Friday, July 31, 2009

Name that plant



I bought it at a supermarket. It blooms once a year but not at all if it is moved. It is very sensitive to changes in the length of daylight which trigger blooming. I thought it was a type of Christmas cactus but it actually isn't. It's Mexican and I think its name begins with a "t" but I've forgotten it. I have it labeled tithonia because that is the name that comes to mind when I try to think of the real name.
Help.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today on Bilerico: Diction Addiction

A brief rant on connectivity.

Two Fascinators

I would ordinarily report on the contents of our meeting, but Couch Stalker and Vintage 'a Go Go have both agreed to join the team of the percolating Bilerico-NYC and I will let their stories and introductions unfold therein. Having never previously seen each other, we fell into instant rapport at Therapy yesterday evening and two hours felt like five minutes.

There are other luminaries who have signed on to Bilerico-NYC and still others to be revealed in future hints, and still others to be contacted. About two dozen voices with powerful portfolio. I'll be occasionally lifting their veils for some advance glimpsing before the launch, the date of which is in the hands of the site owners in Indiana.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Glass Blowing in Red Hook

On Sunday, I took receipt of an extraordinary birthday gift. C had arranged a session at Pier Glass in Red Hook. With our friends Peter and Bob, we took the water taxi from pier 11 in Manhattan on a shimmery summer day. (It’s free and brings you to the IKEA store a short walk from our destination.)

Kevin, who is one of the owners and glass making experts at the studio, would be my instructor. He had previously warned me to wear no synthetics (The high heat of the place might melt a polyester shirt!) and no sandals (The idea of dropping molten glass on your foot needs no explanation.), and to bring a bottle of water.

He carefully walked me through the process while he made a drinking glass. At one point, I distracted him by asking him the derivation of two glass-making words: marber and sofietta. While trying to answer me, he lost concentration and broke the piece and I resolved to be quiet and to research the words after I got home.

The most fantastic part of the experience involved extending the metal rod into a vat of molten glass, collecting it as one would scoop a dollop of honey from a jar with one of those corrugated wooden dippers. I kept forgetting to keep the rod turning to keep the glowing glob of glass from slumping but I always managed to save it from disaster.

C and Peter documented the entire event meticulously. Here are some of the pics and vids.

I learned that in glass blowing, the expertise lies in knowing how the glass will react to heat and motion. It is an extremely sensitive process. Not particularly forgiving. It made me want to sell off all the glass I’ve ever collected and replace it with my own stuff. While returning on the watertaxi, I was deeply saddened by the overwhelming brevity of a life in which one manages to get one’s laundry done because one must, but one does not have time to make all the glass one imagines while looking at sunlight flattered by the ocean.

Here is the vase I made. In it is a flower I also made allowing me to use other tools for crimping and stretching glass.




Saturday, July 25, 2009

Madame X

And because Kitchenbeard is too polite to hijack a blog (although I have given him license because of where he would take it), here is what yesterday's snippet about Sargent recalled. The arm/hand arrangement/weight are exactly right. Was her name Gautreau? No time to google. It's a sparkling Manhattan morning and my husband is hustling me out the door.

Un-Branding

This is a brilliant business decision. Say you've got all this coffee to sell. Say your staff is trapped in an annoying process that makes your customers dissatisfied. Say your coffee is overpriced and your business is overextended. Why wait for your competition to eat your lunch? You just pour your coffee into new cups and become your own competition. Because the fact is that your coffee is basically good; its your whole delivery system that got out of whack.

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Affection of the Throat

In The New York Times, April 25, 1901.

Labels:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What You Won't See in the South Florida Blade This Week

The editor liked most of it, but felt that the proposal for a public sex park was "nutty".

Men who wish to have sex with men anonymously, casually or with NSA (no strings attached) constitute an underserved market and a prickly social problem. These men are single, partnered, married, polyamorous, on vacation, from out-of-town, on the down low, young, old, good citizens, criminals and every other descriptive imaginable. Above all, they are horny, and this sometimes drives them to have sex in public places such as parks, highway rest areas, moonlit beaches, restrooms, adult video arcades and to jeopardize their safety via online hook-ups.

By not providing a safe and reasonable public outlet for casual, anonymous and NSA gay sex, we make guilty those men who, while answering a natural, perpetual and eternal urge, risk losing their reputations and sometimes their lives.

The righteous among us say that this type of sex is bad and should not be facilitated. They also say it should be persecuted and punished when it happens in a public place. My response to them is summarized in the following rather long sentence.

Because all the police crack-downs and sting operations, and all the media exposures and outings and public humiliations and career/marriage wrecking persecutions, and reinforced concrete/metal stall dividers in public restrooms, and surveillance cameras, and mean-spirited church ladies writing down license plate numbers and murderous thieving hook-ups and hysterical legislative prohibitions and the overarching spread of untraceable social disease have not been able to make even the slightest dent in this type of behavior, perhaps you will join me in concluding that it is time for us to accept the premise of this type of sexual need and to furnish safe circumstances that will facilitate it in a socially acceptable and healthier way.

Here is what I envision. There ought to be municipally owned and operated (or licensed) “male sex parks”. They ought to be located in commercial areas that have nearby discreet parking options. These parks ought to be roughly one quarter of an acre in size and securely walled with one metal-detecting entrance/exit where admission is paid and personal possessions and/or clothing are checked. There should be some shelter from rain, some benches and some trees and sturdy landscaping. There should be toilets without walls because in this type of venue, there is no reason for privacy and also because building separate stalls would only encourage drug use and unsafe sex. There should be dispensers stocked with condoms, lube and hand sanitizer.

These facilities should be staffed by municipal employees who monitor the behavior of the attendees. They would be highly trained safer-sex rangers who would be skilled in the management of male sexual interaction. They would expel those who cause trouble or attempt unsafe sex.

If, at this point in my description of such a venue, you find yourself dismissive, I think you need to examine more fully the unsuccessful current alternatives and your real motives for supporting them. Consider the inordinate amounts of public resources spent chasing this type of behavior and processing offenders. I would suggest that most of the offenders are no less noble as citizens than were our ancestors who drank illegally during Prohibition. What sort of wrong-headed panic is really at the root of persecuting and stigmatizing men who want this kind of sex? Why would you be against funding or licensing service providers who would move sex off the beach, out of public parks and rest areas and out of the hands of internet thieves and murderers? Why would you be against a solution that would help stop the spread of HIV by establishing a controlled and sensible environment for male sexual behavior that is part of our nature?

I have estimated the public revenue that such a venue would generate in Broward County alone. While my calculations are somewhat unscientific and based on “drive-by” data involving public sex seekers, numbers of “on line now” local guys, men cruising bars and going to bath houses and sex clubs, I can very conservatively suggest an annual revenue of over $1,000,000 per facility given a per visit charge of $10. And that would be net of my $250,000 annual estimated cost of operation. This does not even take into account the amount of resources we would save in police time, and the amount of money saved in health care costs due to irresponsible sex. And, think of the increased tourism revenue.

We should be embarrassed by the fact that what I propose has little chance of becoming reality in our lifetime, and we should examine our own motives for supporting current anti-sex laws that are rooted in moralistic nonsense rather than the public good.

It has been one year with no resultant hysteria since the police themselves in Amsterdam suggested the decriminalization of cruising and sex in certain public parks provided the sex took place at night and away from established paths, and with a warning against sexual litter. While their proposal is laudable, mine does more to foster safer sex. If there is any purpose to the public sector, it is to direct us against our antisocial individual inclinations by monitoring and facilitating interactions. Those should include sex. Our sidewalks are well maintained for the safety of pedestrians. We ought to be equally fastidious and proactive about inevitable sexual congress.

Today on Bilerico: "Figleafing"

You'll have to go to Bilerico after 10:30AM to se my response to the following:

Dear Father T,
My partner runs around the house taking all our “gay” artwork off the walls when his parents, brothers or sisters (all of whom are over 30) come to visit and he does the same when my relatives come over. He also rips the “gay” books off our bookshelves and hides them. They all know we are gay and they know they are entering a “gay” house. I am against this and we have had some arguments about it. What do you say?
Proud Mapplethorpe Owner

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today's Revelation

Down here, the midmorning sun is regularly brilliant on the ocean that each day brings a different message.

Monday, July 20, 2009

John Davidson



When I was in high school, I bought one of his albums just because I thought he was the most beautiful man alive. When he started doing TV, I began to think he might be one of the gayest men alive. Now, the whole John-Davidson-shtick-life-thing-era is just creepy. But in his day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Poised

and ready for a fabulous life.

But as Professor Marvel said of Dorothy "Poor little kid. I hope she gets home all right."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My New Best Friend

In which I receive a message from a total stranger on Facebook:



And yes, I have confirmed (Mr.? Ms.?) Dani Caleb as a friend. Because the world is an insane place. Let the walls of the asylum ring with laughter.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Contagious Fear of Gay Aging

My latest in the South Florida Blade

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today's Revelation

Down here, the midmorning sun is regularly brilliant on the ocean that each day brings a different message.

Tomorrow on Bilerico: "Where To Find Sex and Love"

You'll have to go to Bilerico tomorrow after 10:30AM for my response to the following:

Hey there,

I’m a teacher is Madison Wisconsin who is ready for a change. I’ve been vacationing for many years in Fort Lauderdale ever since my partner died. I think that is where I want to be and I have an opportunity to do this. I am hesitating because I think I know only what an outsider knows about the city and this move could be a big mistake. Is it true the men are interested only in sex, booze and drugs and can‘t handle relationships? Would I be moving into a city of burn-outs? I’m OK with being single but love would be nice. I can be alone here in Wisconsin, so I don’t need to move to Florida for that. Got any advice for me?

Wisconsinner


Update: It's up. Get on it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What C saw on Governors Island

Some mysterious doors. Others that we wish could talk.



Labels:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Who?

I always feel a bit old whenever someone I've never heard of makes headlines by coming out of the closet.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pontifical Coat of Arms racially insulting?

The Obamas recently visited the Pope. I wonder if they took a close look at his coat of arms. If so, did they find the depiction of a Moor insulting in that Al Jolson way? It is not even clearly known why the Moor is part of the Catholic imagery of Munich, but B16 saw fit to replace the traditional papal tiara with a miter on his coat of arms. Certainly he could have done something about the facial features on the Moor. I guess he was more worried about his hats.

Hot Saturday Fort Lauderdale Style

Finally, an archbishop worth reading

The archbishop of Denver writes about Catholicism and the Fourth Estate.
Only a clever bishop can manage to quote Oscar Wilde in support of denying gay equal rights. Here's how to do it:

Over the past 200 years, the power of the press in democratic societies has grown dramatically. The influence of the press led the 19th century poet and playwright Oscar Wilde to write that:

“In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody -- was it [Edmund] Burke? -- called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time, no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three . . . We are dominated by journalism.”

Of course, Oscar Wilde was not exactly a model of piety and Spartan virtue. But he had the gift of very keen perception, and we should think about what he said. When the press portrays itself as the “tribune of the people,” ensuring the honesty of the other major institutions in our society through relentless critical scrutiny – then we need to ask the question, who scrutinizes the press? Who keeps our news media honest? Who holds them accountable for humiliating one political candidate while fawning over another? Nobody elected Brian Williams as the NBC news anchor. And readers can’t impeach the editor of The New York Times – though some people I know would find that a happy thought.

What we can do is refuse to be stupid. We can decline to be sandbagged by our news establishment into thinking that marriage for homosexual partners is inevitable or an obligation of social justice; or that Islam and Christianity lead to pretty much the same conclusions about freedom, society and the nature of the human person; or that the abortion issue is somehow “settled” when thousands of unborn children continue to be legally killed everyday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Robert Isabell

He was brilliant.

And don't miss the last line of this, in which Ian Schrager asks the eternal question for which there is no good answer.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

This week, in the South Florida Blade, I said....

At issue is the tissue.

The real offense here is not cruising but littering.
Gentlemen of the world, pick up after yourselves. While using the condom is admirable, no one ought to find to find it and your used kleenex by the garden gate.

"Just going from here to there" she said.

This is a very moving New York Times account of how an expiring order of nuns manages death. I have often wondered, when I go out in the sea of silver hair in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors, how we gay men manage death as a community. We are not bound by the vows and financial surrendering made by the nuns, but we are bound by our histories and our camaraderie. Do we surround and support each other well at the time of death or is it business as usual with too much medication and anxiety and too little attention? If ever there was a place that could benefit from the example of these nuns, it's this town.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tomorrow on Bilerico: "A Wild Night, Secret Photos and the Real Problem"

You'll have to head over to Bilerico tomorrow at 10:30Am for my answer to the following:

Dear Father Tony,

Here’s my story. I was on a business trip a year ago. The day is done and I go down to the hotel bar for a drink before going to bed. Alone. I am in a LTR of five years and we don’t sleep around. I want to emphasize that I am not in gay neighborhood and not at a gay bar and not cruising. I am having a couple by myself and looking at the TV news. This guy sits next to me and strikes up a conversation. He’s funny and interesting and good looking and also on business (not related to mine). A few drinks later, I am not thinking straight and I end up in his room really drunk. I think he put something in my drink because I can take a lot of alcohol and still find my way home without a problem but that night was different. I did wake up in my own room alone the next morning, but I know we fucked. That was one year ago. I never got the guy’s name or number and I never told my partner. An isolated incident. Three months ago I had a dream about that night.. I lived the whole night again in the dream and that included something I had forgotten. He took nude pictures of me and of us together. In my dream I saw this as clear as if I was right in the moment. So now I think that there are some really bad nude photos of me out there somewhere. I never told my partner about that night but maybe I should because it would be worse if those pictures should ever get to him in the future. Should I tell or not tell? That’s my problem.

I’m In A Pickle

It's up. Get on it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Perplexing

Charity for Sale by Pope Benedict XVI

In its coverage of B16's fresh encyclical entitled "Charity in Truth", the New York Times highlights this bit of it:

Profit is useful if it serves as a means toward an end. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty.

Nice. The pope denounces greed. OK, I'd like to read more of this, even though I think he ought to tend to his own disheveled backyard before he criticizes capitalism. I'd like to see how he juggles the fact of property and wealth in his empire with his mandate to charity. How does he balance his own astronomically high level of personal material refined comfort with the hardscrabble lives of millions of his followers? B16 has written me a letter and I wish to read it.

Eager to receive his guidance about money and profit-making, and filled with a fervent desire to read all 144 pages of the encyclical letter in English and also in Latin as Caritas in Veritate, I was happy to find that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops would send it to me as soon as it is available on July 17th.

Unfortunately, in order to receive B16's letter, I would first have to Add to Cart and set up an account. At Checkout, I was apprised of the shipping and handling costs for the Pope's letter: $6.00 for domestic ground, $15.00 for UPS or FedEx 2 Day, or $25.00 for UPS Nextday or FedEx Overnite.

And, yes, the letter itself is not free. The American bishops are selling it to you in paperback for $6.95.


("And that's not all, act now and you'll get not just Charity in Truth, but we'll throw in....")

I guess the American bishops have not actually read the letter, or, maybe they have read it and are doing what European Catholics have done for centuries, rendering an old pope harmless by ignoring his prattling.

In any case, do you recall that B16, in the wake of his disastrous pardoning of that monster-bishop who denied the Holocaust, vowed to use the internet in his future communications? I guess he wasn't serious about that because these days, if you write a letter and really want folks to read it, you use the internet. Duh. And yes, I'm not buying it because soon enough I'll be able to find the entire text somewhere on the net.* It is just very disappointing that B16 did not publish it that way himself.

I guess it's business as usual in the Roman Catholic Church.

I don't think this is the kind of enterprise Jesus had in mind when he distributed the few loaves and fishes he and his disciples had among them, and managed somehow to feed for free the huge multitude that had gathered on a hillside to listen to his words. Now that was charity in truth.

And hey, you American bishops, whose head is on that coin? Take a look at section 6 of the introduction: Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting. I cannot “give” what is mine to the other, without first giving him what pertains to him in justice.

* Yup. Rocco's got the whole of it up already at Whispers in the Loggia. Interestingly, it seems to be an ode to the memory of Paul VI, the last of the great queer popes.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Today's Revelation

Down here, the midmorning sun is regularly brilliant on the ocean that each day brings a different message.

"Gotta Keep Moving On"

With a motto like that, they should have known what to expect.

The Next Pope?

Watch this guy.

He is the right age. He has the right experience and he has something the other American Timothy does not have. Strong Latin American credentials.

We had adjacent rooms in Rome. I never once heard a sound come through the wall that separated us. I think he'd make a fine pope and that he would surprise many people.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Today's Revelation

Down here, the midmorning sun is regularly brilliant on the ocean that each day brings a different message. Today it said "There are millions of excuses for not doing something you love or need. Only one is valid. You died." Not surprisingly, it had a Jewish accent.

Fireworks Offshore in Fort Lauderdale



Not outrunning the camera:

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Relentless Damage of Pope Benedict XVI

It’s not enough that he has set Catholicism back several decades (you should have known that was his objective when he chose the name of the last pope he could actually respect, Benedict XV, 1914-1922, who invented canon law). Having torched seminaries with his witch hunt for homosexual candidates for the priesthood, he has now turned his bloody eye on that weakest and most endangered workforce of the Roman Catholic Church, the nuns.

As reported in The New York Times, B16 has initiated what he is calling a “visitation”, but let’s call it what it really is, an inquisition. He’s gotten wind of the fact that some nuns don’t wear habits, some nuns have secular work (gotta pay the bills on those vast and empty convents) and some nuns have supposedly developed an interest in Reiki. B16 in usual Vatican fashion lumps Reiki in with voodoo and sees it as opposed to Catholic faith. (This is a subject for another day, but Reiki actually talks about the flow of healing energy from and within the human body. Substitute grace for energy and you’re on safe Catholic ground. Plus, the “laying on of hands” is part of ancient Catholic tradition and ritual. Reiki just does it more intently.)

Because B16 can’t ride his dark horse up to the gate of each and every American convent, he has deputized an American nun as his grand inquisitor visitator. The New York Times calls her “apple-cheeked” and with “smiling eyes” but make no mistake. She is B16 in a dress. Oh wait. A different dress (supply any reverse drag joke you like). Mother Mary Clare Millea has a degree in canon law from the Lateran University in Rome. She’s a well-connected Vatican tool. Beneath her sweet words of overture to the nuns of America is the obvious disciplinary intent. Don’t believe me? Read the letter she wrote to the Superiors General of orders of American nuns, encouraging cooperation in this Apostolic Visitation. Did you miss the part where she, unable to ride her own dark horse up to the gates of those dusty convents, asks for a supply of deputies to do the inquisition visitation for her?




Please note that all those who take part in the work of the Apostolic Visitation will be acting in the name of the Apostolic See. For this reason, they must be willing to make a public profession of faith and take an oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See.




I guess the vows that nuns take and the creed that all Catholics recite at Mass are not enough for grinning Sister Cheeky. She’s demanding a special allegiance to B16 that will assure her of a compliant army of like-minded tools.

Any nun who participates in this nonsense should have her head examined. Already treated like second-class–wannabe-priests-without-dicks, nuns have in recent decades had to fend for themselves in designing their role in the church. In that process and with no chance to actually administer the sacraments they are taught to revere, they have become educated and ministerially effective in non-traditional ways. I would venture to say that in many communities, nuns are more respected than priests because they obviously lack institutional clout but still do the drudge work of mercy that is closer to the intention of the authentic Jesus rather than that of the sock puppet Jesus into which B16 daily shoves his fist.

To be sure, I’ve got some bad memories of working with some miserable nuns, but I also knew and respected an equal number of really good ones. As you would guess, there were many lesbians among both the good and bad lots. They get a doubly raw deal from the Catholic Church and I always wondered why they didn’t all walk away from it.

I have one thing to say to all the nuns that remain. Ladies, this is your chance to grow some big ones. With one voice, you need to send a resounding “F__K You” to B16 when Mother Mary Clare Millea and her minions come to inspect your skirts. I am rather sure that is what Miss Jesus would do.

Labels:

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Dennis Deaned

Yesterday, I had my picture taken by the excellent Fort Lauderdale photographer Dennis Dean. The Blade was not happy with the photo I had supplied. In it, I appear to be naked. This they found irksome.

As is the case with everything else in Fort Lauderdale, the shoot for the new image took place in a parking lot. Dennis knew what he was after and wanted the pic to match the tone of what I've been saying in The Blade. Wry? Sardonic? Slightly irreverent? Hard edges melting into compassion? Eh. Wish I had big hair.

Bilerico New York

This will be great fun, and given the recent demise of the New York Blade and the precarious status of print, there will be plenty of room for our irreverent magazine.

Queer leaders had for the price of a cocktail

Guess I won't be sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom any time soon. This week's Viewpoint in the SF Blade which incidentally has not succumbed to the coma of the New York Blade.

Labels:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Thursday on Bilerico: Should He Love a Wallflower?

You'll have to go to Bilerico tomorrow after 10:30AM to find my response to the following:

Dear Father Tony

My steady boyfriend is a man who can’t dance. He won’t even try to learn how to dance. I dragged him onto the floor at our club just once. His face was so sad I gave up after a minute. My mother always said (not to me specifically) “Watch out for the ones who don’t dance.” I love to dance but I’m falling for a man I’ll never dance with. Should I run the other way?

Fred no Ginger


It's up. Get on it.

NYC March Stats

This is the way stuff should be. Here's the Governor of New York - Grand Marshal of the Pride March - embracing Maurice Michaane, Director of the March.



It was a grand day. According to the young (28) Maurice:

1) we had over 320 groups/organization participate - up 25%
2) 65 floats and 170 vehicles - double the amount from last year
3) we are the longest March/Parade in the city
4) with double the amount of vehicles/floats and a 25% increase in people, we still finished the same time as last yr
5) we had 4 grand marshals, and Gov Paterson made history as the first sitting US Gov to ever accept and walk down a Pride March as a Grand Marshal
6) we had 300 march volunteers, most ever
7) we had a 25% increase in the amount of registered people marching, they say the number was over 100k people marching,
8) it was an amazing day and the feedback is extremely positive and we start planning for 2010 now!



(photo by Chase Wink)