Monday, July 31, 2006

Don't Tell Me.

Mel—

What a week it’s been, huh? I mean I land on the cover of People magazine and you get busted by the Malibu police department for allegedly being drunk while driving. To make matters worse, you were accused of uttering anti-Semitic slurs and blaming all Jewish people for the wars in history. That’s a pretty drastic statement, isn’t it? Now there’s talk that your career may be over, but we all know that’s a bit of an exaggeration, right? But I just wanted to say “Thank You” for your racist remarks and your public drunkenness. Here I thought that my coming out would have been the event of the summer, but your stunt will have people talking for ages and that issue with me on the front cover will be in the recycling bin. I’m sure you will be getting letters of thanks from Star Jones, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Naomi Campbell for upstaging us in the scandal department this summer.

Thanks for making this summer so special! You’re the best, man!



Sincerely,



Lance Bass

The Waiting Game.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Strawberry Letter #23

Andrew,

It's been a while since I have emailed you some snarky comment about one of your posts. This email will be a bit different, though.

After reading your post "After The Courts" I started to get angry. When I read, "That's happening faster than I ever imagined - and the impatience of some gay activists is morally defensible but pragmatically excessive. Chill." my blood ran cold. I decided to compose this letter after my temper abated, but I find myself still angry at your comment. Here's why: I am (ahem) forty years old and have been in a committed relationship with my partner for eleven years. I pay my taxes, student loans, car payments, etc. on time for the most part and I am an upstanding citizen. My partner and I got DP'ed two years ago in New Jersey, and I am grateful for that. As you know being domestic partnership provides some legal protections (or entitlements) for couples, but not as many if we were married. So when you say "Chill" I simply cannot afford to do that anymore. Are you asking us to wait for the courts, government, and the future president(s) to acknowledge that we are human beings and deserve to be treated like our straight counterparts who enjoy all the benefits marriage has to offer? If so, how long should we wait? I'm not getting any younger and while I'm DP'ed, that doesn't protect me when I'm in a state that doesn't recognize our partnership. (Utah, for example. Or on the federal level for that matter)

I guess at the heart of the matter is that I equate 'chill' with "Just wait a little longer, you'll achieve equality eventually." My grandparents were told to wait a little longer when they wanted to vote and be treated like equals decades ago. If they had decided to wait, they may have never been able to vote, drink from a public water fountain, or get a decent job. That may sound dramatic, but it's true.

I am frustrated that at every turn gays and lesbian try to make at living decent lives (the kind of life some of our straight counterparts take for granted) we are denied by the courts, politicians and some 'Christians' because they think that society will fall apart or that our desire to have families is morally abhorrent. I realize that our struggle for equality and marriage will benefit future generations of the GLBT community, but I believe in my heart of hearts that this is something we cannot be 'chill' about any longer.


Thanks.

M.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Be Thankful (For What You Got)

Yesterday was my fortieth birthday. I must say when I was in my twenties (worst years of my life) I never really thought I was going to make it to this age. Now that I’m here it’s not so bad. (Of course I’ve only been 40 for one day, so my opinion may change.) I will say that I am going to miss my thirties, though. Those were the years that I think I finally began to see myself in a different light. I began to realize what it meant to be an adult and all the responsibility that comes along with it. My thirties were my years were I cultivated some of the best relationships with some amazing people. (You know who you are.) I had a huge turn-out for my big 40 birthday party and I got some amazing gifts. However, I am thankful for those relationships I have cultivated in my 30s because I know these relationships are a lot more important than the gifts that were given to me this year—for that I’m extremely grateful.

With that said, I’m kinda excited to see what the next ten years hold in store for me. I hope I will remain a kid (geek) at heart and enjoy this crazy ride.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

99.9 F°

Today is World AIDS Day. I feel like I should take a moment and talk about my one of my friends who died from this terrible disease. His name was Dave K. Dave was a cranky son-of-a-bitch. I got to know him during my stint as assistant manager at B. Dalton Bookseller. I remember working with him and I would always get upset because he couldn't climb the ladders or lift the heavy boxes when we got freight shipments. However, Dave was incredibly smart, well-read and knew everything about all kinds of music; his forte was jazz.

We had a tenuous working relationship because he would say things that would be a little off color at times. For some time, I was always on guard around him. When I came out to most of my co-workers, for some reason he became friendlier to me. At that point I couldn’t figure out why. Then one day, we went out for drinks during our lunch break and he told me he was HIV positive. He was a hemophiliac and got a bad transfusion during the 80s. It became clear why couldn't climb ladders or open boxes; if he did he might get hurt. For a while I felt shitty about thinking of all the bad things about him. From that moment on though, we bonded and hung out a lot.

At work we would always work at the register and scowl at the people who would come in and ask for the latest Danielle Steel novel or some piece of crap. He would always try to up sell some esoteric novel to the hapless patron to no avail. I’d just laugh. On Friday nights, we would go to the Old Temperance House in Newtown and have a good meal, smoke cigars, drink and listen to the jazz musicians. We would always close the place.

As the years progressed, he got worse. He wasn't able to work anymore because his health was deteriorating, but we still would go to the Temperance House for a night of good entertainment. Then in the summer of '94 he was hospitalized with pneumonia. His mom wasn't sure if he was going to make it. I went to visit him and he was still the cranky bastard I knew him to be. He got better and was released from the hospital but he was never the same after that. I guess when you are on Death's door, your perspective changes. One of the last times I saw him, he said that he was scared of dying. At that moment I felt completely powerless. He lamented about the fact that he would never have a girlfriend or have a real intimate relationship with a woman. At that point he began to cry and there was nothing I could do to allay his fears. I just told him that he was going to be OK, but in my heart I knew that wasn't true.

A few years had passed and he was on the rebound. He was taking a cocktail of anti-biotics and had gained some of his weight back. He was his cranky self again. The fall of '96, I had to go to the main campus Of Penn State University for a few days to get trained for my teaching internship. When I got back to Philly, Dave's mom called and left a message on my machine stating that he had died over the weekend. I was stunned. Since Dave was Jewish, his mom had his funeral service on that Saturday and had him buried. She told me that some of his college friends were going to meet over her house and reminisce about the good times they had with Dave. I told her I would make it—but I never did go. I guess I just didn't want to think of Dave in the past tense, or even that he was dead for that matter.

Now, ten years later and I still think of that S.O.B. I miss his weird sense of humor, his passion for a decent drink, his love of literature and his uncanny ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. What I wouldn't do for one more night just to hang out with him at the Old Temperance House.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

10:15 Saturday Night

It has been quite a while since I have posted on my blog. As I have said before, I’m not the most prolific of writers. So, I’m sure I have lost some readers over the months. With that said, I felt the need to write about my weekend.

This Saturday I went to New Hope to visit my friend Peej. He wanted me to come over to celebrate “Santa Saturday” with him. To those who are not in the know, Santa Saturday is an event that is over 30 years old in which the leather community and bears come out in force to have a good time (meaning: drink, dance, etc.) and raise money for local New Hope charities. Since this is a big event, most of the attendees wear leather chaps, motorcycle gear, S&M ‘costumes’ and lots of denim. I decided not to wear anything like that. I wore a hoodie, some cargo pants, a polo shirt, and my trusty Keen shoes. Definitely not ‘bear’ attire.

So I met Peej and we walked over to the Raven where the event was being held. As we got closer to the bar, I began to notice the locals arriving. What I saw didn’t surprise me as much as seeing grown men dressed from head to toe in leather. However, I will go on record to say that most of the men there should have known better to wear ass-less chaps. I mean, the men who were wearing them were at least over 40 years-- I’m being generous here with the last statement. I mean, did they look in the mirror before they left the house? Didn’t they have a trustworthy friend to tell them that ass-less chaps are passé and one should not wear them in public? Or better yet, that ass-less chaps shouldn’t been worn by grown men past the age of 35. (Not unless you are an exotic dancer and even then, there are limits.) I guess not.

As the afternoon progressed, we met people who were not your typical bears. We hung out with a couple who I will call Jim and ‘Captain’. They are from New York and Peej was making fun of them because as Peej said when they talked they ‘dropped their “Rs.”’ Jim and Captain have a very interesting relationship. They have been together for six years, but Captain is still married to his wife. Huh? Apparently, Captain and his wife haven’t had sex in over six years and she hasn’t approached him about it. Captain doesn’t really have the nerve to leave his wife because they have three kids and she doesn’t work. As I was told this, I was thinking that must be the life. To live in complete denial about your husband’s sexuality but to benefit from his hard work, have a house and some kids. She’s just a simple girl with a dream I suppose. For some reason, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those people. I can’t imagine that story having a happy ending.

We had drinks and made fun of some of the men who obviously didn’t exercise proper judgment that day. As the afternoon turned into evening, I met someone who looked uncannily like my ‘Ex.’ He even had the same first name of my ‘Ex.’ I’m sure that fate must have been playing a nasty joke on me that afternoon.. We made small talk for a while and he told me that he was there without his significant other. (As was I.) He mentioned that he was a little miffed that his significant other was always pawing him on his chest when he was in public. Yeah, I know, weird. Then he told me that he wanted to sleep with my friend Peej. I smirked and turned to my friend Peej (who at this time was sucking the air out of some guy’s lungs) and said to the red-head who looked like my ex, “Go for it.” But he didn’t have the nerve to approach Peej and solicit his services; and I certainly wasn’t going to be his pimp. He then went to the bathroom, and that was the last I saw of him. I still think it was my ex, though.

The real fun began when Peej, Jim, the Captain, and I went to an after party in Lambertville. I was starving at the time and was thinking that if there wasn’t food there, I was going to bolt. As we were driving to this party, Peej casually mentioned to me that this was a ‘clothing optional’ party. I looked at him and said, “What? Are we going to have to leave our keys at the party in a bowl and whoever picks them we go home with? Clothing optional parties went out of style when people realized that they didn’t have to wear polyester clothing anymore.” Peej, said not to worry and we would only stay for a while.

When we arrived at the party, I noticed that there were twenty pairs of shoes at the front door. I looked at Peej and then one of the guests said, “You have take your shoes off; the owner doesn’t want people bringing in rocks on their shoes.” I looked at Peej and said, “Absolutely not.” Especially since I paid a pretty penny for them and I didn’t want some drunken queen walking off with them. So we went in with our shoes on and proceeded to get some spirits and food. I took a look around a saw that they owners had laid out some serious cash on his flat. It was very modern, and wasn’t cluttered. Very nice. I wish I could say the same thing about the guests. As I turned to my right, there was a guy standing next to the fireplace wearing nothing else on but a jock strap. UGH. I said to Peej, “So this is clothing optional, huh?” He just smiled at me and continued to eat. Things went from bad to worse when I noticed a man standing in a crowd next to the very tasty nachos wearing a hoodie, boots, and nothing else. There he was just hanging out, with his ‘manhood’ (I am using that term loosely). I told Peej that I wouldn’t be making a second trip back to the nachos. What was even more disturbing, no one seemed to care that he was there sans pants--clothing optional indeed. Maybe he was the entertainment for the evening? I don’t know.

I told Peej that I had to call home to let M know that I wouldn’t be coming home until Sunday. I went out to the deck to make my call. To my surprise, there were three men; one standing and two kneeling. I took a second look and yup, the guy who was standing was getting ‘serviced.’ I turned to them and said, “Don’t mind me guys, I have to make a phone call.” They kept on going at it as if I wasn’t there. I guess what happens in Lambertville, stays in Lambertville. I went back in to find my posse and was told that the room downstairs was getting ‘busy.’ I asked Peej what was going on and he told me that there was a circle jerk happening in the room. Huh? Didn’t those kinds of activities become passé in 1990? Circle jerks? What were these people thinking? I guess they weren’t. The crowning moment happened when Jim said that he came from the bathroom and saw two men having sex with the door open. I said to Jim, “Are they charging a fee for admission?” It was then we decided to leave the house of Sodom and Gomorrah. I had my fill of Vodka Valley and wanted to go back to Peej’s house to get some sleep. I also didn’t want to stay to see if there were any more ‘coming attractions.’


We pile into the car and went back to the Raven for one last drink. By then it was slim pickings left at the bar. Desperate faces with the hopes that someone would take them home; it was very depressing. I turned to Peej and told him it was 12:00. He said that it was time to take the walk back home. We got home and I told Peej that I was hungry and he said, “Didn’t you get enough to eat at the party?” I said to him, “No. Especially since seeing naked men near food is a real turn-off for me.” So we drove to the diner and had a decent meal.

I arrived home this morning exhausted and feeling a little dirty. I told M that this may be the last Santa Saturday I go to. He just looked at me knowing that what I said wasn’t true. Maybe he was right; I mean where else are you going to see men past their prime wearing ass-less chaps and making a fool of themselves in the process? Yup, only during Santa Saturday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Into The Battle

I’m getting lazy. It’s really bad when you start a blog and only write on/in it for a few months. What can I say? I have been busy… Yeah, yeah… excuses, excuses. I had new, cool gadgets to buy (a new 20 gig I-pod), cool shoes to purchase (the Keen Bronx is so cool!) and reading to do (just finished then latest Aurelio Zen mystery… excellent). So needless to say I have been a bit preoccupied. But here I am again in Blog-land with some observations on what has transpired over the past few weeks.

A slew of ‘hot-button’ topics have besieged our beloved country: Terry Schiavo, the death of the Pope, MJ’s trial (what a disaster!), and Charles & Camilla. (‘The simple girl with a dream’ and ‘the man who has his head up ass’ as I call them.) Some are important and are relevant to every one of us, while others are just food-for-thought.

My thoughts on the Terry Schiavo situation are this: Shame on Congress, the president (I use that term lightly, hence the reason why I refer to our ‘president’ in lower-case), and the religious right for interfering in something so personal and heart wrenching. I believe that dying with dignity is an intrinsic right for everyone, and if people want to die with grace— then let them! It isn’t my business, the government’s (this means you Mr. Daschle, ‘W’, and Jesse Jackson-- you hypocrites), or the church’s to step in and try to sustain life support when the person in question doesn’t want it. Oh yeah… where were all the politicians and religious leaders when Sun Hudson’s mother wanted to keep him alive? Apparently ‘W’ signed a bill while he was governor that would allow hospitals to terminate life support if the patient or the family couldn’t afford the expense. (Entitled The Texas Futile Care Law.) How’s that for believing in a “culture of life”? Why didn’t so-called ‘journalists’ like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Joe Scarborough do some investigating into this? I mean they are ‘fair and balanced’ news reporters, right? However, I must take mainstream TV news to task also because there was little or no coverage of what happened. I guess they are still afraid of the big, bad wolf (‘W’) and his henchmen (‘the republican party’.) I guess cowardice is a common trait if you are a TV journalist. On a side-note: I wonder if baby Sun was from a white family if the hospital would be so hasty in terminating the life support system? But I guess that question is politically incorrect in this day and age, right? After all this country is totally colorblind. If anyone who reads this believes that last statement, I have some wonderful property in Florida I have to sell to you.

The Pope’s passing has left me cold. I’m not particularly religious in the traditional sense, so that may be the reason why. However, I do hope that the bishops elect a new Pope who is more responsive to those who have been abused by priests and will be a tad bit more accepting of gays. But who am I kidding? This is the Catholic Church I’m thinking about. Progress isn’t in their vocabulary. Rumor has it that the next Pope may be black! Ha! I feel sorry for the brother who gets elected to run that organization.

The Michael Jackson trial is more of a freak show than I could have ever imagined. Friends have asked me if I think he’s guilty. For a while there, I just thought MJ was just being inappropriate for allowing young boys to sleep with him. Now, I think he’s just sick. He needed serious psychological help a long time ago and his friends and his family didn’t intervene because he was their meal ticket. I have a very hard time listening to “Off The Wall” right now.

As for Charles and Camilla, I would love to be at family gatherings when those two and Prince Harry and Prince William are in the same room. Can you imagine the conversations? Prince William to Camilla: “I will not call you mommy! You horse-faced b*#ch!” I must say that Lady Camilla has some very big shoes to fill, and I’m not sure if she’s gonna make it. But I’m sure the trials and tribulations of Charles and Camilla will make for good gossip in the tabloids…The Queen Mum should be proud.

Nuff Said.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Back

It’s been a while since I have written an entry in my blog. I must admit I have been very distraught and full of ire the in my last few entries. I decided I needed to take a break and celebrate the holidays. I had a ton of baking and shopping to do, and it wasn’t going to get done if I was spitting venom about a gay-related or human rights issues. I also decided to catch up on reading my comic books and fooling around with my I-pod. I must admit they were great distractions. If you haven’t purchased an I-pod yet, I suggest you do. They are great for audiophiles and music junkies!

However, as I grew tired of doing those things, I began to realize that I was putting my head in the sand (so-to-speak) and not paying attention to what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately, nothing has really changed since my little excursion to adolescence. If anything, it looks as if the the nation is slowly beginning to fall apart at the seams.

George W. Bush wants to revamp Social Security because he believes that it will not be solvent in the next forty years. He’s partially right. However, even after Social Security becomes insolvent, it will still pay out 70% in benefits. Funny, Bush didn’t mention this in his State Of the Union address. Wonder why? Well, it’s because he wants people to invest their money that should go into Social Security in the stock market. Nice idea George. My question is: What happens when a person invests his/her money and the stock market goes bust? (Which it has been known to do sometimes.) I guess people don’t remember why the Great Depression started.) How will the government take care of those people who have lost their shirts? And here’s another thing: What happens to people like me who have been working since they were eighteen years old and paying into the system for over twenty years? What happens to all that money that they were ‘guaranteed’ to receive when they retire? Hmmm… George W. Bush didn’t mention that either. It’s all smoke and mirrors. True, Social Security does need some help, but letting people ‘invest’ in the stock market is risky business and a terrible solution for this problem. Here’s a neat idea: How about we take some of that 82 billion dollar 'gift' we are giving to Iraq and divert some of those funds to Social Security? Or here’s another idea: Why doesn't Bush hire economic strategists to come up with some real solutions regarding the Social Security ‘crisis’ so we won’t have to worry about it becoming insolvent. If FDR can devise something as beneficial as Social Security, surely George W. Bush can so something to ensure that everyone who retires doesn’t have to worry about not receiving Social Security benefits.

This is Bush’s chance to start bringing the nation together, but I do believe that he’s going to drop the ball on this one. (As he’s done on so many issues.) Looks like I’m going to have to work until they day I die. But at least I’ll have my I-pod and comic books to keep me happy while I’m dishing out burgers and fries at my local Burger King.

Nuff said.