Monday, April 29, 2013

Culture Corner: A Tale of 37 Blueboys

I was talking to Donna Lethal on the phone yesterday about the trip to Southern California that the husband and I will be taking in the next few months and I mentioned that I had to go to the Huntington Museum to look over some documents in their library.

"Oh," said our Ms. Lethal, "Blue Boy is there!"

I started to giggle and as I told her, I shall tell you.

Way back in time - 1982 to be exact - I was trapped at a really wretched college in southeast Ohio.  Actually, its a great school, but it is not a place where Cookie thrived.  Anyway, my mother came out to get me so I could get out of that God forsaken place for the long weekend and to my surprise, she brought my beloved high school friend Kathy along for the ride.  Kathy had gone to college in the Carolina's and was home for stay.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to see her.

So on the way back home, Kathy explains to me that since her parents had split up, she would be staying with her father in a place that he had rented about three blocks from their old house.

Kathy explained that her father had rented a fully furnished house from a coworker whose mother fell and was in a nursing home.  Rather than leave the house empty, her father was renting it and the price was right.  "But you have to see the inside - this place is a trip."

So we get to my house, I get my car out of mothballs, and I take Kathy home.  From the outside, the house was a tiny two bedroom bungalow on a postage stamp size lot.  Modest is an understatement, but it was neat as a pin.  "Now I want to remind you that it is exactly as the old woman left it."    We get to door, she has me close my eyes, and I enter, open my eyes, and Reader, when I tell you I was stunned speechless I mean just that.

Furnished in cheap Louis XVI, the carpet and walls looked they hadn't been touched since Truman was in office.  But the walls!  The walls were covered - every square inch - with small pictures of every size of  ornate plastic and dime store wooden gilt frames with small copies of 17th and 18th century European rococo art inside of them.

And Gainsborough's Blueboy, and the lesser known Pinkie, were everywhere - there must have been twenty copies in the living room alone.  In the dining room, the same thing.  Both bedrooms, too.  The only two rooms that escaped her devoting to copies of fine art  that you could buy with trading stamps where the kitchen and that bathroom.

And the place smelled of grandma, too - the place wreaked of Dejr Kiss dusting powder and it overwhelmed your sense of smell.

From the baseboards to the ceiling, hundreds of frames from 5"x7"'s down to miniatures on the table tops, were prints of zaftig women being visited by cherubs, dutch men signing documents  lords and ladies posing, people sharing bread and wine, cherubs in clouds - but the copies of Blue Boy stood out.   It was the Louvre of cheap art and kitsch.  It was like drowning in Woolworth's.

"There are at least ten Blue Boy's in my room alone.  Six in dad's room."

All I could muster was a "What the fuck?" because the walls were starting move on me.

"She evidently loved collecting art, and her daughter said that she would save her Buckeye Stamps and her green stamps and would order this stuff from the catalog.  She wanted to go to Europe to see great paintings, and this is as far as it got.  An homage, gone terribly, terrible awry."

Kathy explained that the reason why her father got the deal on the place was that he couldn't take any of it down, because the daughter was afraid that one day Mom would want to go back home and no one felt confident that they could get it all back up exactly as the woman's mother left it.

So we did what we could to cope.  We got stoned.  This lead to us counting the Blue Boy images and the Pinkie images. And a lot of giggling.  After a while you really didn't notice it.  And the Dejr Kiss also went away.

When I got home, bunny eyed and all, my mother asked where I had been and why did I smell like an old lady.  I thanked my mother for her loved minimalism and went to get something to eat.

During the summer break I spent a lot of time with Blueboy and Pinkie, but the best was being there when someone new saw the pictures and the expressions on their faces.

That fall Kathy and her father moved to North Carolina, and the old woman died that winter in the nursing home.

The following spring, my mother told me that she had gone to an estate auction at a house but left after looking over the boxes.  "I think someone who lived there had an emotional problem.  Boxes and boxes of that painting Prissy Percy.  Why would someone want Prissy Percy around them all the time I'll never know. Shhesh!"

When I told Donna this she said "this is the type of thing that people out here would pay money to see."  We started to giggle.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I now regret not taking pictures of the place.  But I haven't seen anything like it since, and haven't really noticed anyone having a copy of the Blue Boy on their walls since either.

Anyway, when I visit the Huntington, this will be the first time in a very long time that I will come face to face with Blue Boy hanging on a wall.  I wonder if I'll giggle, I wonder if I'll get the munchies.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I was right about John Paulk, and I knew I would be

Paulk running away from Wayne Beeson's Camera in 1997

John Paulk is at it again.  Running away from something that he proclaimed was the truth.

We should all be very aware of who he is and what his track record is, because he is a shape shifter, and all others be damned.

In 1983 I lived in an apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio called Alhambra Court.  I lived in the north building, looking south.  And John Paulk lived in the south building looking north.  Our balconies looked onto each other and I met him about a month after moving in.

John and I pal'd around a bit, then he got squirrely.

Then he got hostile.  Then he mercifully moved away.

And all this time I have been watching John on the big screen of life.

In a nutshell, this is what John has been up to since the fall of 1983:

1) He is a voice student at The Ohio State University
2) He is gay.
3) He is not a prostitute, he is an "escort"
4) He "borrows" things from people.
5) He lies to his friends.
6) He is not a drag queen.
7) He wears his mother's clothing to gay bars.
8) He becomes a drag queen and uses the name Candy.
9) He appears at a club called the Ruby Slipper in Columbus Ohio.
10) He burns bridges.
11) He surrenders his life to Jesus Christ.  He is Born Again.
12) He sheds his gay lifestyle.
13) He becomes the heterosexual that he always wanted to be.
14) He gets married to a reformed Lesbian who has discovered her heterosexuality.
15) He appears on Oprah! as someone who has shrugged off the gay mantle.
16) He gets involved with Focus on the Family's "Exodus" program of religious based reparative therapy.
17) He (and his wife) appear on the cover of Newsweek promoting "the cure" and their marriage.
18) He becomes the face of Exodus International in full page newspaper ads.
19) He sits on the Board of Exodus International.
20) He writes a book (actually its "as told to") called Not a Afraid to Change.
21) He publicly and frequently testifies about how he prayed away the gay to packed rooms.
22) He travels to Washington DC for such a meeting and on the sly enters Mr. P's Bar in DuPont Circle.
23) He tells men his name is John Clint, but leaves out the "Paulk" for he is well known in the gay community.
24) He gets busted hustling drinks by Wayne Beeson.
25) He is called back to Colorado Springs, where his boss James Dobson demands the truth.
26) He claims it wasn't him.
27) Dobson wants the truth.
28) Paulk admits it was him, but that it will never happen again.
29) Dobson puts him back on the road, but with minders to keep him on the straight and narrow.
30) Paulk leaves Exodus.
31) Paulk becomes a chef in the Northwest.
32) Paulk, while apparently still married, is apparently dating men.

But here is our dilemma:  Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. And in 1997, I wrote for a piece in the Gay People's Chronicle about Paulk:

"If the Christian right wing sleeps better at night safe in the comfort that people like John Paulk are there to defend their ideals and promote the "Exodus cure," then I would advise them to start sleeping with one eye open. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I predict that John Paulk will yet recreate himself again when this folly, like the ones before, runs its course."

For every action, there is a reaction.  And frankly, I have to hand it to him, he held out for 15 years.  But the jig is up.

So number 33 on my list above now reads: Paulk admits that Exodus and reparative therapy doesn't work and issues an apology for all the hurt he has caused.

Everything in this list can be found, either in John's book, Wayne Beeson's book, or in an internet search. John is a very public person and he and his life are exceedingly well documented.  He loves being on the center stage.  He loves the attention.  He can't help himself.  It is his compulsion.  And no matter what he does, what he says, the attention is like a drug and he lives for it.

As I warned the Fundies, and now to the gay community, do not be lulled into complacency.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and if we welcome him and accept this "apology" we will pay a price for it.  He is saying this for his own gain, for the rest of us its a zero sum game.  And he is not someone we want on our team in this social tug of war.

Instead I say, sit back and watch. Something is bound to happen with John Paulk.  It always does.  And there is a pretty good chance that when it does none of us will be surprised.  And we'll all say "I told you so."  Because John Paulk is always running away from something. Always.

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

GIANT is on TCM tonight

Rock was just hoping beyond hope that James's fist was pumping on something else of Rock's, I bet. 

This evening, TCM will air James Dean's third and final movie, GIANT.

Giant is based upon the book of the same name by Edna Ferber, and if you are like me and get very tired of the Texans who act like their shit don't stink, then this is a movie for you.

In a nutshell, Rock Hudson marries a non Texan (Elizabeth Taylor) and takes her home to his cattle ranch where she meets his insane sister, Mercedes McCambridge.   Liz discovers that her new husband and his sister treat the Latino and Latinas like they are children.    Liz spend the rest of the movie dealing with her husband, his people, an economic change and a social transformation, which comes at the end.

James Dean plays the man that Rock treats like shit, and then Rock sucks up to.  No idea who sucked who on the set, but Rock would have liked to have a bit of James Dean, me thinks.

While it may not be good Texas - and Texan's hated this movie when it came out - it is great Hollywood.

My only complaint is that in writing the script the gave the weight of Elizabeth's confident to Jane Withers, who plays Vashti Hakey as a female oaf.  In the book, Vashti is a bit of a Texas stereotype written as a socially awkward woman who grew up thinking she was going to marry Rock Hudson's character. Also in the book is Adarene Clinch, the sensible Texas good wife Elizabeth's confident.  In the movie they are one in the same, but buffoonish.  (Adarene Clinch gets demoted to a walk on role that was played by Mary Ann Edwards.)

Giant's interior set is also something of an icon - the grand stair case leading to twin galleries on the second floor.  In Giant, the stair's are adorned with a large window.  When the same staircase was reused for the interior of the of the VanTrapp mansion, it was changed from brown to gray, and the window replaced by the Villa's front door. Interesting how they reuse things.

Still, its fine cinema and worth while, especially when Rock Hudson's Bick Benedict becomes his own man at the end of the film.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Make your Earth Day an Eartha Kitt Day

TJB tells us that he has slathered his lean taut body with bronzer in honor of Ms. Kitt.

How will you celebrate?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A minor miracle on eBay

Last Monday I received an envelope from a seller on eBay.  I was going to write about the contents, but the Boston Marathon Bombing happened, and other things got in the way, so this post got shoved to the side.

Anyway, the envelope contained two Carte d'Viste photographs, each from its own auction, and each unmarked save for the name of the photographer.  The seller used the headline "CDV of Pretty lady from Ohio" on one of the pictures, and the other said "CDV of lady in stripe dress from Ohio".

Sellers do this all the time.  There have to be millions of images of forgotten people floating around the world and they turned up in antique malls, ephemera sales and online auctions. As was the case with these, only the name of the photographer and the town were marked on the backs of these.  So they sell them as "pretty lady" or "handsome man" or "instant ancestor" and hope that collector of pictures, or local history, or even someone desperate for a pedigree will place a bid.

So about fourteen days ago I was cruising through eBay while sitting in an Eat n' Park in Wheeling West Virginia when two sales got my attention real fast.  I always scan the site for anything having to do with my home town - genealogy and history is me - when "CDV of lady in stripe dress from Ohio" not only caught my eye, but also grabbed my attention, and only because I have the same picture, with my grandmother's handwriting.

The woman in the striped dress was my grandmother's maternal grandmother, Rebecca.

Now the Husband has often said that if anyone finds a family picture on eBay, it would be me.  Well, this proved him right.

Now, I know where ever descendant of this woman is, and that includes the ones that my mother claims she didn't know about and that includes her children from her first marriage. I know this because I spent twenty years looking for her date of death and place of burial.  My grandmother died when I was ten, so I couldn't ask her, and my mother, who I adored was a bit of narcissist - if she hadn't known someone, they didn't exist.  And remember, she was the one who wanted into the DAR because they served delicious cookies and hot coffee.

Anyway, twenty years is a long time to stalk a dead woman, but I eventually found her death certificate in the correct state, found her death notice and found her unmarked grave.  And no one deserves that fate. So then, according to the Prosecutor back home, to get her name and dates on the marker I had to track down every known descendant and get them to agree to it, which I did.  And the marker got carved, and she was no longer lost to time.

What I had learned about her was that she married twice, once to man who used her to raise his children from his first two marriages, do his laundry, have two more children and when he abandoned her he took their oldest boy who never saw his mother or brother again.  Without a penny, she was awarded a divorce in 1865.  She was poor and divorced with a son to raise.  So she married my great great grandfather, a man who beat her, breed her and abused her son from her first marriage, making him sleep in the barn year round.   And when the bastard died, he left no means of support for her.

So she did what any woman would do with eight mouths to feed in Ohio in 1890 - she married her daughter off into a good family to a man twice her age.  Luckily for everyone, my great grandfather adored my great grandmother, and he took care of her family as it was his own.

After I got over my chill, I checked the seller for another family picture, and found "pretty lady with a somber look" was my great grandfather's (see paragraph above) step-mother Amanda.  This was a picture that I didn't have, but but a third cousin did have, so I knew for sure who it was.

I bid on both and held my breath.  Both images sold for under $5.00 dollars and the seller combined shipping.  They arrived on Monday afternoon.

Amanda, my maternal grandmother's paternal step grandmother on the left and
Rebecca, my maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother on the right.

Seller told me that he got them as part of a box at an estate sale in South Carolina, but that these were the only ones from all of Ohio.  Because I know the entire genealogy, I'm pretty sure who's auction that these came from - a second cousin (Pam) who got involved in a snake handling preacher and wouldn't talk to any sinners in the family unless they came to her husband to be baptized.  

"Fat chance of that," said my mother the year before Mom passed away.

"She threw her Marcella's ashes (Mom's only first cousin, and Pam's mother) in the trash, and told her sister that she had scattered them.  I told her that was illegal, and do you know what she said to me? 'Only if you get caught.'  I wouldn't let her use my toilet if it was the last powder room on earth."

Seems that Pam's daughters followed in their mother's footsteps and also threw these two pieces of their heritage away.  Here's hoping karma gets them.

And gratefully, a higher power has appointed me to find their toss outs and restore them to family - it was my personal miracle for April.  Lets just hope that I don't find Cousin Marcella's ashes, or worse, have them make me sneeze.

If its all the same to you Lord, let's just stick with the pictures.

Friday, April 19, 2013

To better times.

The husband's family is in the Boston Metro area and this past week have been very stressful.

I know the in-laws are safe, but at 91 and 89 I have to wonder what this is doing to them.  My brother in laws's mother lived in Watertown, but we haven't heard anything.  No news is good news.

AND to add insult to injury, I popped a case of diverticulitis last night and am in physical pain.

So I am going to take the dogs to daycare and hunker down here.  Things will get better and they will get this man.  But this isn't easy to live through.

No fun.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Neighborhood meeting agenda item: How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?

I am happy to report that minutia seems to be the universal topic of neighborhood association meetings.

Spent the better part of the the afternoon at a neighborhood meeting were we debated waves of issues on various topics, however all of them somehow ended up being about the little shit.

Old woman in a wheel chair: "I would like to put the motion on the floor that owners of cats be responsible for their pets obscene meowing and provocative mating behaviors."

Old man with dying hearing aid battery: "What did you say, Helen?"

Recording secretary: "I didn't get the name of the person who said that."

President: "Said what."

Recording Secretary: "That last thing said."

President: "About the cats?"

Recording Secretary: "No, who said 'What did you say, Helen?'"

President:  "That was Merle, Helen's husband."

After two hours I left.

As I am not normally one who would have a cocktail on a school night, I need it after sitting through two hours of that.  And it's still going on!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Picture challenge: Write the personal ad for this picture

From the "Celebrities Made Under" - a project to make celebrities look like real people we bring you that international superstar, Madonna as she could look if she were a normal run of the mill Wal Mart shopper

Your challenge is to write a personals ad for the woman in this picture.  What would be Madonna's aspirations, hobbies and avocations if she were the woman in the picture?

Friday, April 12, 2013

For Muscato: Dowager Quarterly

This is from my blog Periodically Anachronistic, which I have to start adding too.  I kinda stopped when this who transfer thing started and haven't been inspired to return since, but I should.

Anyhow, Muscato and Donna Lethal turned me onto this magazine.  Love the ladies ads.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I want this

I wonder if he played this while he and little buddy were hammocking...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

From Farm to Moorish Fanstasia

Nice place, eh?

This was once the home of Mervin Jeremiah Monnette and his first wife Adelaide.  Mervin was/is my great great great uncle.

Mervin, not his sibling - from which Cookie is descended from - made a fortune and lost a fortune, and then made another fortune.  Just when life was looking good, he got the gold twitch in the early 1900s.  So he sold his farm in Nebraska and went west to Nevada.  There he met a Mr. Hayes.  Mr. Hayes had been studying the Mohawk Mine near Goldfield, Nevada.  The Mohawk was played out, but Hayes was convinced that there was more there.  Hayes couldn't afford the lease on the mine, and Mervin Monnette could.  So the two formed a partnership - and a back breaking job was undertaken.

And the hunch came in - big time.  The Hayes-Monnette (or Monnette-Hayes, depending on who you asked) partnership hit the single largest vein of gold in Nevada history to that date.   The gold ore shipped from that initial strike in 1906 was the single largest gold ore shipment in the United States History.

And with his share of the proceeds, Mervin bought Adelaide this house on Los Angeles' Western Avenue.   When they purchased the house, it had been built by the seller who found it to large for his needs.  And at that time, Western Avenue was still residential.

The design of the house can't be classified.  While it has Spanish  influences, the tower is defiantly Moorish.  My mother used to tell me that her grandmother - who visited it once - said that it was designed in the "Alamo" style.  And if you strip the front of the colonial Spanish gable of its Victorian bay windows, you can kind of see the Alamo influence.  But even I think that was pushing it.

The Monnette's were joined in California by their only living son, Orra E. Monnette who left his law practice in Toledo to help his father do something with the money from their mining haul.

Orra invested the money in banks in Los Angeles, and did well.  He started buying banks, merging banks and creating banc holding companies.  In 1923 he created the Bank of America, Los Angeles, which was - in fact - the only Bank of America operating in all of California.  But we'll get to the Italian from San Francisco in a second.

Orra used his business skills to develop the first modern bank branching system in the U.S.  He did this by centralizing cash vaulting, accounting and personnel.  He also instituted the first modern fleet of armored cars    to ferry cash replenishment, paperwork and other important papers.

In 1929 Orra sold BoA L.A. to a man named Amadeo Giannini of the Bank of Italy in San Francisco, and the Bank of America was born.  Orra retained his Board seat in the new company, and stayed on the board until his death in 1936.

Orra also Chaired the Los Angeles public library Board until his death.  During his twenty year tenure on the board he built L.A.'s public library system into a true countywide system, using what he learned  in building the branch banking business: Centralized library with satellite branches.  He centralized the business office and accounting, enable branch to branch book sharing, built a new main library in downtown L.A. and developed the funding base to build branch libraries.

Mervin and Adelaide remained in the Western Avenue home until Adelaide's death in 1912, after which the house no longer had its mistress. Mervin would eventually remarry, divorce and then remarry, but for the remainder of his life he lived in large apartments where he needs were met by servants.

Western Avenue was beginning to change.  In six short years, traffic on the street increased, and the families that lived in the houses along it began selling their properties.  While it was desirable for Victorian Families of means to live on handsome streets where their houses could bespeak their wealth, by 1914 the car brought dirty, noise and pollution to these broad streets.  So, well to do families in many cities sold off their mansions and moved to suburbs. In Cleveland, the families of Euclid Avenue (a street that as late as 1890 had a higher residential real estate value than New York's Fifth Avenue)  moved to Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.  In Los Angeles, the families moved from this area to Pasadena and Beverly Hills.

The house was razed before long and its land parceled off for sale.  The only legacy of the Monnette house is  "Monnett Place," which intersects on Western Avenue in Los Angeles' Koreatown, where the house once stood.

How hot is it? And how to get beer (or wine or soda) stupid cold in minutes

Stupid hot for April.

As I had said before, the weather goons at husband's place of employment said that by the second week of April, the weather would change very fast from cold and damp to HOT.  And it did.

It was 84 fucking degrees here today.  EIGHTY-FOUR!  And, it will be eighty-four here tomorrow, too.

So I am toughing to out, windows closed to keep out the heat and the fans going at it to at least circulating the air.

The second floor is 80 degrees, but the first floor is a tomb-like 65 degrees.  Unfortunately, there is no way to move the air between floors and my office is up here.

So here is Cookie's tip for getting beverages ice cold in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

You could buy them cold, but here in Baltimore where few things work as they should, most of the coolers aren't the greatest.

If its just you and someone else, you'll need a bucket, half full with cold water, a mess of ice cubes and some rock salt - you can use table salt, but the rock salt works better.

Put your drinks on the water and handful of the rock salt.  Put the ice in and throw some more rock salt on the ice.  Stir this mess up and let it sit for 15 -20 minutes.  Remove your drinks  They will be cold - much colder than if you poked them in the freezer (it can take up to 40-60 minutes for the freezer trick to work) for the same amount of time.

This works the same way as an ice cream machine works, and I often wondered why my grandmother added rock salt to the ice on a ice cream maker, and here's the reason why:

1) Fresh water freezes at 32 degrees, but SALT WATER freezes at 28 degrees.  So when you salt the water you lower its freezing temperature meaning it stays liquid longer and is thus able to envelop the container more fully.

BUT something else happens - the law of thermodynamics kicks in - heat lost is equal to heat gained.

What do I mean by that?  Well, Mitch McConnell aside, nature abhors a vacuum. Nature likes things working toward balance, and that's a good thing for us.

2) The salt, in addition to lowering the point at which the water freezes is also working at melting the ice, transferring that "cold" into the water.  But it's also converting the heat of the container contents in the canned or bottled vessel through the aluminum can or glass bottle, and its storing the storing excess cold in the bottled fluids.   As the heat is exchanged, the contents get colder and the water uses that heat to speed the melting of the ice.

Pretty nifty, eh?  Anyhow, this is how it works.

Just remember to wipe the can or bottle off when you remove it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I went back to Ohio

Actually, I'm in Columbus, but no one sings about Columbus. So this will have to do.  Back home tomorrow.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

29 to 70 in 5 Days

As all of you know, Winter 2013 refuses to go away.

I, for one, know that when a ground hog predicts early spring, it usually means the jinx is on, and time to bundle up.

Why else would a ground hog get up in the middle of the freaking winter?  To eat something thats why.  Something innate is telling him "you better get up and eat because this winter isn't going away and you need more body fat to get through it, you handsome devil."

Anyway, its been cold, rainy and generally uncooperative over much of North America.

Then, about two weeks ago, husband comes home and announces that the weathermen employed by his employer had come round with their latest extended weather forecast, because these things impact Husband's job, and these goons are saying that by mid-April the weather patterns are going to flip, and fast.

And these goons are usually correct.

So imagine my surprise when we got up at 6AM today and noted it was a brisk 29 degrees out here in northern Baltimore (City) County.   DAMN!  Yesterday the low was in the forties!

Imagine my even greater surprise when I checked out the Weather Channel and the forecast temperature for Monday is 70 flipping degrees!

Let the spring come forth, Cookie, the Husband, Rocky and Kevin are ready.

In the meantime, here's my other boyfriend, Carlos Ponce, to warm you up right now:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fill in the blank

Just what is nurse saying to her patient to get such a reaction?