend should any ever end up with me.
So many fake Jesuses not to love. The pious and meek one. The DC Comics one who struggles with his quarreling divine and human natures. The demanding one.
So many real Jesuses to love. The fun-loving one who rode an ass into Jerusalem in mock procession. The intemperate one who knotted a cord and drove the money changers out of the temple. But most of all, the story-telling Jesus. Have you heard the one about the prodigal son? The boy comes home after a life of debauchery and his father, seeing him in the distance, runs out to meet him and welcomes him back with great celebration and no questions asked. That is my favorite. That is why I know that in that cloud passing overhead there is no bolt of lightening to be aimed at my head. That is why I know that nothing I can do or say on this earth will get me into or out of his embrace. No amount of running in the opposite direction will ever distance me from him. And when I climb out of this body and out of the warp of time and space, just as he did, I will find that I have been at the same table with him all along, and if, while at that table, I should shed a nostalgic tear as I recall some part of my fantastic life, he will reach into his robes with a smile and produce an old kleenex…
Labels: Happy Easter
Friday, March 21, 2008
Too much fun to stop
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The Yin and Yang of it.
I told C what I was working on and he came up with his own version. These designs are so indicative of the two of us, each plunking out his tune at opposite ends of the keyboard while listening intently and with enjoyment to the other's melody and ultimately sampling it. I don't think there's a person in America who will have any problem guessing which is mine and which is his. Also, I am quite certain that his will be favored, but, you know, a T shirt, like a partnership, has two sides...
PS: I didn't use the word "gay" because our gatherings have become more inclusive. Also, I hate going from CMYK to RGB because I always seem to lose color irretrievably.
An introspective mirror
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Fallow Time
Monday, March 17, 2008
Jackson Heights: on the verge of chic
The main drag is dominated by the overhead tracks of what becomes the subway in Manhattan.
The neighborhood is lively and colorful. Just two blocks to the left or right of the shopping district are neat and spacious brick row houses. We peered into alluring and frightening shops.
We paused before a door into which had been drilled a set of glory holes for a family of very tall, like-minded and slim-hipped quintuplets.
We passed food that was either all too familiar or quite mysterious.
C and BJ were entertained.
Via the subway, Jackson Heights is just twelve minutes from midtown Manhattan. Watch this neighborhood pop. The proto-gays have already begun to arrive.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The minister’s defenders say the statements that have been playing this week on television are outliers, taken out of context, and that he is not antiwhite.
You are perfectly wonderful. Wikipedia already knows you, and says that you have cousins called "Polynesian outliers" and some called "exclaves". I cannot wait to meet them. Meanwhile, my world is totally on hold until I can find an opportunity to use you in conversation. Outlier, I love you already and we've just met. Actually, given my tendency to recount sexual escapades in this blog, this love note to you is a bit of an outlier, isn't it? I am delighted with you. You make me hard. I whisper you over and over, and I cum on the print you wear. You are the first word I have fallen in love with in 2008. Enjoy your moment on stage.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
And as if that were not enough, the kitchen is fully stocked with daily variables of the pastry/candy/munchie realm, including three types of M&Ms! The coffee is by Starbucks and the fridge groans with beverage choices. Oh lucky boy. I left there today singing that refrain from the Sound of Music: "For somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good."
Monday, March 10, 2008
Seven new ones from B16. Spitzer breaks an old one, and I bring down the house.
As I plodded along on the treadmill, a banner headline ran underneath the image of the Spitzers' news conference. It appears that the Pope has invented seven new sins. "Excessive wealth" is one of the new ones. That is something B16 himself will have to confess. I doubt this man has ever known hunger. I doubt his soft little hands have ever pushed a broom. I doubt he has ever knelt on the bare floor of a bedroom to pray, and found dust under his bed. The oriental carpets beneath his old knees, the housekeepers keeping his chambers immaculate, and the yes-men surrounding him all conspire to keep him terrifically out of touch with the people he is supposed to serve. Millions turn away and his voice becomes barely audible. He is like a puppet in a Punch and Judy show in a two dimensional theater in a public park. Even the little children, accustomed to better entertainment, run away. If only he were benevolent and loving, we could excuse him his calcified heart, but he seems bitter and bent on vengeance. How long must we endure this one?
I finish my mile and am in a bad mood as I enter the sauna where five men momentarily pause their sexual interaction to calculate my tolerance. I give them a "carry-on/I'm cool with it" wave, and they resume their exertions. A particularly hideous goat of a man seated across from me begins to leer at me while tossing open his towel to offer me a view of his wizened and discolored pudenda. He and his appendages look like a pot bellied stove in a country store. I look away but he will not be ignored. He gathers up his toiletries and gear and crosses over to sit next to me. I slide away from him about a foot and a half thinking that this obvious signal of my disinterest will cause him to leave me alone. This does not work. A minute later, he has crossed the new divide into my personal space. He then commits a mortal, unforgivable and eighth official new sin by touching my thigh. He is in the wrong place at the wrong time, given my mood. I launch into him.
"Don't be an asshole. You know I'm not interested in you. How could you not get that message? How could you think for five seconds that I could possibly want to have sex with you? Look at yourself. You are a repulsion. I would never have sex with you. I don't even want to have sex with one of those guys while you are in the room and I have to look at you. I don't even want to have sex knowing that you are in the same country. You and I are not even the same species. And this, honey. This?" I am now tapping myself on the chest. "This is No Country for Odd Men. So beat it. And I mean somewhere far away."
This is why I do not like to be kept abreast of current events.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
A Greenwich Village Birthday Party
Saturday, March 08, 2008
A final shot
Friday, March 07, 2008
Living in Roseville
If a man collects Roseville pottery, he is gay.
If a man inherits Roseville pottery, he is inevitably and genetically destined to be gay.
Roseville pottery that does not break, but gets handed down from one generation to another has turned more young boys into gay men than anything or anyone else.
I inherited a small vase in the Freesia pattern from my grandmother.
C inherited an immense jardiniere in the same pattern and color from his Great Aunt Ruth.
Both pieces are flawless with no cracks or chips.
We were born this way.
Labels: roseville pottery made us gay
The Longevity of Plants
We've had this orchid for more than twenty years. A gift from my brother's first wife. (Surely she's out of prison by now.) Sometimes we count more than forty blossoms on its muscular stem.
C inherited this from his Great Aunt Ruth. We have named it after her. It is estimated to be well over one hundred years old. I can't lift it.
Some of the newbies show stamina. We found this orchid in the trash on the sidewalk in New York last November. Just a couple of withered straps and mangled roots and no flowers.
I've combined it with this beauty, a Valentine's Day gift from C.
They may outlive us. They have no regard for time. They bloom often, and whenever they do, I inspect their flowers for wrinkles or faded colors or some geriatric indication, but I find none. Each explosive array is as vivid as the ones they gave us in other years and in other houses. I just wish they could talk. Wish I could learn what they know.
Labels: house plants
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
For those who missed it
Sunday, March 02, 2008
The Winter Party Beach Party
Labels: The Winter Party
The Leather & Fetish Party @ Steel
Dieter, Rog and friend
Frank and Joe
Labels: Winter Party
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Meet the Press
Yesterday, we attended a Meet-and-Greet for the press, at the Sagamore Hotel. (Joey had a press pass. I fluttered my eyes.)
We were surprised to find that because a Republican Congresswoman was staying at the Hotel, an exhibit of photography by the well-respected Spencer Tunick had been veiled! (His works involve public group nudity but are not what most anyone would consider erotic.) This was called to my attention by a charming man named Mark whom I met at the reception.
Joe and Mark liberated the exhibit.
We also met the two Peruvian Javiers. Veeeeeery cute. Together two and one half years. Did I mention that they were cute?
As the sun went down, We chatted with the extremely genteel Matt Foreman, the outgoing Executive Director of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the org that sponsors the Winter Party. In the warm new air of evening, we strolled to the Fashion show with Matt's partner, Frank, a photographer with a huge camera.
Labels: The Winter Party
down to Miami Beach
And the pilgrimage had to include a stop at Joe's where the talented Rachel gave good fade.
We attended the Aussiebum fashion show held at the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach. The ladies were up first. At least one man appeared delighted with this part of the show.
And then there were the men.
Labels: Winter Party Festivites