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


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.


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 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?"


"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 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 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:


Thursday, October 22, 2009


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.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

November in October

"No sun - no moon! No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member - No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!
- November!"
~ Thomas Hood

Hood wrote that in 1844, but it fits October 15, 2009 to a "T"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Its Federal Holiday Season, hooray!!!

Suffering from Seasonal Affective Depression, I loathe fall because it means less sunlight, and horrific memories of returning to Mercer School or Byron Junior High in Shaker Heights.

On the other hand, there is a bright spot that begins today: Federal Holiday Season has begun!

What is Federal Holiday Season? Beginning today, Columbus Day, through Presidents Day (third Monday in February) the following Federally observed holidays mean either long weekends, or days off: Armistice Day (aka Veterans Day) November 11th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day. That means at least three, three day weekends (October, January, February) and then floating days off, depending when the others fall.

My career track has closely aligned itself with the days that the Federal Reserve System processes EFT, ACH and drafts (checks). If the Fed is closed, we are closed at work. Its a nice little thank you to those of us who hate this time of the year.

So I'm sleeping in today, going get my few hairs cut and lounge about with the dogs. See ya tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Periodically anachronistic is open

or a long time, I have been doing faux magazine covers for a variety of web sites, and when I saw Muscato & Dona Lethel's BRILLIANT Dowager Quarterly, it got me thinking, and that lead to creating a series of magazine covers for periodicals that never were, but should have been. Rather than roll that material into this blog, which is a hodge podge of sorts, I decided to concentrate these works into their own stand alone blog, which I have named Periodically Anachronistic.

Below is a sample of what I plan to unleash on the world. Enjoy!

"Of all of the Alcott's, only Louisa May understood that just as there should be a place for everything, and everything in place, so it should be with great unwashed, as advocated in New England's premier periodical for snobs and snobbery."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Breakdowns of 1940, part 1

Dear, dear Muscato. He found this series on you tube and I dug in and found this reel of bloopers from 1940. The scene with the maid making her entrance caused me to laugh out loud.

And if you haven't paid a visit to Cafe Muscato, please do. He's ever so nice and terribly exotic.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bond clothing building, Cleveland

Cleveland Memory Project, Clay Herrick Collection
Cleveland State University
This was the Bond Clothing Store at Euclid and East Ninth in downtown Cleveland, taken sometime in the late 1970s, I suppose based on the empty streets. The Bond name is best known today for its iconic store on Times Square, which was frequently caught by movie camera's in the 1940s.

The Bond Company was established by Charles Anson Bond, a brash young man who came to Columbus Ohio at the turn of the 20th century with his wife and family, and he opened up a men's shop. Bond was a natty dresser, and had a head for business. Somehow he ended up running for Mayor of Columbus and won, much to the surprise of the Columbus' establishment. His victory was tinged with tragedy. Within weeks of the election Bond's wife Blanche died in childbirth - the still born baby was buried in the arms of Mrs. Bond in Greenlawn Cemetery. Bond's term was disappointing as well. City father's refused his plans for a Columbus with sweeping boulevards and grand vistas as detailed in the 1908 plan for the city. After two years, Bond returned to his clothing stores and parlayed the one store into many throughout the nation, becoming the first chain store specifically devoted to men's fashion. Bond remarried and he and his second wife raised his two children from his first; the couple also had a son, Charles Anson Bond II.
This Bond store in Cleveland was really one of the final gasps of the company trying to remain relevant in downtown shopping. The building was mod, even by 1950's standards, and had it been built in any place but Cleveland it would be at the center of a downtown Renaissance. But not Cleveland. Now, Cleveland allowed this great piece of optimism to fall to the wreckers ball and get replaced with another boring building. Yawn.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ZAYRE you are: Northfield Road 1965

If spelling was ever my forte, it would have been when I was three. According to my mother that was when I learned to spell Z A Y R E, the first word that I learn to spell. I remember the sign, which was HUGE and I remember that I was fascinated that a word began with "Z". The letters lit up one after another and then it blinked the whole word. I imagined that giants - and that could be the only solution in my little eyes - put those letters up there. So going to ZAYRE was a very big deal in my pea picking sized childlike brain.

Hell, back then going anywhere was a big deal.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We interupt our regularly scheduled programming...

You know you are getting old when you remember when television stations would sign off each day with this test pattern. With the invention of 24-hour TV, there are more and more people running about who think that this is some sort of joke. "Did they really show this on TV? Why? Didn't they have any informercials back then?"
But the test pattern did several things. It allowed TV-stations (that's what we had before "channels") to calibrate their cameras, after the Late Late Early Late Show with Lillian Gish ended. This tested their their output and put something on the screen to tell people to "GO TO BED." It usually followed by a couple hours of static, during which the unsettled beings on another dimension would coax small girls named Carol Ann to cross over into their world. Then, as if magic, Dave Garroway would appear with a chimp to wish you "Good Morning" and you knew that it was time to let reality back into your life.
Of course this classic fell out of favor when TV joined the real world of living color, and then the wole idea of a test pattern went the way of the Dodo when cable came about.
So if you day gets to overwhelming, just stare into the pattern and tell yourself that your need to recalibrate your world, and then meditate for a few seconds. When you come to, this will be staring you in the face. Arise and feel fresh as a peppermint patty.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Who is to say who is and who is not beautiful? To me, physical beauty in someone's face is when the right elements get together. They need not be perfect, but all the elements have to work well, and the result has to be something unique. Its one thing to to be pretty, it is something else to have an attractive face that is unique, a face that one would encounter in real life.
Such was Capucine. Look at her face. The parts work together, but it is the slight flaw in her upper lip that elevates her from pretty, to beauty. It gives her pursed lips a wonderful expression.
Her film roles should have been better - she is best known in the states for her supporting roles in The Pink Panther and What's Up Pussycat (in which she wears the most perfect "A" line tangerine dress.) Her end was tragic - by her own hand. Still we have the pictures, moments of beauty captured on film.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

My Father
My father and I had a terrible relationship. Like a boy holding a chick, tighter and tighter, the chick trying in vain to get away, the grip became tighter and tigher until one crushed the other. In someways I really believe that he wanted me to know how much he loved me, but ever time he tried to make the point it just made me recoil. He crushed my spirit, but I survive.
If we shared anything, it was that we loved each other, but we didn't like one and other.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Another week, another race won

Congrats on making it to the weekly finish line!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy birthday Mom!

Your secret* is safe with us!
*and if we told you, you wouldn't believe it.