Friday, October 2, 2015

Who Am I To Judge?

Looks like the Vatican has confirmed that Francis' meeting with Davis was in no way meant to be "a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.” - possibly one of the rooms in a series of rooms the Pope wandered through in lieu of a reception line. But there is a video of Pope Francis meeting with, conversing with and exchanging warm handshakes and hugs with a long time GAY friend and former student AND HIS PARTNER OF 19 YEARS. 

Who am I to judge?

Exactly - who are we to judge? I have seen judgements being made literally right and left about every aspect of Pope Francis' visit and his speeches - from conservatives to LGBT liberals and anarchists. (I am not talking about thoughtful, reasoned critiques.)

And beyond judgements, there was outright vitriol and ignorance. Especially in the comment threads on Towleroad and other blogs.

The verbiage on this topic and many others sickens me. While I want to stay informed about LGBT issues, I have had about as much as I can take with the juvenile name calling, thoughtless, unprofessional editorializing and other nonsense that is rampant both in blog posts and in the comment threads.

It is ruining any credibility of the bloggers and making the internet experience wholly unpleasant.
And there's this from yesterday: Esquire Article

A speculative article, but highly palusable.

The blunder was that this so-called meeting (likely a receiving line where people were shuffled in for a brief face-to-face handshake and souvenir rosary beads) wasn't seen as an opportunity for political fodder. It is being used to claim Papal and RC support for Davis and her "case" - hopefully something that was not intended and now seems to have become the focal point for the entire Papal visit. I don't need Francis to be my "friend" but I do "pray" that he will steer the massive RC ship in a more loving direction. The backlash against Vatican II has had years to consolidate under Ratzinger and John Paul II/Benedict XVI and Francis ain't going to change it in his lifetime.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Falling Out Of Love

When we found you, our current home and saw you for the first time, it was love at first sight. We'd seen close to 75 homes before we found you. You were there, a bit homely, nestled in the woods on a hillside. You'd just had some cosmetic work done inside and looked shiny and bright.

We have loved you well these past 15+ years. We have cared for you well, treated you well, and done for you whatever we could within our means. We added your beautiful sunroom. We landscaped and terraced with rocks we carried ourselves from all over your property. We dressed you in irises and hydrangeas and Four O'Clocks and Marigolds and Prickly Pear and Azaleas and Hostas and flowers that sometimes struggle to grow.
We are sorry we couldn't give you a brand new driveway or have a professional mason replace your stairway and stone walls. We're sorry we couldn't pay for 10 inches of new top soil to plant you a lush luxurious lawn. We couldn't add that extra bathroom or make a beautiful master suite. We used all kinds of found and recycled things to dress you up - no store-bought clothes: scavenged flagstone, an old slate table for the patio that someone was throwing out, lawn chairs and a fence that were going to the dump.

Your trees are a bit scraggly and should be thinned and trimmed. Your veggie garden could be raised. Your basement could have been turned into living space. We did our very best within our means though we couldn't fulfill your potential and our earlier dreams.

We've have had many happy times, and family and friends who came and ate and drank and laughed. We had our wedding in your sunroom and Thanksgiving meals there too. We have shared many meals, we've partied, we've enjoyed your tranquility and sunshine and your shade on the hottest summer days. We've enjoyed your glorious Mountain Laurel blossoms in the spring. We have enjoyed walking in your woods and beyond into the trails on Fall Mountain.

But your grooming and beauty treatments require now too much of our time and energy. We are weary. We watch your lawn dry up in this season's drought, we are on our knees too often picking out weeds because we refuse to poison you with chemicals.

We've mowed you and manicured you each summer; we've cleaned up too many leaves over fifteen autumns; and god knows we've cleared way too much snow during seemingly endless winters.

You are still a very pretty house, always open and cozy and welcoming and filled with light, but we, we are weary.

We think it is time for you to have new companions, new caretakers, a new dream for what you might become. We love you still, but perhaps we're no longer in love. We need to tell you we'll be moving on soon.

Wish us luck and godspeed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Right-Wing Media Are Welcoming Pope Francis To America


Apparently the conservatives/Republicans are now more infallible than the Pope (who, of course, doesn't claim to be, really)

These folks should be shamed and shunned and called out.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In Honor Of Pope Francis - Had To Share This Article

OK, now for something serious. No beach scenes or cute puppies.

Who is dissing the Pope?

People - many who call themselves Catholics and have public visibility are dissing the Pope big time.

This is just wrong.

When I was growing up, the Catholic Church was about works of mercy, service to others, social justice and embracing everyone without judgement. Why or how this changed in recent years is baffling.

That change in attitudes or emphasis, that ultra conservative ideology of Razinger/BenedictXVI and JPII, fed right into the plans of the white, wealthy, Republican, corporate, money hoarding one percent.

Now, this progressively leaning article in NCR  Why Do You Harden Your Hearts? | National Catholic Reporter and several other news stories have got me to thinking how ironic that the Republican Party and Fox News have appropriated the dogma of INFALLIBILITY when proclaiming THEIR version of what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

The Republican Party in the hands of the Koch brothers has become dangerous, subversive and outright lunatic.

As a gay married man I may be with Little Anthony "on the outside looking in", but I see this guy Francis who has something of importance to say - not that I expect him to embrace same-sex marriage or women priests - but he deserves a modicum of respect:

PLEASE LISTEN POLITELY and critique respectfully.

OK, one beach scene with cute puppy.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

New Billboard in Morehead Kentucky and New Comments 9/22/15

New Billboard in Morehead, Kentucky.

I haven't posted much about this ridiculous "religious" controversy but I think this says it all:

The group writes, on its website:

Following the June 26th Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses in her home state, citing that doing so compromised her religious beliefs. That day, she became the poster child for the anti-gay movement.

As has been painstakingly observed time and time again, the anti-LGBTQ movement is comprised of a substantial number of zealots who unfailingly refer to their rigid interpretation of religious text to narrowly define “traditional” institutions and values. They pick and choose what they wish to convey as immoral and unacceptable, while seemingly sweeping lines of scripture just a few letters away completely under the rug.
In response, Planting Peace has constructed a message for Kim Davis and the anti-LGBTQ movement. The intent of the billboard is to expose this narrow interpretation by Davis and others that they use to defend their discrimination against the LGBTQ community. It is important and relevant to call this out, because these messages and actions are not simply about a political or religious debate. There are LGBTQ youth across the world who are taking their lives at an alarming rate because of these messages from society that make them feel broken or less than. We have to meet hate with love…intolerance with compassion.
OH - And where are all the other Christian denominations speaking out against this christian cult that picks which groups their bible says are not to be allowed civil rights or civil marriage?

EDITED POST: 9/22/15

I just want to express a few thoughts on the Kim Davis situation.

First, it is sad that so many people have lowered themselves to send her hate-mail or to name-call. It doesn't help our cause one bit, in fact makes us look like bullies and gives the anti-gay contingent ammunition. Reasoned arguments at least are not easily dismissed by intelligent people and well, those with closed minds don't listen anyway.

Second, has anyone considered the possibility that Davis' religion may be more cult-like than mainstream Christian denominations. I have dealt with people who've been involved with extreme fundamentalist groups and they are literally brainwashed into their beliefs. They hold on to them as if in dread of what might happen if their beliefs turn out to be wrong - and in the case of many gay youth, often through counseling they are able to recognize that their belief system is a great source of pain and confusion. I sense that Kim has bought into such a system because it has provided her a means to repudiate her past life and its disappointments and bad choices. What she may not know is that her current belief system may be fraught with other disappointments and bad choices.

It is easy to say she needs psychiatric intervention [above], but realistically, until her religion is shook at the foundations she will hang on tight. However, Kim, in the interview hints at this possibility of a crumbling belief system when she says her greatest fear is that God does not approve of her, that she may in fact be a hypocrite. I say, give her time. In five or ten years she will write a book about her recovery from this cult.

Third, where are the mainstream Protestant and Catholic denominations and leaders speaking out to say that Kim Davis does not speak for all Christians? Clearly she does not when many denominations approve of same-sex marriage now. Is the "religious freedom" issue too hot a potato to handle? Are they all afraid to put themselves in that position?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pertaining To The Matter Of A Certain Clerk In The State Of Kentucky

So much has been written and the commentary has been continuous regarding the ability of this one person and her truly misguided beliefs to obstruct justice and the rule of United States law. 

I have said many times - Beware! They are not going to stop hating us or castigating us or fighting to take back our civil liberties just because we have some legal claim to civil rights. 

Beware! The struggle is not over. Not even close to over.

Rather than comment on these current events, I would like to share the Afterword from Did You Ever See A Horse Go By? A Coming Out Memoir. I have shared these words on this blog before (probably labeled as the book's Preface) but in any case I think some of my observations may be relevant at this time.


Peter, the friend to whom I addressed the Preface, died from complications of AIDS, like too many other people I have known. I never finished composing that letter to him in 1987 and so it was never sent. Here, many years later, I include an Afterword, addressed to him.

May 2014

Dear Peter,

I’ve somehow survived to 2014. I am old—or pretty nearly old as life journeys go.
In the grand scheme of things, I am nobody and my life is irrelevant. 

So why should my story, my experiences beginning more than half a century ago, matter to

Why should I bother to write down these snippets of my life?

The answer to that last question: I had to write this account, even if no one ever
reads it, because I was compelled to do so in the same way as I was compelled to
come out; it was a matter of survival. And if I am to live any semblance of an
authentic life, I must come out unreservedly and often; because coming out is never
only an event: it is a continuous process and one that challenges me daily.

• The woman who cuts my hair when I’m visiting in South Carolina insists on
making small talk and asks about my wife. She has scissors. How do I respond?

• At the auto repair shop, I tell the service tech, who I’ve just overheard making a
homophobic comment, “If there’s a problem, call Lee, my, uh, friend? roommate?
partner? significant other? husband?”

• Lee and I are holding hands on a deserted beach at sunset as some college kids
approach in the distance. Do I let go of his hand?

Ann Bancroft as Ma Beckoff scolded Harvey Fierstein’s Arnold in Torch Song
Trilogy: “You haven’t spoken one sentence since I got here,” she says indignantly,
“without the word gay in it.” How often do I check myself so as not to offend the
likes of all the Ma Beckoffs in the world with constant gay references?

• I am challenged daily to come out, again and again and again, because, even as
things appear to be changing, there still exist subtle and pervasive societal and
cultural norms that are intended to usher us back into our closets: the veiled but
insidious beliefs, behaviors, words, and hatred that are still widely tolerated.

• I am challenged to come out, again and again and again, because of the hate and
vitriol and rage that seem to escalate in response to every equal rights victory and
with every courageous individual who comes out and who refuses to remain
silent and invisible.

• I am challenged to come out, again and again and again, because too many gay
kids still choose suicide as their only option to escape bullying and familial rejection;
because some lawmakers still introduce bills that would take back our hard
won rights and liberties; because some religions still wave signs declaring that
“God hates fags” while others, less blatant, use more refined and educated language
to condemn and vilify us.

My coming out was not only a matter of self-preservation; it was and continues
to be a uniquely liberating, transformational, spiritual, and healing life experience. I
do believe that coming out is the only antidote to the poison of societal oppression
that tries to deceive us into believing that the closet is the safest place to be, that the
closet will ultimately protect us from the world, from ourselves, and from eternal

The closet’s false security is ultimately suffocating and fatal to one’s emotional
and psychological integrity, if not to one’s physical existence. The closet is built on
fear and guilt, but more so on societal and religious disapprobation and condemnation—
a formula for what is called internalized homophobia. The closet derives
power from this internalized homophobia, from our internal conflicts and fears, the
artificial conflict between some bogus good and fake evil: the fear of rejection, reprisals,
and violence, and the terror of a mythologized Last Judgment and ungodly

Despite all of that, we persist in our coming out as if our lives depended on it—
because they do. Coming out is so vital to our integrity that the impulse to acknowledge
and be true to ourselves is, in many respects, not unlike our innate survival

The fact that the event that we call coming out is virtually universal to the contemporary
homosexual experience suggests that it is not an inconsequential phenomenon.
Think about that. Coming out has a reality beyond our individual experience.
It is both a unique and a shared experience—one that unites us in some fundamental

Our sexuality, our gayness, is mostly invisible to others. Coming out and being
out involves being visible—both when we look in the mirror and when others see us.
Sometimes, in order to be visible to others, we have to be “in their face.” Sometimes
we need to tell our stories, each of us, story after story, after story, until they “get it.”

Because “they” are still trying to define “us,” tell us who they think we are, tell us
that we are objectively disordered or immoral or sinful or worse. 

Who are “they” and who do they think they are?

Unfortunately “they” are not only the ignorant and bigoted, but often otherwise
intelligent and sometimes even well-meaning individuals. Why do “they” think they
know more about our sexuality, or us, than we do?

More to the point, why do they care?

Certainly “they” outnumber “us” and we’ve always been an easy target. Does
their inability to save our souls or change us, or to limit our freedom somehow make
them inadequate or fearful? 

What is in it for “them” that they so persist?

It amazes and frustrates me that our stories—the actual lived experience of gay,
lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals—are so summarily ignored, discounted,
and dismissed. 

It baffles me that many vocal and influential individuals persist in holding to and 
disseminating absurd, erroneous, and irrelevant opinions about us. 

This is unacceptable and can no longer be tolerated. 

“They” can only make their own positions tenable by repeating questionable scriptures, 
fabricated “studies,” pseudo-science, and outright lies—and repeating them over and over as
they wholly disregard us and our voices.

I can only pose a few questions for others to try to answer: What is it about
homosexuality and sexual and gender non-conformity that makes it such a lightning

What is so unique about it that religious factions condemn it, regressive governments
ban it, entire cultures punish it, and ordinary people are moved to hatred and violence by it? 

Why are millions of dollars spent to fight us and to deny us equal protections under the law?

These questions underlie the need to tell my story.

As for the first question—whether my story or experiences will matter to the
readers or not—is for each of them to decide. But I do know that this is my voice
and my truth, for what it’s worth.

For me the value in telling my story here, beyond the healing, is to preserve a tiny
slice of collective history—to document what it was to be gay and to come out in a
particular time and place. I want to remember all the others who were there along
with me, creating our lives together and defining our sexuality as we went along. My
hope is that others find some value in that as well.

With Fondness and Love,


P.S. Why would a town make the position of Town Clerk an ELECTED OFFICE? If she were an employee they could fire her ass for not doing her job!

Friday, September 4, 2015



Response from Hertz via Better Business Bureau:
This is in response to your case file for Leon O'Hart.
We apologize for any confusion regarding the charges billed and for any misunderstanding
regarding our Additional Driver policy. This fee applies to anyone, including a spouse, .... etc.(Details about the charges which I already knew and which I enumerated in detail in my complaint, so they just repeated that). 
As a gesture of our concern, we will refund the Additional Driver fee and Fuel Purchase Option. A credit of $158.22 is being issued to the American Express account billed. Please allow 3 to 5 business days for this credit to post to the account.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this matter.

Almost couldn't believe what I was reading...they actually are refunding a part of the cost!

I was required to answer "yes" or "no" to whether I accepted the response: I ticked "yes" and added the note as follows:

I accept the refund as the response from Hertz. However I am disappointed that Hertz did not address the issue regarding its employee's misrepresenting the AAD charge as a New Mexico Law. I am afraid that the ABQ office will continue to tell customers that the ADD is a New Mexico law, rather than a charge that Hertz chooses to require - a charge that other companies doing business in New Mexico choose not to require.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


We recently used the Hertz website to rent a car for pick-up in Albuquerque 
We were given a quote at the HERTZ FIFTY PLUS rate for $177.71 after taxes and fees. NOT BAD. No where was there an option to add an additional driver.

Due to a change in pick-up time we called Hertz to add an earlier pick-up (noon instead of 8:30pm for which we expected an extra charge, but we were not told what the charge was to be nor were we sent any email confirmation of the change.

When we arrived at the Hertz office at the Albuquerque airport we were shocked at the humongous additional fees that were never disclosed upon booking.


QUOTED at Booking:
1 Week at (includes 50+ discount) $114.50
Airport concession fee recovery   $13.00
Customer facility charge  
(NO mention of NM Surcharge)           $15.75
Rental surcharge   $14.00
Vehicle licensing Cost Recovery     $1.15
Energy surcharge     $1.49
Subtotal $159.92

Taxes   $17.79

Amount charged to card $114.51
Amount at time of rent   $63.20
TOTAL $177.71

1 Week at $127.23
1 day at $  18.18
        Subtotal                                      $145.41
        Discount 10%                              -  14.54
        Subtotal less discount                 $130.87

Airport concession fee recovery   $28.95
Customer facility charge 
(NM SUR & CFC)                                 $36.16
Rental surcharge   $14.00
Vehicle licensing Cost Recovery     $1.31
Energy surcharge     $1.49
FPO    (fuel)                                          $ 32.32
Authorized Additional Driver                 $94.50
Taxes   $35.28

Amount charged to card -$130.87
Amount at time of rent             $ 230.01
TOTAL $360.88

Even adding the extra day at $18+ this is nearly $200 more than we anticipated spending! 
Even if we agree on the FPO (Fuel Purchase Option) $32.32 (another "gotcha")
How does HERTZ justify the more than doubling of the Airport Concession Fee Recovery cost and the Customer Facility Charge (from a quoted price of $28.75 to $65.11? (a $36.36 increase!)
There is only one Albuquerque and it is in NEW MEXICO, so if these extra charges are specific to New Mexico, why were they NOT given in the initial booking?
As far as HERTZ’s Authorized Additional Driver scam to cheat us out of another $94.50, consider this:
On a previous trip to Albuquerque we rented from Enterprise and as is their policy we were not charged for a spouse as additional driver. We obviously were mistaken to assume that Hertz was competitive in this regard and so expected that a spouse was included as an authorized driver at no additional charge. Especially since we had used the HERTZ FIFTY PLUS.

This might have been merely a disappointment but the up-charge came with outright lying, deceit and misrepresentation by the Hertz employee at the desk. Not only did he not even ask if we were eligible for any exemption (AAA for example) he outright lied about why Hertz was charging for an additional (spouse) driver by telling us it was New Mexico LAW




Even when we returned the car and mentioned to the attendant that we were charged additional for spouse as second driver, he told us “No, that’s not right, there’s no such law.”

We also called Enterprise and their agent confirmed there is no such law.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Few Photos From Our Trip To New Mexico

Just got back from New Mexico and wanted to post a few pictures. Not the best, but will do for now. Captions to be added. Got lots of laundry, mail, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, vegetable gardening, dog walking, etc. to catch up on.

Monte del Sol

Waiting for Leon
Near the Plaza

New Mexico's version of Goldenrod

Out for a Hike Again

We went in search of WATER in New Mexico. We found some:
Monastery Lake in Pecos
Fishing Only-NO SWIMMING- at Monastery Lake
Sun Flowers at Monastery Lake - and all along the Highways and Byways too
Pecos River

There was a nice swimming hole on the Pecos River - I wanted to go for a dip, but there were more miles to get in that day.

Up beyond Pecos
With our Friend Len
Swimming in Abique Lake

Not Exactly the Ledges in Vermont, but it will do.

Los Brunos Restaurant in Cuba

Did lots of hiking - at 7,000 feet hiking to almost 8,000 feet - not bad.


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