Monday, December 28, 2009

I should have eaten my vegetables

I developed diverticulitis about five years ago and its ruled my life ever since.  At first it was an attack, but even with careful diet, enough daily fiber to upholster a couch nothing ever seemed to seemed to work.  SO now the doctors call it "Chronic" and if I have a good year I get sidelined by two attacks.  If its  a bad year, its three or more.

2009 was a very bad year.

This recent spate marks four for 2009, and unlike the other three which I knew "were coming on" this one surprised the hell out of me at nine AM on Boxing Day.  No warning.  Just the most excruciating pain imaginable.  And thats the thing with one of these attacks - the pain is constant and it is amazing.  On a scale of one to ten, this attack was equal to kidney stone. 

But because I am silly about a fear of hospitals, I went for the emergency Cipro prescription that my doctor has me keep in the medicine cabinet, and between that, the Advil and a lot of sleep, I'm starting to come out of the attack.  I saw the doctor today, he poked, I screamed and I got an Rx for an anti-spasmodic that seems like its starting to let left side relax after three days of being rigid in pain.

The good news is that the infection didn't eat away at anything, or fuse my intestines to any other vital organ. And I just may get to sleep tonight instead of breaking sweats as my body tries to fight the infection.

The worst part of living with this is that I have ballooned in weight because of the restrictive diet.  No nuts, no fresh fruit with seeds, did I mention no nuts at all?  No strawberries.  The only safe food bets are proteins and starches.

But I still think I'm lucky.  I haven't been filleted by the surgeon's knife - its just a matter of time.  But for the sake of conversation, lets hope it isn't in 2010.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy boxing day!

Isn't the one on the left just cute as a bug in a rug?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What she really wanted is a diamond


Can you see the anger simmering in her eyes?
"A Toastmaster?" she cries, trying to supress a rage equal to the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Why Noreen Nash got a diamond bracelet, and she got to pick it out! But a fucking toaster? "How could you..." she begins, but is promptly cut off by her husband Bob, a corporate executive that works for a multinational company that has no idea why it exists.
"...it was affordable. You worry too much. Nothing is too good for my best gal. Hey, why don't you take that toaster and rustle us up some grub, huh?"
Hope your Christmas is filled with all the things you really want! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Farewell, Connie Hines



She'll be forever young, forever driving a Studebaker in closing credits and forever perplexed over what her husband Wilbur ever saw in that horse..

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Past

For the Jews on Cleveland’s east-side in the 1960s and 1970s, the holiday period was really about creating a new culture and eschewing everything except the very recent past. It was the Post War World era and everything was what you made of it in the “now”.   History for most of us born at Mount Sinai Hospital during the end of the Post War baby boom was divided into three distinct time periods. There were the Old Testament years, then nothing until the Holocaust, and then modern history, which dated from the founding of Israel.   So, unlike our gentile brethren, who dream about White Christmas’ past, Jewish kids never had a good old fashioned Hanukkah like your family had when your father or mother was a child, because those were in the years before World War II – otherwise known as the Great Jewish Historical Void.

As a child, I learned that I could ask my mothers parents what they did when they were little and I could get all sorts of stories about what it was like to live on a farm at the dawn of the 20th Century. What’s more, my grandfather – a man of very few words and bad aim with chewing tobacco – would break down and show me how to draw a cat using a couple circles, two triangles and the letter “S”.

But with my father’s parents were different. Ask them about their childhood’s and they would change the subject, partly because they never had childhoods like we have today. And they never wanted to discuss the “Old Country”, leading many of us to atlases only to discover that there was no place called the “Old Country” to be found. If you asked them what Old Country they came from, they would most likely name a place that no longer existed at the time. This created problems and confusion. My father’s parents were from Latvia, however because we’ve never talked about that, my niece mistakenly went out and joined a Lithuanian student organization thinking she had the right nation.

And it just wasn't my grandparents either.  Other kids had the same issues with their grandparents as well.  Visiting their grandparents houses offered few if any tangible pieces of evidence because most of our grandparents had just come over in the years before World War I.  So while our WASP friends may have noticed the rifle that great great grandfather Smyth carried in the civil war, our grandparents homes were filled with they type of things that they equated with success in America.  Their houses and apartments would be filled with cheap knock offs of Louis XVI from Janus Interiors (what we later called Early Van Aken) or Bauhaus chic Barcelona chairs if your grandmother was the artistic east coast type.  All of the upholstered Louis the XIV, XV and XVI was covered in layers of clear plastic, and then shrouded in furniture throws to keep the plastic from yellowing.  We were cloaked immediately upon entering their homes with admonishments not to walk on the freshly vacuumed carpets. "I don't want to see footprints ruin those nice marks made by Sally's vacuuming!"  And poor Sally, the cleaning lady.  If Ginger Rogers spent her life dancing back wards, then Sally (or Phoebe, or Mamie, of Mattie, etc.) spent their lives forever vacuuming back wards for a few buck an hour.

For the my father's people, it was all about creating a history and pretending that the realities of the past were nonexistent.

The only times we heard about my father's childhood was when he was honked off at us and thought it would be a good idea to compare how easy we had it to how hard his childhood was.  "I never had a bedroom to myself; HELL NO MISTER, I didn't get a bed of my own until I joined the army!" he would rant, all the while thinking that it made us more grateful that we had more blessings like a father who was screaming at us, than he did when he was a child.  Yeah, it was a blessing to have a father tell you that his dream for you would be enrolling you in the Israeli army and other warm fuzzy things.  And the only time that I ever saw my grandmother get upset with television was over an airing of Nicholas and Alexandra - I could never figure out if she was teary eyed because the Romanov's got shot, or because they never knew the joy of grandchildren.  Maybe she wanted to be the one to have pulled the trigger, after all, my grandparents left Russia for the U.S. in 1905.  Anyway, Grandma wasn't talking and if she were, it was in Yinglish - that mixture of Yiddish and English that confuses communication more than it can be used to communicate anything.

So Hanukkah – a holiday that has been co-opted by Jewish parents as a weak holiday stand in for Christmas – is an old holiday with new purpose. And unlike Christmas where spend a day with your family and friends, with Hanukkah, we lit candles, and that was that.

Because my father was Jewish, my mother and I never celebrated Christmas anything in Shaker Heights. And we never spent a Christmas holiday there either. Christmas was something that was celebrated in Marion exclusively, and in the 1960s and 1970s, Christmas in Marion was really an old fashioned holiday compared to Hanukkah in Cleveland.

Oh, how I looked forward to that day when we would take flight and leave for Marion.  First, I got to leave Mercer school early on the last day of school before Christmas Vacation began because my mother hated to drive in the dark. The trip to Marion was two and a half hours so I was sprung around 2:30.  By five we would arrive at my grandparents, unload and then load my grandparents into the car and go to the farm where my mother grew up and my Aunt and Uncle now lived. And we would be surrounded by family, and food. The house was heated by a stove in the living room, so we watched TV in the dining room under a blanket while the adults played cards by the stove. Then it was back to town for the night.

Shopping meant that we went to the stores in downtown. At Uhler’s and Frank Brothers, there were no cash registers; money traveled from the sales desk to the cashiers office via a series of pneumatic tubes. The clerks would place the money and the receipt in a brass capsule and twist it shut before opening a small trap door in one pf the tubes that hung from the ceiling to the counter, and then shoving the capsule into the tube. Then we would make small talk while we waited for the tube to return with a clatter as it dropped into a basket. When people spoke of the Christmas Miracle, I was sure this was even bigger – how did they know which tube to use to get it back to us?

Marion had a mall, but going downtown back then was the place to be.

At my grandparents house, the white plastic candles with the orange bulbs were placed in the windows and the small artificial Christmas tree brought down from the spare bedroom up stairs.

Christmas Eve was spent at their house (later at my Aunt Edith's), and Christmas Day was spent at the farm. There would be visits to my other Uncles houses and my Aunt Pauline’s iced Christmas cookies.

I loved those Christmas holidays. It was wonderful to be rooted to something that had was gentle, something expected, something peaceful. Unlike the harshness of Cleveland, everything there at the house on Forest Lawn, or at the Farm with the heat coming from the stove in the living room was comforting and safe. We would eventually load up the car and head back to Shaker Heights, my mother and I each dreading what awaited us when we returned home to the house on South Woodland.  Cold reality has a habit of breaking up dreams.  I would go back to being the odd man out at school, and my mother soldiered back to being the abused wife of a Cleveland Attorney.

Thats why those holidays memories mean so much.  Four five days or so, I could be a normal kid, or so it seemed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crocs



I know that CROCS are terribly ugly, but they are so damn comfortable.  Can mall walkers be for behind?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The House Without a Christmas Tree, 1973



I remember this special on television quite fondly. It told the story of a young girl's Christmas in 1946 - then some 27 years before. This premired on TV when I was in fifth grade, and my parents had been divorced for a year and a half. My mother and I spent our Christmas's in Marion, staying with my grandfather who was slowly succumbing to Alzheimers - back then we just called it dementia. Fifth grade and sixth grade were hard holidays because my grandfather, who hardly said much of anything would wander off, give things away, or would forget where he had left his money. By Christmas in 1974 the family decided that it was best if he were placed in a nursing facility - it was foul, but its what was available. Those were hard years for all of us. Somehow this CBS holiday special reminds me of those years, now 36 years ago.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Governor and JJ



So lets see, when this show premired in the fall of 1969 we were living in the house on South Woodland Road, and I was starting first grade at Mercer School with Mrs. Smiley as my teacher. Here's the other thing - I can remember where I left my keys - but I remember this theme song. Go figure.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Ugliest Girl in Town, 1969











Who Owns That Fabulous Face?
The Ugliest Girl in Town
Who's Styles are Setting the Pace?
The Ugliest Girl in Town
You don't have to be a
Mia or Sofia
This is the year of the clown
Be the eekiest, creepiest, UGLIEST GIRL IN TOWN!"

OK - This show hasn't been on television for FORTY YEARS and the theme song (along with some garbled lyrics) stayed in my head all these years! I don't remember the show, but the melody stayed with me. OF COURSE IT DID! Its the theme music to show about a guy doing drag, and my six year old mind latched onto it. Go figure!

At least Bridgette used to love Bernie



Now she loves the ladies...

Yah, yah, yah

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Put on Your Holiday Finest!


Now that December is upon us, its time to be festive in your dress (or your tux, or your ensemble if you can't choose one over the other) - but above all, have fun!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Balancing Act



I feel like the last month I have been through the wringer and then stretched in every conceivable direction.  My thanks to each of you for understanding while this dog and pny show that I call my life has been unwinding.  Things should be getting better now that I have gotten beyond thanksgiving and moving towards Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Studebaker Update

I just heard from Mechanic and we have some bad news and some good news.

First the bad news.  EVIDENTLY someone at DAS attempted to jump the car when it failed to operate at some point in the transfer, and the didn't hook the jumper cables up correctly.  When they did so, it shorted out the electrical system on the Studebaker. 

The GOOD news is it all basic wiring and repairable, the battery is installed and the cooling system has been flushed and refilled. 

The bad news is that we're up to $350.

The GOOD News is that he also discovered that the break lights are out, the gas tank guage and the engine temperature guage are all non working, but they'll get fixed.  I say that this is good news because its all getting done and its basic safety stuff.

The bad news is that all of this costs money.

The GOOD news is that I set some aside.

HOWEVER

The GREAT news is that the super structure of the car, once it went up on the lift, is OUTSTANDING.  Jeff said this thing is built like a tank and isn't all corroded up - Studebaker's are notorius rusters.  The car drives straight as an arrow.

So my mechanic has officially stated that for $2,500, plus the electrical repairs, I got a very solid car.  And he added "She ain't the type of girl that you fool around with; she's the type of old girl you take home to mother."  I'll take that.

So, after we get these little electrical things fixed she is ripe for the road.

But, he did beautiful work


What you see above is a man preparing a brisket, the one meat that is both universally Jewish, and a red neck delicacy. 

Better you see this than a picture from my Bris.

Why do I bring up my circumcision?  Well, yesterday was the 47th anniversary of my birth.  So it would follow that this coming Saturday would be the 47th anniversary will mark the covenant that my parents made with God for my well being by slicing off part of my penis on the seventh day of life.

Am I bitter?  You bet I am. 

As the story goes - according to my late great cousin (and God Mother) Joyce, the morning after my birth at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, my mother awoke to find three old Jewish men standing around her bed smiling.  Each, the story goes had a present for the baby.  One had a satin skull cap and prayer shawl, the other had a sterling silver rattle with a Hebrew letter on it symbolizing "to life!" and the third had a sterling silver mazzusah for the nursery.  Each spoke in broken English and each made a sales pitch for the business at hand on the seventh day.  My mother, drugged out of her mind, waved her hand at one of the men and the deal was done.

She picked, one Saul Shenkman.  A moil of great repute, and as my cousin Cousin Joyce pointed out, had a nickname on the street: Shaky Shankman.  Why Shakey?  Evidently Saul was in the beginning stages of Parkinson's disease.  "I can just imagine him serving a plate of Jell-O," Joyce said.

When I found this out several years ago, I confronted my mother.  "You gave of your only son over to man with a tremor?"

"What are you upset about.  You're here and in tact. The man did beautiful work.  Pediatricians admired Saul for his finesse."  Finesse?  I was a bit stunned: "finesse" is not a word that one usually associates with circumcision.

"And besides," she said, "it was easier for me to keep clean."  Boil any issue down and it always comes back to my mother and how its always about her needs.

Turns out I wasn't only one in the family to come under Saul Shenkman's artful hand.  He also had a go at my cousin Chip and my Cousin Brian.  Chip was adopted and I Joyce, Chip's mother, pointed out that the bris was done at their home.  I asked her, was it different for her when she handed her sons over to Shakey Shenkman.  "I was frantic.  But not because it was Saul so much as I was about the new carpet we had laid a couple weeks before.  And then there was the food.  Brisket. Oy."

While I am not one to bemoan the loss of things that I never knew, I am a bit honked about being snipped. In tact, I would have been in demand (wink, wink), but at the same point, how do you miss something that you never had?

And things could have been much worse than they turned out.  My two brothers - 13 and 9 years my senior - had been pestering my parents for weeks before I was born to name the baby Chauncey Oswald if it were a boy.  To be circumcised is bad enough.  But Chauncey Oswald?  

Seriously, what the fuck?

Still, I'm bitter. I just don't see why a male child has to go through this when it serves no real purpose. Its mutilation. What I want to know is: does God love me and more because I was circumcised?   Wasn't I made in his image?  Wasn't I perfect just like God intended?  Was it really necessary to Him, the Almighty and All Knowing that I lose part of my penis for Him to accept me?

Who knows; and God ain't talking.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Boo-Yeah!


...it was a veritable rollercoaster of emotions yesterday:

YEAH! The wandering Studebaker arrived in Columbus and was delivered to my mechanic yesterday morning as planned.

Boo! She was very dirty from her three weeks on the lower rack of the car carriers.

YEAH! The mechanic got her fired up after recharging the battery.

Boo! But its a cheap Wal-Mart battery and she was stone cold dead this morning in the mechanics pen.

YEAH! But he's going to work on her this weekend and install a new battery.

Boo! But we got a good look at the inside.

YEAH! It can all be fixed.

Boo: She's a Monet.

Bottom line, and I am being practical, the car is going to need more cosmetic work than simple head on collision with a Clinque Tanker Truck.  However, life has taught me do not dwell in adversity, but instead plan for the a graceful way out.  So we have plan "A" and plan "B" in the works:

"A" - We keep her for the winter, safely tucked away in a garage and then wheel her out on a sunny spring afternoon and reappraise the situation.  If we do this, then I can use the winter to look for New Old Stock seat covers and then sell the car in June/July for a profit.

"B" - Trade the car for a silver Lark Regal sedan that I have been offered with a V-8 and A/C

So we're going to look at the V8 this weeknd and then we'll go on from there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Studebaker Melodrama is reaching a Climax!


I knew that if I used the word Climax, you'd read this.

Well, it turns out that Miss Rose is but 40 miles from me as I type.  That is unless DAS has to make a delivery in someplace along the way - say, Kentucky.  Don't think I'm exaggerating dear ones - these people have allowed my Misty Rose colored Studebaker Lark Regal to wander all over God's green earth with no logic.

Anyway, she is within towing distance, and thats the most important thing imaginable.

She should get delivered to the local carrier tonight, and with any luck, should be dropped at the local gear shop in the morning to diagnose her malady that prevents her from running under her own power.  Hopefully they can fix that quick and I can get her home on Friday.  Wouldn't that be swell?

Oh, Rapacious Joy!

Found this and just had to share it!


Found this FABULOUS movie ad clipping about my Stepmonster at greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com . It tickled me, so I am sharing it.  Believe me I have been far to obessed with my Studebaker Melodrama to be in the mood to scrounge around for original material. 

Whats notable about this film is that co-stars one of Joan Crawford's ex husbands.


You really should visit this blog though because there are many a gem to be found there. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Saab Story

She's come undone

First the bad news, my Studebaker won't get here until Friday at the earliest.  She's been to here to there to God know's where and DAS (Dependable Auto Shippers, but I think it means Dumb Ass Shitlickers) which has been promising November 18th all of a sudden pushed it back to the November 20th.  So she won't be here for my birthday on Sunday.

THEN....

...if it could get any worse they tell me that she is non-operating.  Well, the car was certainly operating when you picked it up, you fuck-wits, I thought to myself.  I did reply "Oh," and then said "then maybe you should talk to my attorney..." No response. 

I'm seriously wondering if I will ever see my car, let alone be able to drive it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So full of irony



Hmmmm. Or should that be: Himmmm. Who would have thought that this 1927 billboard in Los Angeles California could so fully explain and express the real motivation on why single men would frequent the YMCA so succinctly? Of course their were the above board reasons why a man would want to go to the YMCA to meet another man - for the fellowship, of course. And then there is the reason for a man needing to meet another man for a different type of fellowship. The type where one strapping man would need the firm grip of another man to help through life's hard spots. The YMCA must have been on heck of an impressive erection to hold so many meanings for so many.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Couple days of R&R

Will be taking a couple days of R&R off while I recover from an episode of diverticulitis.  Its a chronic condition that I have lived with since 2003 so I am used this and know that my mind will be mush for the next few days.  See you on Monday if not before.  And remember - stay as sweet as you are!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Miss Rose - stuck in Texas


Well the latest on Miss Rose is that she is in Texas, loaded on a truck bound for Illinois. So she's moving in the right direction, but I want my car....

Anyway I found this fabulous 1963 advertising postcard on eBay and snapped it up because it is the correct model of Studebaker Lark, the Regal, which was anything but regal.  Still I think it looks snazzier than a Chevrolet Biscayne, and oh, so continental with its ersatz Mercedes grille.  Studebaker Packard had the US Distributorship agreement for Benz from the 1950s through the 1960s.  In fact many longtime Benz dealerships (in Columbus, Germain M-B came from Ed Potter M-B, which started out as Ed Potter Studebaker) today started out as Studebaker or Packard dealerships.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Teacher, teacher

While cutting the grass today I decided to try and remember the names of my teachers in Shaker, being that its been 32 years since I have been estanged from that place:

Mercer School
Kindergarten: Mrs. Bauter
First Grade: Mrs. (Grace) Smiley
Second Grade: Miss (Elizabeth) Vermullen (or was it Vermeullen?)
Third Grade: Mrs. Rankin
Fourth Grade: Mrs. McLaughlin
Fifth Grade, Mrs. Brack
Sixth Grade, Mrs (Blanche) Brown (first half of year)
Reading skills, Mrs. Golden, grades 2-6th

Oldman Transitional School (private school for kids with Dyslexia)
Sixth Grade, Miss Creed (second half of year)

Byron Junior High School
Seventh Grade Home Room and Art - Mr. Harmon
Seventh Grade, English - Dr. (Mary) Reilly
Seventh Grade, Wood Shop - Mr. Van Ness
Seventh Grade, Gym - Mr. (Larry) Frye
Seventh Grade, Math - Mr. (John) Federer
Seventh Grade, Social Science, Mr. Hawthorne
Seventh Grade, Science - Mr. (Mahlon) Franks/Mr. Gerwin
Eighth Grade, Communicating Arts, Mr. Mallin

Eighth Grade, Home Room, Mr. Bechtel
Eighth Grade, Mechanical Drafting - Mr. Tappenden
Eighth Grade, Science, Mr. Alt
Eighth Grade, English, Miss Beavers
Eighth Grade, Social Science, Miss. Urban
Eighth Grade, Reading, Miss (Sara) Bloomfield
Eighth Grade, Art, Mr. Richards
Eighth Grade, Math, Mr. Bailey
Eighth Grade, Phys Ed, Mr. Frye

Of, all the teachers, Mrs. Golden was my favorite and she's remained a family friend for all these years. Then Mrs. Smiley - everyone else just falls into semi-forgettable.

The least favorite? Its a tie between Second Grade's Miss Vermullen and Sixth Grade's Blanche Brown.

Miss Vermullen was just a crappy teacher. She was young and in way over her head and she didn't return the year after I had her. But my mother will always remember her as the teacher who called me "dumb, stupid and a slow learner." This despite Stanford Acheivement test scores that were off the grid. And then they discovered that I was so near sighted that I couldn't see the black board (which at Mercer were Green). Well I got my glasses and things improved.

While Elizabeth Vermullen never insulted me to my face, Blanche Brown did just that, and then lied about it. Brown and I got off to a bad start from word one, literally. On the first day she called my name and I responded with a "Yo" and was repremanded in front of the whole class. That would be the high water mark between her and I - things rapidly fell apart, one thing or another. At one time she tried to give me an "F" on a paper saying that I had copied someone else - my mother who was getting tired of Brown's BS had me hauled before the Principle to answer questions about my paper, which I might add that answered honestly and correctly. Dr. Miller restored my grade then things got really bad.

It started over the reading group. I was a lousy reader, but I had superior comprehension so Brown placed me in the top reading group at the onset of school. In December, she removed me without reason, in front of the whole class and moved me to the lowest reading group. When I asked why (also in front of the whole class) I was told not to question her. At home I told my mother what she said, but added something about my own feelings to the effect of "She must think I'm stupid."

My mother, still pissed about the Vermullen years, and having reached her breaking point with the woman she described as the "Yetti of Mercer School" went in for the kill while I stayed home from school. The next day I went back to school but got pulled from the bus line by Brown who wanted to know why I said that she said I was stupid. I said that I felt that way and it was because she docked me the reading group levels. She stated that she wouldn't stand for a liar in her class; thats when I sealed my fate: "You're a bitch."

You could feel the chill fall over the room. We were, how do you say it, "done".

Before you could say Hi Ho and away we go, I was signed up for a private school and I was yanked from sixth grade.

In the end, it was the best thing possible for me. I loved being at OTS, even if I was terrified of the nuns. And Brown continued to terrorize the students, most of which have told me that she figered someone else to be her fall guy for the second semester.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Secondhand Rose, touring America!

Well we've been checking up on the Studebaker, now nicknamed Aunt Rose, and it is quite possible that she should have been named Miss Daisy because she is being chauffeured about. Aunt Rose, who was purchased from a man in Silverhill, Alabama, and is being transported to us by DAS at great expense, is making her way to us in a most circuitous fashion.

Thursday she left Alabama for Milton, Florida where DAS has a transport terminal.

Friday she sat in Milton, waiting, as many of us do, for ones name to be called.

Then on Friday night things got exciting - She was officially "in transport" which means she was loaded to a trailer with cars and her trip was underway.

So far today, Aunt Rose passed through Alabama one last time on her way to Biloxi, Mississippi. She then went Algiers, Louisiana, then onto Lafayette, Louisiana and at last check in was someplace called LaPlace Louisiana.

So if you look at the maps is now further away from me then when I bought her?

So we're wondering where fate will take her next. I'm thinking Texas; the husband thinks that the transport truck will, at some point sooner, rather than later, head North. I am dubious.

Toys that Made Us Gay - Fast Forward to 1:47 mark

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Studebaker Update: Good news, at least



Well Miss Rose Studebaker is in transport from Alabama, and I was finally able to connect with my insurance agent when I got the good news on insuring Miss Rose. 

Full coverage, exactly as I am covered on my Maxima, but with a classic car designation - meaning that I will drive her in parades, to car meets, to and from maintenance appointments with the occassion drive about to keep her in fit form - cars are meant to be driven and if left just parked all sorts of things (flat spots on tires, thickening oil, etc) go wrong - will only cost me a total of....$55 a half. 

Thats right. 

This car will only cost me a $110 a year to cover everything including comprehensive, liability, etc and so on through a major mutuial insurance company.  I just can't use her for a daily driver.

Now if the damned thing would just get here!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Damsels of Design


Photo courtesy of the GM Photo Store at http://www.gmphotostore.com/  Now go buy a copy.
The women in this image were a team of 1950s talented GM automotive designers known collectively as the Damsels of Design. Back row - left to right are Sue Vanderbilt, Ruth Glennie, Harley Earl, Jeanette Linder, and Peggy Sauer. Front row - left to right are Marjory Ford Pohlman, and Sandra Longyear.

Yesterday I mentioned Peggy Sauer who was hired as a designer for Oldsmobile in the mid 1950s.  Peggy was part of a broader group, referred to as the Damsels of Design.  Harley Earl - GM's legendary Vice President of Design came up the idea and earl hired six women designers to add their input into the auto design world just as American's were accepting the idea that a two car family was going to be the norm, not the exception.

The women were given various tasks, and showed their talents, coming up with interior ideas, color combinations and suggestions for improved interior designs.

Unfortuntaly for Earl and the ladies, Earl's heir apparent Bill Mitchell didn't care for women in the mans world of auto design.  After Earl retired Mitchell and the "Damsels" parted company.  While Mitchell came up with some beautiful cars while Overlord of the design area, he did lay a couple two ton eggs that went a long way to damage GM's leadership, including the 1971 Buick Riveria, the 1974-76 Cadillacs and his swan song ode to pimps everywhere, the 1980 Cadillac Seville.

Monday, November 2, 2009

By appointment to her Majesty, the American Woman...

The 1955 and 1956 Dodge La Femme









Being that I am now the owner of a "Rose Mist" vintage car myself, I decided to go looking for other bits of automania from the 1950s and the 1960s that put the driver in the "pink" as it were.

I have known about the Dodge La Femme for years and seen one - just one - one time on the streets of Columbus about 25 years ago.  When I told my friend Jody it sent her into all consuming spasms of desire. 

And whats not to love?

The car was developed as a way of marketing to women at the time that most Americans - just not the well to do - were considering a second family car.  The thinking was, that cars were inherently male things, even though the men that drove them referred to them as "she" and "her", as in "she's a beaut!"

Oldsmobile (and did you know you rearrange that into spelling Slob Model if you lose the "i") actually went so far as to hire a woman named Peggy Sauer to their design team in the mid 1950s and marketed her as the female member of the design staff, which implied that poor Peggy was a token, and that she was given token work.  Poor Peggy.

SO the Dodge boys - a bunch of heterosexual brutes - came up with the idea that to make a car attractive to a woman, they had to "Fem" the damned thing out in "Fem" colors.  To make it ever so gay, they picked a total pallet of color that encompassed white, pink, orchid and another shade of orchid, and then some charcol (not black because that was a mans color) and then added in some gold trim for good measure.  All of this was splashed, bathed and applied to the regular old Dodge, and was christened the LaFemme, in script no less, just in case anyone got it wrong and thought that this was a mans car.

Inside the straight guys went even more over the top.  The figured that women expected a car to come with a matching parasol and raincoat, and a purse too.  Because that's what women want, right?

Wrong.  Its hard to sell a car in these colors just for a woman when the same colors are showing up on other cars.  And "pink", except for a few years in the 1950s simply isn't a popular car color, unless you're selling a lot of Mary Kay cosmetics.

Well, the car flopped, but it did so with great panache.  And , it turned out that women just wanted a car, and men didn't want to be seen driving the things.  So Dodge sold a few and then very quietly exited the business. 
Thank God for car collectors - else wise these cheery reminders of female oppression would have all gone to the trash heap. 

But if you see one, take a minute and really think about what it represents, and relish the moment.  These cars are rarer then rubies.  Just a handful survive.  And if you see a stout hearted fellow driving the thing, salute him.  "God love you!" call out, because that is something that the Dodge people never thought would be: a man with real balls to drive one.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Every halloween should be this scary











Very scary, very real stuff



Take a good look at the picture: it should scare you.

There will always be those who are convinced that if you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered, that there is something wrong with you. They prey upon people who are unhappy with their sexuality, and then try to tell them that one can “pray away the gay.” Exodus, which is an arm of Focus on the Family, is a program that “helps” LBGT people get over their attraction to people of the same sex. To Exodus, being gay is a matter of choice and/or external things that make someone gay. And to Exodus, gay is very, very bad.

But that isn't what makes this picture so scary for me.

The man in the picture is one John Paulk. John Paulk was the longtime “face” of Exodus. Before that, at one time, John Paulk was not only a friend of mine, but a neighbor as well.

Now, I am going to chose my words very, very carefully because we live in a litigious society, however I am not going to say anything that Paulk hasn't already said about himself during that 1983-1986 period. In fact you can read John's santitized life story in the Book Not Afraid to Change in which John takes great liberty with the truth and glosses over his escapades, but what he did to the people who cared about during those years at Ohio State.  All of what follows matches my journal and the community's collective memory from that era, and there are a lot of us who lived through "Huricandi John Paulk"

The John I knew was studying voice at OSU. He was also very dramatic. These two traits are very, very well documented.

The John I knew was very fun. In fact, John could be a riot. But John had a problem with boundaries. As a result, was he not only very gay, but John was also very unhappy as well. What made John happy was attention. He also dated a number of very attractive, very nice, men.

On the side, John also worked as a prostitute, and when that dish dried up, John turned to being a drag queen named Candi. John made an attractive drag queen and “Candi” frequented a bar on Columbus' east side named The Ruby Slipper. John's drag days, and nightly exploits are also very well documented.

John also had a very difficult time with the truth; to him, reality was what you made of it. And he liked to play with people – he was very good at mind games – he could be manipulative and frequently was.

So when John turned spokesperson for Exodus, I was the last person in the world who was surprised: the John Paulk I knew loved being center stage – and what is being more center stage than being one of the few and first pioneers that has converted to straight by accepting Jesus?

What did surprise me was that Exodus chose John to be its very public face. James Dobson is no piker – he is very adroit at making his arguments.  Dobson is very cunning and he is tops at being mercurial and rathful at those who cross him. But hiring John surprised me – I thought Dobson was a bit more savvy than that, and in time, Dobson got burned by John like a lot of us did. Although when John slipped up for Dobson, it was in a most spectacular fashion – very well documented by Wayne Beeson of the Human Rights Campaign. Wayne trapped John in front of people, in front of the press and he got photographs. As I said, well documented.

Even after he was re”outted” by Beeson, John was still out there pushing for Exodus cure (although Dobson sent him out only if he had minders on hand to catch John if he slipped again) and claiming that he was no longer gay.

Today he is “Chef John” in Oregon and according to his web site, very successful – one can see the drama in cooking, how every affair is opening night, no?  And even more fascinating is that John has managed to become an asexual success.  For the first time in a very long time, John is not profiteering off of the people he sleeps with, nor is making money talking about the people that he used to sleep with.  John deserves Kudos for that.

So why be afraid of this image and story? Because it is a reminder that there are people out there who not only give false hope, but people intent on doing the LBGT community great harm, and those people may or may not be who they say they are. And the damage that they do is great, not only to humanity but to those around them.  The numbers of people who were cured by Exodus only to relapse continues to grow. 

Time has changed many things. John has proven the axiom that once a pendulum swings in one direction, it will travel in an equal and opposite direction. John has done just that. Its only a matter of time before it swings back.

If there is a moral to this tale it is: to thine own self be true. Happiness is not found in being a poster boy for a cause, it is found in being honest to yourself with who you are. Embracing your sexuality is part of what makes us who we are. But you can't pray that part of yourself away, and Exodus clients have a very high rate of returning to who and what nature made them. And oddly, after the Exodus experience, they are relieved to find that the LGBT community is happy to have to back because we know what its like when you have to hide who and what you are. No one should have to go through that to win approval.

I wish John the very best that life has to offer. And I really hope he finds happiness. But I also hope that at some point in his life that finds it in his heart to apologize to the LGTB Community. He owes us that. He's used us from within, and from outside in his quest for acceptance. And I fear, he may yet try and us yet again.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boo



If this doesn't scare you, who knows what will.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Surely, it was kismet



This is one my most favorite images - my late friend Gary Barnhart shared this with me when I wrote my first book. The image is of aerialist Betty Fox and the Godino twins high atop the fabulous Hotel Harding in Marion Ohio during the wee years of the depression.  
Fox was in town after performing with a circus at the Marion Star Auditorium on North State Street. The Godino's were going to open for a vaudeville review at the fabulous new Palace Theater across the street from the hotel the following day. Betty was checking out and the twins (and their wives, who were twins as well) were checking in. Hotel Manager Virgil Dye seized the moment and hustled all five up to the roof to capture the moment, which parlayed into a postcard and sold in the hotel gift shop.

But who were these people and why is their meeting a star crossed moment in time?

Betty Fox was a true dare deviltrix. (Words are always elegant when you add the "trix" on the end to make them more feminine.) There isn't a lot about her out there today. When I called the Columbus Public Library and asked if they had information Betty, I got an immediate "she did what?" And when I said she was a pole sitter (like it says on the picture) the reference librarian launched into a "Sir, we don't have information on that topic..."

It took me another 90 seconds to get her calmed down.

I didn't know that "pole sitter" was a dirty term. I guess we both got some education on popular culture during that phone call.

Fox made an entire career of hanging out of buildings, walking across wires that birds thought were put there for them to perch upon, and sitting on flagpoles when that was the rage. She also had an act with Benny Fox (her husband or brother, no one seems to know for certain) in which the pair would do all of the popular dances of the day on a 2X2 square platform forty feet above the ground. She performed into the 1960s, and to my knowledge died at a ripe old age, and not from falling off of anything. She's what we would have called a survivor. God love her.

The Godino's were Siamese Twins (I know I should PC term of "conjoined twins" but its so antiseptic!) who were attached at the butt muscle; they shared no organs, or other systems. Today we'd just snip them apart, and make them a human interest story on the Nightly News.   But back then, in Manila you didn't fix these types of things: you abandon them, which is exactly what the parents of the infant twins did. Out of sight, out of mind, as they used to say. Well, the twins were adopted by well connected government official who pampered them. They grew up, married twins (the non conjoined type), and developed a stage act where they put on roller skating shoes and rolled across the stage and did figure eights on while playing Melancholy Baby and Glow Worm on their violins. They made a good living at it while it lasted. The curtain came down on the Godino's in 1935 the one twin got sick and died, and a few hours later, the other twin went.

My favorite Godino story though is the one about their driving exploits - I found it in a newspaper out of Philadelphia from the 1920s. Seems that the Godino's loved automobiles and they loved to drive. SO their adoptive father, God love him, bought them a car with a right hand steering wheel so Lucio could drive and and a second car with left hand drive so Simplico could have equal time behind the wheel (or is it the other was around); Daddy loved his twins and wasn't playing favorites. They were notoriously bad drivers, and terrified everyone in the capitol city as they sped through the streets driving Paris Style (using only the horn and the gas pedal) and eventually the Manila authorities took both cars away from them and forbade them from driving again.

Why?

Because they couldn't figure out how to arrest the bad driver without also arresting the innocent one in the passenger seat at the same time.

As Yule Brenner said, "it is a puzzlement."  See, siamese twins come full circle!

So for these people all to meet in Marion Ohio - it truly was Kismet.

Be careful what you wish for...


Because one day, it will be yours...

Memo from HR: What not to wear to work

Just in case you get the memo from HR on the fine line between Halloween fun and bad taste, may we gently remind each and everyone of you that even in costume this holiday season that while dressing to be fun doesn't mean that one also shouldn't forget to dress in such a fashion as to leave a good impression. Its good to be "kicky" but bad to get kicked out of work.

This young "lady", however did not get the memo and as a result has offended a great many people (only after they all rubbed their eyes and asked themselves "what the fuck?" and "are those nipples on her breasts?"). Our memo would also remind people that that in this era of cameras, cameras everywhere, that one should avoid having one's picture taken in such a costume lest it get posted somewhere.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Of Aunt Nan and Puny Chickens


My father was the youngest of seven, three boys and four girls. In order of birth there was Miriam, Nan, Maury, Betty, Evelyn, Standford and Marvin. My father and Stanford were twins. My father and all of his brothers and sisters are all gone now, my Aunt Lynn being the last to die in December 2008.

While I loved all of my family, I especially loved my Aunt Nan who spent her days exasperating us to no end. Nan never married, but she was the kooky aunt that every family longs to have. Some of us never have such Aunt; we had Nan, in spades.

It was Nan who stayed with my grandparents well into their old age and took care of them. It was Nan who played the piano and sang. In her youth she sang and danced in an all girl band named Roxy and Her Sailorettes (see below). She also was a pilot flying Curtis biplanes for vacationers out over Lake Erie back in the late 1920s when people from Cleveland would travel to Wickliffe, Willoughby and Mentor for the lake's beaches which, at the time, were pristine.

By the time I was born, Nan was almost sixty and the ravages of being a heavy smoker and polio as a child, combined with some other fuzzy physical maladies had left her rather withered.  Still, you couldn't say that she wasn't spunky. She cut quite a striking picture with her red hair under a scarf as she tooled around the neighborhood on Kenyon Road in a yellow and white 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible. 

She also proved to be a constant source of eye rolling for her niece and nephews who she loved, and pestered. It was Nan who taught me that if I didn't dry my hands powder dry after washing them that I would grow up to have red lobster claws because my hands would be chapped all of the time. To this day, I cringe every time I see a hot air drier in a restroom because your hands are never as dry as when you have paper towels. In the back of my mind, I am fearful that I will leave the bathroom with the hands right off of Rosemary's Baby. 

In 1995, following my fathers death, I started seeing more of Aunt Nan because we had ligation going against my fathers last wife, a woman who we either called "Shark" or the "Vilda Chaia" ("vil-da CHH-yaha" yiddish for “wild beast") depending on how charitable we felt towards her on any given day. Further endearing herself to us, Nan had also had a run in with the Shark the night before we buried Dad. Shark had called my mother a bitch to the Rabbi, when Nan signalled that she had had enough from my father's grieving widow by looking at her and uttering "Gey kukken afen yam," under her breath to Shark just loud enough for Shark to hear, but not so loud that the Rabbi could hear it.  (The translation being roughly "go shit in the ocean.")  Our diminutive Aunt showed her backbone in one glorious encounter by standing up to Shark and not backing down.

All this contact led to what we in the family refer to as the "puny chicken episode", which began when the family tried to quell her kvetching about the food at the home.

By the 1990, when Nan hit her 80's, she was living in Menorah Park, a senior citizens center serving Cleveland's aging Jewish community. She had her own apartment, but she ate with the other residents in the dining room for the company saying "I'll be alone when I die, why not enjoy the company while I'm still around."  After eating, she played Pinochle with her friends. But the food was real the sticking point.

“Honey,” she said to me once “for what we are paying for this we should have something better than what you could find at Mawby's,” which was a greasy spoon down on Cedar Road that had the best burgers in the world.

So the family pulled some strings and Nan would start getting something special to eat. We thought we had the problem solved, however all the better food did was raise suspicions among her neighbors and raise our collective blood pressure. She was still complaining, but mostly now because she had no idea what it was that they were putting in front of her.

“The spaghetti they served me was covered, Honey it was covered in this green stuff ...what did they call it Pistachio Sauce?  No that not it...Stu, Honey, they called it Presto Sauce or something like that...it must be freeze dried and whip it up quick; PRESTO!”

I explained to her that it was "Pesto" and told her what it was made of: basil, olive oil and pine nuts.

"They're putting pine cones in our food?  Won't Mr. Squirrel be mad at that?"

Oy!

"Well," she said, "It was good, but you know, Stu, Honey, you shouldn't serve a woman something thing like that in it...and I'm going to tell you why...because a lady's smile...a lady's smile, like I have...is the key to a man's heart, and with that Presto Pistachio sauce you end up...there is this this green smutz on your teeth," she said as she waived her hand around the area in front of her mouth, "and no man likes to look at a woman with spinich one her teeth...it ruins the illusion..." and on and on she went.

A couple weeks into this culinary expiriment, my phone rang. It was my brother and he was vexed.  "Your Aunt called...” and evidently she was not happy with the special attention, and he, having had enough of it, was not enjoying Aunt Nan's special attention of needling him.  So he had decided to momentarily disown "our" Aunt over the matter.

Then the call waiting went off: it was Nan. Ah, Serendipity. “Oh Stuey, your brother is upset with me...”

The long and short of it that Nan had been calling and was concerned about the special attention she was getting. Evidently the other residents were thinking she was too good to eat what they ate, and this was causing the "tsores".

“At cards today Minnie Kipperman was so upset with me that when we were partners, she KNOCKED, instead of making the correct bid!”

And back to my brother, “She calls everyday and all I want to do is fix it, and who the Hell is this Minnie Kipperman?” So I clicked back over to the other line and I told Nan there was the reason for special meals, and I asked her who Minnie Kipperman was.

“Special? Feh! The food they serve isn't fresh - a Holiday Inn would serve this drek. Honey, let me tell you that today they served me this sickly little roasted chicken. In all my years I have never seen such a puny chicken.” On and on she went on with the puny chickens. “In the middle of the Depression your grandmother never served anything like this sickly thing.”

And my brother confirmed that after hearing this he called the management company (he knew the President of the firm) who had arranged for Nan to get a Cornish Game Hen for her meal.

SO over I clicked to my Aunt -, who reminded me that it was impolite to keep two conversations going at once -  and told her that it was Cornish Game Hen, not an underfed run of the mill chicken.  This just set Nan off again.

“Game hen, shame hens! Such puny chickens! Look, Honey, your grandma could feed an army on a chicken and a pot of water.  But this! This sickly thing was so puny that even she couldn't make a cup of soup out of the miserable sickly thing...and what did it do to deserve this fate? Tell the cook that the sky was falling? Ich darf es vi a loch in kop! ”

The only way to fix this, was to break it again.  So we stopped the special meals and Nan went back on the regular diet.  This evidently also pleased one Minnie Kipperman, who went back to making her tricks at cards so who was the worse?  Things went back our version of normal. More importantly Nan went back to being Nan and the rest us found some peace in being used to Nan being Nan.

After Nan died my Uncle sent me her photo albums to scan. Included in which was a secret album of Nan in her youth. Always smiling, always having riotous fun. I'm glad she had those days, I wish I would could have known her then before her dotage. Still have I have my memories of the woman so would sing and dance, and Kvetch like nobody's business.

But in her honor, whenever we have Cornish Game Hens, I complain about the puny chicken before me. “Look at that sickly thing,” I'll say tsk, tsking all the while, "you couldn't make a cup of soup out of that!" And its almost, not quite, but almost like having her back with me again.

Aunt Nan, Singer, hoofer extraordinaire, Front & Center, ca. 1930

Friday, October 23, 2009

My heartthrob of the moment

If TBJ over Stirred Straight Up With a Twist can divert our attentions from the fabulous past with current beauty, then I call his Ryan Reynolds and up him one Carlos Ponce - ~swoon~









and my favorite because it shows him being an attentive (and divorced) father to his daughter at the pool:




Daddy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Confession



I have a confession to make.  When I was kid, I got picked on, a lot.  I think I was born with a sign on my forward that said TARGET ME.

Anyway, being the butt of jokes by other kids is no fun.  When I was younger and in a private school that focused on my dyslexsia, the son of the woman who owned Cotton Club also attended the school.  He ended up being the butt of a lot of jokes, and it was unfair in hindsight.  What makes me feel really bad was that I picked on him.  I knew it was wrong but it was empowering to my 12 year old mind to "think" that I was not bottom of the food chain.  That finally there was someone worse off than me. 

We taunted him, made fun of his weight, his face, his pimples, everything.  The kid couldn't win for losing.

The thing is, I enjoyed this bit of evil even though I knew it was wrong.  Someone how in the cosmic slice of existence, this was my revenge.  Or so I thought.

Out of the mob mentailty the idea of what we had done to him was never so satisfying as when we did it to him in a group.  And even then, what was our pleasure about anyway - we were all losers in the real world.  Hell, there wasn't a boy among us that wasn't the butt of jokes in our old schools.  Back then, the kids called dyslexics retards, and here we were doing the same thing, just cutting out the middleman and going right to "retard."

Whenever I see or hear the name Cotton Club, even if its a reference to the New York estblishment, my heart breaks a bit because I know what we did was not only wrong, but for my part, it was even more unforgivable.  Mark was never the loser that we called him - I, was loser at those moments.

If Mark made it to adulthood, I send him all my best and most sincere apologies for being a major dick.  I know I can't undo what I did to him, but I also know that I can't undo what it did to me, either.

Miss Dona

Have you ever had a “user” in your life? Not a druggie or a drunk who use drugs or booze to make it through life. I'm talking about a true USER – someone who uses other people to get what they want out of life, which is power and control. USERS thrive on fresh blood of a passing parade because after a while, people get board with them. And with a USER its never their fault, its always everyone else's fault. A true USER is by profession, a victim of the unfair world around them.


Most of us are smart enough not to get trapped by these emotional harpies. However when a friend gets sucked into their vortex, and we love our friends more than we value our own peace of mind, these soulless maniacs can trap us and use us for their pleasure. The sane person chalks these encounters up to life and moves on. I'm not that sane. Well I'm sane enough to walk away from the crazy person, but on some level, I still feel that these people owe me an apology for treating me so rudely.

Such is the case for one Miss Dona (no last names – please - but it does sound a lot like a terrible word thrown at Jewish people by idiots and bigots), a leach who latched herself years ago onto a dear friend.

Dear friend (henceforth, DF) is my friend from high school who is a free spirit in every sense of the word, and that is why she is my DF. There is not a bad bone in her body. That is not to say that she isn't bright, smart, witty and charming – she is and more. But somehow she got sucked in to Miss Dona's vortex and that was that.

And Miss Dona was something else. In the mid 1980s she moved to Columbus from Florida ("just because," she said) and circulated a xerox pamphlet with all of the things that she demanded in a girlfriend. And she was unbelievably cruel – a textbook psycho fashion – which she switched on and off at whim. She could be charming, but she took great glee in being vicious and emasculating.

Like all story book wicked witches she flew about on a broomstick (actually she drove about in an ugly little French car with very, very appropriate vanity plates) that left a trail of a sulfur-ish odor wherever she went. Le Car, not so Le Hot.  She was not a small woman – and shaped like a bosc pear – but she had no fashion sense. Her wardrobe was limited to white and black which meant black pants, white blouse or black pants and black sweater.  Her feet were always clad in black "jazz shoes".  Her hair, dyed black (to match the bleakness of her attitude, and fake like who she was) was close cropped on the sides and curly on top with ringlets much like thousands of black mousse abused snakes.  Her skin was deathly pale. I think she justified her pallor as being akin to a pale British Rock Star, but she looked more like a fat figurine from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. Hey, this was the 1980s and she was styling - and she would tell you that.

For fun, she played all manner of tricks on me and every other person she met who did curry her favor.  This delighted her and humiliated those of us on the receiving end, which made her all the more manic. In yiddish, we would call her a vildya chyia - a wild beast - something uncontrollable, esily excited and impossible to tame, part of the time.  But a minute after going off on a tyraid *switch* and Miss Dona would become a semi rational if not opinionated bitch.  Being around was like walking on broke glass - you knew that you were going to get hurt, you just never knew how.

In my case, when it had progressed to the breaking point on my end, DF suggested that the three of us have dinner so I could get to know Miss Dona. So I offered to make dinner. On my meager student budget, I was able to afford three servings of the meal, which I made from scratch. On the evening of dinner DF came over and said that we had a problem: Miss Dona had invited one of her friends over for dinner as well without letting DF or I know in advance. I was at a loss because 1) this was supposed to be a “stress free” dinner with just the three of us, and 2) I found it rude. When Miss Dona learned from DF that I only had food for three, not four, Miss Dona called me on the phone (from DF's apartment across the courtyard) insisted that I serve DF, Miss Dona and Miss Dona's friend the meal because thats what a good host does. Now, if I had liked Miss Dona (as in she she wasn't such a total BITCH) I would have suggested just that. However what she said was:“My friend drove into town to see me and I will not ask him to wait while we attend this arranged dinner party of yours – a good host takes care of their guests first and their own needs later.”

And I would have held my tongue because DF meant so much to me. But after months of being treated by this woman as a doormat, the butt of her jokes and the dog that she treated me like all the while kicking me in the self esteem, something inside of me snapped.

“I'm not operating a restaurant for your guests, and I will not be your servant in my home.”

Ooops!  Never jab an angry skunk!

Miss Dona was offended and she let me have it in a selection of words that polite people do not repeat. Hell, people on Jerry Springer don't repeat these words. OK, here's one phrase she used on me: Ass Clown.

And that was that.

Soon thereafter DF, still smitten with Miss Dona moved in with Miss Dona, in an apartment that was then in a neighborhood that would one day be up and coming. I was invited over once with just DF at home, arrived with a house warming present, which I learned later that Miss Dona had thrown in the garbage.

Shortly there after, DF and Miss Dona broke up, but not because Miss Dona pitched my present.  DF broke up with Miss "AssClown" because DF is nobody's fool and inevitably, Miss Dona failed to recognize that she had used all of her good will up. Oddly, I learned of this from Miss Dona who answered the phone one day to announce to me that she and DF had broken up and then tried to start snarling about what DF had done to Miss Dona.

“Do you know what she did to me?” she asked. “Well???” she demand.  Suddenly, she became the victim.  And suddenly, she exposed her cowardness.

For a minute I thought over everything that I could say to her. I could have said that for months I had begged DF to smother her in the middle of the night, but how I was doubtful that something like could have worked because everyone knows you can't kill the undead. Or about how I had never liked her in the first place. Or the chickens had come home to roost.  

I could have kicked when she was down, but she never would have learned a lesson, or become a better person.  What was even the point of trying to deal rationally with an irrational mind.

Instead, I simply said that, no, I would prefer to speak with DF, who was my friend. Good luck. Good bye. Write when you find work. And I hung up.

I still have DF and I am grateful. But I still feel like Miss Dona owes me an apology for everything in the past. But I'd sooner win the Pulitzer Prize than get an apology from Miss Dona.

My friend Alice told me once that "hurt people hurt people". And its true. At some point in her life, Miss Dona probably was hurt and she lashes out at anything and everything because soul has been replaced with shear, unbridled Hitlerlike rage.

And reading her current web page, it tells me that Miss Dona now resides in newly lean body - reborn from gastric by-pass. She is also not a lesbian anymore, but instead enjoys beating men for sexually pleasure. She thinks she is "unrecognizable", the fat cruel control freak has turned into a thin cruel control freak.  She is an exercise junkie – her site demands that others follow MUST her exercise regimens - DO IT! The better news is that she has already found the perfect mate – she is as in love with herself as Narcissus was with himself.

I know that I will never get the apology that I deserve from Miss Dona.  I step on your your toe, I am going to say I'm sorry.  Thats just the way I am.  But when Miss Dona steps on your toe and its your fault for not getting your feet out of the way fast enough.  That just the way she is.

And that is because people like Miss Dona are so fucking "flawless" in their own minds that it is impossible for them to ever not step on someone's toes, let alone crush someone else's self esteem.  In their minds, USERS like Miss Dona view the hurt feelings of others as caused by their own personal weakness, not be anything that she could say or do.

So if you see a white Le Car with vanity plates and a madwoman behind the wheel, run fast.  Your very life could depend it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Decision

This week I had to have the discussion with the vet that every dog owner dreads. My 16 year old Jack Russell Terrier, Bertie, has been in declining health over the past year and I have made “the decision” but am unsure as to when it will take place.


Up until this past week I knew it was coming, but last Thursday she was bitten by something (a mite or a spider) and the area under her swelled up like a pelican's beak. She was in no pain, eat like a horse and was normal in every other regard that a 16 year old dog can be. We decided not to do MedVet because just walking in the door there is $300. She wasn't in distress, so we weren't worried.

So we took her to the vet (a floater, not her normal vet) and described everything that was going on and found that we spent more time talking about what she couldn't do any longer that she used to do. He eye site is gone, her hearing is shot.  She's develped a limp and navigating the stairs is difficult.  She's also lost much of her personality - going from an energetic pup to lost old woman. 


And we talked about how my husband found her in the basement, lost, on one night and spent the night sitting in a cold cellar, alone and unsure of what to do or where she was. I should point out that we have no door to the steps to the basement and she has never gone down to the basement in her entire life.

The vet took blood samples, did a full work up and $300 later told us that her organs were fine and strong.

But the idea that she got lost in her own home prompted me to have the talk with her regular vet on Monday.

My Vet is a sweet man, and he listened. We talked about what days he does the procedure. We talked about the cremation. We talked about who performs the cremation, and what are my options for the ashes. And we talked about how I need it to happen – that I will drop her off, tell her I will get her in a week and leave.  And true to my word I will pick her up a week later and then give myself some time to decide what to do with her ashes.

“There are going to be a number of people who will criticize you for not being with her, but you know her, you know you, and you have to remember to listen to inner voice because its the right thing to do for both of you,” he said.  "There is no right way, no wrong way.  Just work the decision through.  I'll be here."

I have had people tell me that I should have it done at home. That I should be with her. And that I am a bad person for choosing not to be there.

But what none of these people can ever understand is how much I love her, how much I have done for her and how much she has done for me, and what is the best way to do this for both of us.

So now we wait for the moment when lets us know that the time has arrived, that she's tired, and that its time to move on. And the waiting is the worst part.

Making the decision to love a pet enough that you need to let go when life becomes a stranger to them is a hard choice to make. She's been my little girl for 16 years. I don't know how I will go on after the time comes, but go on I will because that is what life is all about. And one day after she's gone I'll know that I did what was best, what was hardest and what I need to do to move on.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jimmy, do you ever dream about gladiators?





There once was a time when high school students put some effort into being creative for their high school projects. Hail Ceaser! Indeed.
 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Self loathing





One of the major hurdles that people like myself had to overcome when we came out in the early 1980's was the whole legacy of negative media stereotypes for gay people.  Luckily guys and girls today who are coming out have a different social climate that we had back then.  We didn't have it as bad as those who came before us. And who knows, maybe I'll live to see the day were people won't need to "come out" - people will just be accepted without there even having to be a revelation made about who they choose to be attracted to.

But, for those of us who remember them, "books" like these were, for a number of us our first encounter of what life was like for gay guys.  We can laugh about them now, but if you were a teenager in the 1960s or 1970s and didn't know any better, these books were at once a revelation and a sign of doom to come. 

These books had no happy endings, no normal people - these were about the most extreme stereotypes sex starved doing stereotypical things, all the while, mincing, prancing and skipping through an empty life.  And they were never proof read before they were published.  Riddled with errors, we believed that life was nothing but episodic sex and misplaced apostrophes.

Still, it is good for us to periodically remember that everything hasn't always been mainstream - and most importantly - that WE should control how we are portrayed in the media, not fashion our lives and outlooks to how the media portrays us.