Monday, October 14, 2019

For What It's Worth - Go Ask Alice

Re: previous post:

I am not going to take a lot of time here to critique or defend Chuck Todd or Brian Tyler Cohen except to say that we are in vastly new territory when a a president of the United States  can make blatantly vicious accusations and speak outright lies as though they are truths and expect his words to be broadcast far and wide over every TV network and cable news station.

The issue is not whether the particular statement is newsworthy...the issue is that as president of these United States his words, once out of his mouth, truth or falsehoods, have real consequences and take on a reality of their own. He understands that his lies, even when they are fact-checked by multiple sources beyond any doubt, have already had the desired effect. It is an insidious tactic of a disingenuous narcissistic gaslighter - a person who, if he had ever been seriously vetted, would never have been a candidate, let alone a president.

"All the news that's fit to print" may still be a's just that much of what this president spews may no longer be deemed "fit to print" by a particular news outlet.

News organizations make choices daily about what news they will cover or report on. Freedom of the press ultimately involves making choices about what to report or not report and how to do so as well as editorializing.

In any previous reality, this all would likely not be an issue, but this current POTUS has catapulted us into a world where nothing is real, where there are "alternative facts" where science is considered an opinion, where truth no longer has meaning, where civility is not a virtue, where lies are equated with fact, and where words can incite violence. Should the president's vile language and insidious lies be given equal weight as a factual event?

This is new territory for us as well as for responsible news media. How does one report what is newsworthy without becoming a party to an intentional strategy of misleading and manipulating the citizens of this country?

What is "fit to print" or fit to broadcast. Should a video of a murder be broadcast because it is "news"?

We are in new territory and we are all learning how to navigate our way amongst the land mines and in a world where all the rules have changed or been discarded. I certainly don't have the roadmap nor the answers. But I do know that something must be done differently in order for all of us to return to some semblance of sanity and reason.

When Ellen DeGeneras can be severely criticized for being civil to George W. Bush and even more harshly castigated for her standing for her value of kindness...go ask Alice...

In related "news" see this link to Back 2 Stonewall

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Brian Tyler Cohen Comments: Chuck Todd's Perfect Response to Trump Rally

I purposely haven't been too political on this blog of late, but this, I think, deserves a post (even if you are not a big fan of Chuck Todd. Personally I think he is pretty good.)

Also, the video is a commentary by Brian Tyler Cohen which starts after the 1:30 mark.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Insomnia Bread: The Upside of a Sleepless Night

I’ve been having difficulty sleeping for longer than I can remember. The main reason seems to be a nagging discomfort when in a horizontal position. Every once in a while I get up and  make bread dough.  

Which is what I did Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) at 2 AM. 

I let the dough rise overnight in the fridge; took it out of the fridge around noon on Wednesday. Let it get to room temperature. Shaped it into rolls and one large loaf and let it rise again. Baked it at 425° and this is what I got.

I tell people there is no good Italian bread in New Mexico except of course at our house. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

If You Like Happy Endings and Need A Break From Reality

Saw the Downton Abby movie this week. This was maybe the 4th or 5th movie I've seen in a theatre in four years...worth the trip.

If you watched the series on PBS, it was like coming home to see old friends.

Beautiful cinematography, spectacular sets, fine acting, humor, drama, fantasy, escapism. Two hours away from current events.

I'm not sure how a liberal, working class, anti-oligarchy old guy like me can come to actually like the English aristocrats in Downton Abby but...well, their servants seem to like them pretty well. So I'm in good company. Recommended.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Goal Accomplished

I injured my Achilles tendon on my right foot back in December of 2017 on a hike up (or maybe it was coming down) Kasha Katuwe/Tent Rocks National Monument where my hubby is a Park Ranger. I had hiked it several times before, including that November when we had a guest visiting.

I, of course, didn't seek medical attention until well after exacerbating the injury by hiking the same trail again the following February. Long story short version: Primary care; insurance company approved  only x-rays; no bone injury; physical therapy; no real improvement; summer vacation 2018 in much pain after walking the beach; primary care; new insurance company now approves MRI; shows partially torn Achilles tendon and deteriorated ligaments; physical therapy; more physical therapy; about 90% improvement; more home exercises. 95% improvement with residual soreness almost daily in afternoon/evening after a day of walking, shopping, chores and gardening.

Which brings me one year and nine months after the injury to September 2019. My brother is visiting from Connecticut and my goal was to hike the Kasha Katuwe/Tent Rocks Trail with him and hubby Leon.

So yesterday was the appointed day.

I am thrilled to say that I did the entire trail which is rated moderate difficulty with a a few challenging areas. I am even more thrilled to say that I did not experience any real discomfort during, or especially after, the hike. Didn't even have the "residual soreness" that I've experienced daily.

I've posted pics before, but here are some from yesterday (September 20th 2019):

I went off to the trail's end while brother and hubby and a friend stayed on the mesa peak. Had a few minutes to contemplate and take in the scenery. I thought first about how fortunate and grateful I am to have such a loving, generous, forgiving, devoted man in my life. Leon is all those things to me and more. Sure, he has his faults as we all do. But it has been my fortune to know, love and share my life with him.

I considered the fact that I was on the top of a mesa, enjoying a beautiful sunny day and some pretty spectacular scenery and at the age of 71 am still able to do this. I guess a sense of gratitude was a recurring theme for me as I took in the view and knew that my hubby and I were there in some deeply connected way.

As much as I sometimes complain about the monotony of New Mexico's junipers and scrub brush and the putrid color of the rocks and dirt and the lack of ocean views and splashing waves...I must admit that being here has been good.

I am frequently reminded of, or jolted by, the thought that I am somewhere in the final act and will be around only so long as the playwright continues to find a story to tell before the final curtain. So....

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Beach Trip

My inclination is to wax philosophical about our recent trip to the California coast and to ruminate about beaches past.

But the well of words is running is it possible to wane philosophical?

So will I wane.

We arrived at Pacific Dunes RV Resort ("resort" is a stretch) on Labor Day after driving our truck with RV attached the 1000+/- miles through New Mexico, Arizona and the hot, empty part of California. I am embarrassed to say that Leon did 90% of the driving on the trip.

I am not entirely comfortable towing a camper, but I do it... and my limit behind the wheel is about three hours. I don't know how truckers drive for is SO boring.

I am a fidgety passenger...looking at maps, googling on the phone, munching, replenishing Benni's water bowl.

So we arrived and parked the rig, then went for a hike over the dunes to the Pacific which is the several mile long section of Pismo Beach State Park.

Unfortunately it was a holiday (the last time we were here it was a week after Labor Day) and the mass of heterosexual Americans were out being toxically masculine. 

This fact struck me as there was recently a study suggesting that the "cause" of homosexual "behavior" is not completely genetically determined. Which I thought was based an a totally flawed supposition (behavior vs orientation) and it was never asked whether heterosexuality is genetically determined.

Well all the (presumably) heterosexuals were out behaving as if they were genetically programmed to race ATVs, trucks and RVs as recklessly as possible along the beach making as much noise as traffic on an Interstate highway.

Do these people know what a quiet walk on the beach is?

I wasn't about to let the commotion stop me from getting my salt water "fix" so I did get in the water for a brief baptism. 

The thing that seems different about the West coast beaches is that they are not really "swimmable"; whereas on Cape Cod there are places sheltered somewhat from the open ocean where one can swim fairly comfortably. Notwithstanding recent shark attacks.

One excellent thing about California are the numerous and easy access to the beach and the ocean. We checked out a few of those access points, but were often disappointed with what we found. Although not typical, this beach at the Air Force base gave one something to philosophize about.

Seems the punishment for disturbing the plovers is more severe than for some crimes of violence against a human being.

Just a note that as far as clothing optional beaches go, Pirates Cove is so not-gay and so not-friendly; not like the old Moonstone Beach in Rhode Island or Sandy Hook in New Jersey or Boys Beach in Provincetown.
Leon at Pirates Cove
We went out to eat a few times, basically fish and chips joints. But one "splurge" dinner at Rosa's Italian restaurant was ostensibly to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, or our 31st day-we-met anniversary or 31st time-we-first-did-it anniversary or 29th move-in-together anniversary. Anyhow, really enjoyed it.
Linguine Tutti Mare

Just a few photos

Sept 6 2019 Pacific Dunes - (c) by Frank DeFrancesco

September 6th 2019 Pacific Dunes (c) Frank DeFrancesco
Benni in His (maybe) Prize-winning Portrait

Avila Beach - Best Dog-Friendly Beach Ever

Sand, Sun, Salt Water. Heaven.

 All content and photos (c) 2019 Frank DeFrancesco

Monday, August 19, 2019

If It's Not One Thing It's Another (OR We're Not in Connecticut Anymore)

When the ground squirrel showed up the bunny rabbits seemed to leave the garden to him/her. So it wasn't so bad that the ground squirrel was munching on my garden, helping him/her self to Swiss chard, green bean foliage and ripe tomatoes.

I thought I'd get around to somehow getting the squirrel to move out by covering in the squirrel hole or protecting the vegetables better, but so much to do and so little time.

Then of course the dentist decided that I needed a crown, no, actually two crowns, and not the kind Elizabeth wears. I got the "estimate" in the mail last week and that will blow one month's entire budget for food, utilities, gas, internet, auto loan and incidentals. OK, but dental health is important, so we'll "bite the bullet" and pay for it.

Then the kitchen sink drain backed up. Liquid plumber didn't work. A neighbor tried clearing it out with a 25-foot snake (remember this). I thought it was clear and did laundry...which backed up into the kitchen sink. Emailed (of course) one plumbing company on Saturday for an estimate. They called this morning, Monday, with an appointment time for today and mentioned that there was a "travel charge" of $135. I told them that was outrageous, that I could drive to Albuquerque and pick up the plumber and return him for a lot less than that, and to just forget it. I asked if this was RotoRooter calling and she said no, it was a plumbing company - the one I'd emailed for an estimate, but never made an actual momentary confusion lifted and told her I had already made an appointment with Rotor-Rooter. So RotorRooter showed up as promised (a $50 travel charge) plus labor and tax it came to $430.  But at least the drain was clear.

So, after the guy left I said to Leon (his day off) I am going to make an omelet for a late breakfast. Let's see, eggs; ham; provolone cheese. Some veggie would be nice. I have Swiss chard in the garden. That will be good in an omelet. So I go out to the deck and down the stairs that lead into the back yard and I hear this hissing sound like a hose spouting water. The plumber just left, but he had cleared the drain, didn't touch the water pipes. Oh, Leon is washing the truck...but... he's using the hose from the front yard spigot...

I look back under the stairs where the hoses run from the house to the garden soaker, looking for a water spout. Dry.

But the hissing sound gets louder and different. And I see something moving....a tail, a rattle...a...oh, shit...

This is 15 minutes later when Snaky has calmed down
I got away from it and was totally freaked out. The snake to clear the drain pipe, I could handle. This not so much. The rattle was going at full throttle. Snaky was pissed.

I yelled (OK, so I yelled and used some expletives) for Leon to make sure the dog didn't come outside. I was in the backyard which is fenced in on all sides except for a gate out to the arroyo. Had to go through the arroyo and around to the road to walk back home. Called two of the town's "snake guys" but no answer. Called town hall and was told that Justin, the town maintenance guy, who is from Louisiana, would come and take care of it.
But by the time Justin got to the house - about half an hour after my first encounter and about 10 to 15 minutes after I took the pictures (from a safe distance up on the deck) the monster rattle snake had gone.
Where? We haven't a clue. Justin searched the entire yard and under the deck.

I had just been telling Leon the other day that I've been more comfortable this summer and not as paranoid about rattlesnakes. I've been letting Benni the dog run with the other dogs and I've not been in a constant state of anxiety when out walking with him. I was kind of feeling that our backyard was not rattler territory, that we had a pretty much safe haven. 

I let my guard down.

The big rattlesnake under the deck stairs was looking fat around the middle and even though pissed and rattling loudly, didn't move right away. Perhaps he was digesting breakfast. For some reason I think the ground squirrel is no longer a problem. 

But, as Rosanne Rosannadana would say, "If it ain't one thing, it's another."  

I'm not nearly as freaked out by coyotes, although there are warning signs (read the whole sign):

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Rollin' In The Grass...What a Gas...Can You Dig It?

Our big boy Benni loves the grass...and our town green has the only real grass for miles around..

Monday, August 5, 2019

Re-Post: In Celebration of Woodstock August 15-17, 1969 - An Excerpt From My Memoir

I am posting an unabridged chapter from my memoir in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival. I look back and in many ways do not recognize the person I was, the Frank before coming out, the Frank that returned from a year in Rome, the Frank that was thrust into a new sub-culture of hippies, mind-altering drugs and protests.

When Woodstock took place I had never even smoked pot, although later that year I discovered the weed and indulged frequently. Never did anything stronger (mainly out of fear that it would be a bad experience).

Now, by the standards of the 60s, I would be considered "conservative" although as my readers know, I am basically a progressive liberal, though I am not out marching in the streets. Now I am even leery of medicinal marijuana and CBD. Try not to take anything stronger than Alieve.

I hope you enjoy this little vignette. Feedback appreciated.

/8/ By the Time We Got to Woodstock (Unabridged Chapter)

WHEN I GOT OFF the American Airlines flight in Hartford in June of 1969, the last leg of my trip from Rome via Chicago, I was no hippie. I wasn’t even sure I knew what a hippie was. But I probably looked like one: one who was smuggling contraband to boot.

I had a scruffy beard and was wearing sunglasses. I wore the heaviest pants I owned, a pair of corduroys, a T-shirt, and over that, a long-sleeved shirt, two sweaters, a sport jacket, and a London Fog-type trench coat. The pockets of the coat were stuffed with socks, underwear, a Kodak Instamatic camera, several religious articles blessed by the Pope, a pair of sexy Greek sandals with the long laces that Valerie got for me on a trip to Greece, and whatever else I could manage to fit in. I had a large carry-on bag and an authentic Italian-made guitar in a leather case slung over my shoulder. I must have looked ridiculous, but at least I had been conscientious about keeping the weight of my checked luggage under the required fifty-pound limit.

Once back in New England, the initial culture shock I experienced and my nostalgia for sidewalk caf├ęs, Roman ruins, and honking Fiats quickly gave way to readjustment to McDonald’s, suburban neighborhoods, and Chevrolets. But a dormant, rebellious part of my personality began to emerge that was more in tune with the prevailing popular counter-culture that included protests, tattered jeans, and long hair.

Soon after my return, I got together with a couple of my college friends, Michael Buonanno and Wayne Chesney. Wayne, as I’ve mentioned before, was a bit effeminate despite his tales of womanizing, and Michael, a lanky bookworm-type with dark-rimmed glasses, was a self-proclaimed intellectual and free thinker. Both were interested in attending (but Michael was the more eager) a concert we’d heard about that was scheduled for later that summer in nearby New York State. I was elected to get us all tickets for the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, which was to be held from August 15 to 17, 1969.

Since I was the only one of us with a car, I also provided limo services. I picked up Michael in Springfield and Wayne just outside of Albany and we drove down to Bethel, New York, to join a half million or so other young people who were gathering to listen to Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and dozens of other performers who had become icons of the counterculture that was sweeping the country. 

We were hearing news reports on the radio about huge traffic backups on the New York Thruway and on rural roads leading to the music venue. Despite the reports about all roads being totally jammed, we decided we would try to get through. About twelve miles from the farm where the Woodstock Festival was taking place, we came to a dead stop. It was Friday afternoon.

Of course we were not the only ones. Cars lined the road and people, these so called hippies mostly, were sitting on lawn chairs or on the hoods of vehicles eating sandwiches, drinking Boone’s Farm, and smoking grass. Hoping that the line of cars and vans would start moving, we waited it out. Whenever we were able to move a car length, there were cheers and whoops from fellow pilgrims alongside the road and from cars ahead of us and behind. Soon enough Michael, Wayne, and I realized that each move forward was merely due to someone ahead giving up, turning around, and leaving. 

Many of the concertgoers began abandoning their Volkswagens, Chevy vans, and beat-up pickup trucks along the side of the road and walking. Some were saying it was a ten-mile walk to the gate, others were saying more like twelve or fifteen.

Michael, not one to think about practical matters or miss out on something he had his mind set on, said, “I think we should walk. Everyone else is.”

Wayne, more cautious and a little out of shape, said, “I don’t know. I suppose if it were a mile or two. But they’re all saying maybe ten miles or more. I don’t think I can walk that far. Besides, that means walking all the way back to our car later.”

“Yeah,” I said, “if we can even find the car again.”

I was quickly coming to the conclusion that we were not the free spirits we pretended to be. “Well,” I said. “I’m not really willing to leave the car here. I’m really not as laid-back as all these freaks and potheads. What if a bunch of these guys on LSD decides my car is a spaceship or something and break in so they can return to
the earth from whatever planet they’re on and save the universe?”

I had no clue what tripping might be like, but it was my car, and I had the last word. I convinced them it was prudent to return home.

“Yeah,” Michael said. “I guess you’ve got a point there.”

We dropped off Wayne in his upscale Albany suburb late that evening. Michael and I headed home. It rained hard overnight.

On Saturday evening we heard that the traffic jams around the concert had cleared and the roads leading to the festival were open. Michael and I decided to head back to Woodstock early on Sunday morning. We didn’t call Wayne because it would take too long to drive all the way up to Albany again. Even without picking
up Wayne it would take about four hours, including picking up Michael in Springfield.

We got within a mile or so of the festival and figured it would be OK to leave the car, barring any hippie space travelers on LSD. Abandoned cars still lined the road and people were walking in both directions. Some, looking tired and muddy, were leaving, but others were hanging around their vehicles, and many appeared to be just arriving. 

When we passed the gate, or should I say walked over the chain link fence, it was early Sunday afternoon. Most of the concert was over, but groups that had been delayed due to the rain and technical problems were still playing or waiting their turn.

What I remember most is the smell. The aroma of deep, dark, fermenting-hay-and-manure-enriched mud. And alternating whiffs of wood smoke from smoldering campfires and the unmistakable and ubiquitous aroma of cannabis sativa, pot. The combination created a sensory backdrop for the music of The Band, Blood Sweat and Tears, Crosby, Stills ,Nash and Young, and the other groups that played on through the night as we sat on a piece of plastic that we had found left behind in the pile of trash, in the middle of what had recently been a cornfield.

Michael said, “I’ll be right back. I’m going to try to find some grass; I want to get high for this music.” He knew I had never smoked pot and I declined his invitation to try it now, so he didn’t insist I join him. He wandered a few yards away and soon ended up talking to a group of guys and girls. He was laughing his odd, snorty laugh as he took a joint from some guy with long, unkempt hair and a barely discernible yellow bandana that, when he gestured, caught the glow of the campfire in front of him.

Michael took a deep drag and held his breath. “Thanks,” he must have said while trying not to breathe out too much of the potent smoke. Then I’m sure he followed with, “I’ll have another toke, if that’s OK.”

He was not shy about asking complete strangers for something he wanted. He sat down with his new friends until he was sufficiently high to enjoy the music and then wandered back to where I was sitting.

“After the joint, we did a bowl of hash. That’s some good shit,“ he said. “I’m really fucked up.”

We sat, Michael swaying his head to the sounds of Ten Years After. I was probably the only spectator at Woodstock who wasn’t stoned. We sat, me most uncomfortably, on our plastic real estate while others around us were so stoned or high or drunk that they didn’t care about mud or smells or being comfortable. 

I was the one who had suggested coming here, but, even though I may have looked like one of the crowd, it was not easy for me to go with the flow. It was never easy for me to go with the flow. I’m not even sure I knew what the phrase meant.

Here I was at Woodstock, in the midst of America’s youth subculture, trying again to fit in. Three months before, I’d been wearing an Italian fitted camicia and hip-hugging black velvet pants at the fancy farewell dinner dance, sipping Sambuca at a trattoria and hailing taxis with feigned European sophistication. Here on a smoky August night, I sat with Michael as shirtless hippies made love to their women in the open air on sleeping bags or in sagging orange tents that moved tellingly with their sexual tempo. Rock bands I’d never heard of serenaded all of us into the night.

We’d been mostly awake for more than a day. The sun was rising. It was Monday morning. If I had nodded off at all it was a half-sleep, not dreaming, not fully awake, the music hypnotic except when the microphone squealed every time an announcement was made from the stage; the campfire and marijuana smoke and people walking by, talking, laughing, asking things like, “Hey, man, anybody got some acid?” or “Where are the Porta-Johns?” all wove their way into my sleep/wake dream.

The Porta-Johns, just beyond the field of tents, had evidently been overflowing for days, and entering one was pretty disgusting, even to pee. I was glad that circumstances had shortened the time we had to spend there, the free music not quite making up for lack of creature comforts.

The misty light of sunrise revealed the debris of what had been, for a few days, a small city of half a million people. Empty wine bottles, soda and beer cans, paper bags, blankets, clothing, trampled nylon tents, and smoldering campfires dotted the pasture.

We were too tired to be very hungry. We had eaten the chips and sandwiches we brought along and made a breakfast of some grapes, a package of peanut butter crackers, and a couple of warm Cokes. We wandered around the field taking in the sights—lots of shirtless, barefoot young men caught my eye—as we headed toward the gate.

“You ready to leave?” I asked Michael. “Or do you want to hear more?”

Much of the crowd had already deserted the venue during the night as even hippies had responsibilities that came with Monday morning. Neither Michael nor I had anywhere to be.

“Yeah, I’m ready to go. I hope we can find the car,” Michael said. “I think we came in from over there.” He pointed to the left. 

We walked along the side of the road past a wooded area and a pond where people were swimming and washing up. There were a few naked guys and girls splashing around and I envied their freedom. I couldn’t see much from the road, so I also envied their up-close view of the activity.

*      *      *      *      *

In the months and years after Woodstock, although I may have looked the part, I was never a full-fledged, card-carrying, hallucinogenic drug-using, communal hippie—unless, of course, you count smoking marijuana and sharing an apartment with six other guys and the fact that I wore tattered bell-bottom jeans and let my hair grow into an Afro.

No, I was not a hippie, but I was gravitating toward not so much my own comfort level but the least uncomfortable of the available options. The most uncomfortable was the dorm environment created by the beer-swilling, macho campus-boys who got drunk on Friday evening, remained that way all day Saturday, and left the bathrooms in shambles. I would spend as much time away from them as possible; some weekends practically living in the student center, the snack bar, and the library.

Off-campus life suited me better, but required more planning and depended on friends actually wanting to share space. I hung around with two different circles of friends—one, a group of conscientious, more or less asexual, closeted, or in-denial gays; and the other, a group of academic, asexual, or closeted straights who experimented with mind-expanding drugs, believed in the cultural revolution, and called themselves freaks.

Mine was mostly a tangential role, where I and a few others occupied the space intersecting these two overlapping circles, like a Venn diagram. I drifted among the groups but never felt as if I really fit in anywhere. 

But they were the folks that were, in one way or another, my friends, my support system, and my social circle during my senior year and the year after when I returned to make up the few credits I needed to graduate.

My identity as a student was defined partly by my living situation—one that seemed to change each semester and with it, my lifestyle. One semester I’d be an intellectual recluse and live in a private room in the senior dorm; another semester, I’d be isolated in a small apartment with Michael; then I’d be in a large house with six other guys where I often felt like an interloper. I even lived for a time in the basement catacombs of a huge convent where Phil Swanson and I each had a room in exchange for kitchen cleaning duties. But even that was his gig; I felt like a homeless freeloader.

Nineteen sixty-nine and 1970 were depressing years, judging by most of the music we listened to, like Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” or their Bookends album: music to slit wrists by. 

Around that time, a bunch of us got together to run a coffee house in an empty building on campus. I made espresso, hot chocolate, and mulled cider while the others played guitar, sang protest songs, and read poetry.

The guys I hung around with shared similar ideas about social justice and antiwar issues and apprehensions about getting drafted. I was more than worried about the military draft, especially with my college deferment about to run out. I couldn’t imagine how I’d survive the induction medical exam, let alone boot camp. After all, just being with a bunch of guys on a basketball court could precipitate an anxiety attack and make me feel thoroughly emasculated. The sustained anxiety I would experience in basic training and living in barracks was too frightening even to think about.

In December 1969, the United States Selective Service instituted a draft lottery. All of our male bodies were numbered by a chance drawing of birthdates to establish the order in which we would be called into military service and possibly go to war. Those with low numbers would be certain to be called soon after graduation when our academic deferments could no longer protect us. The lottery sorted us like goats and sheep ready for a June judgment day.

“Lucky me, I got 23,” Walt Hawley said with his usual sarcasm. “What’d you get?”

Walt was a journalism major. Back in sophomore year, Walt and I had written a regular column for the college newspaper, which we titled “Diogenes.” We were quite audacious in our choice of topics and commentary, at least for the times and the milieu of a small Catholic liberal arts college not used to boat-rocking. That was also the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and Walt and I along with a handful of sober and socially conscious students staged a sit-in to prevent a student-sponsored, Spring-Break-Keg-Party-and-Parade from moving off campus into the streets. We held hands and sat across the college access road. The drunks were pissed. It was my first protest.

“I’m 334,” I said, almost embarrassed to admit that I’d been spared a stint in the army by sheer luck, and knowing that Walt was sure to be called.

“Well, that calls for a couple of beers,” Walt said. I wasn’t sure if he intended to numb his own fears or to celebrate my good fortune. I was soon certain it was the former, because Walt got pretty shit-faced.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Fourth of July 2019

Found all kinds of political stuff on the Internet that I could post here on this very, let's say UNIQUE, Fourth of July 2019.

But instead, here is a picture of my Bougainvillea that I bought from the barely alive plant clearance shelf at Lowe’s about two months ago. It was basically a stick with a few leaves in a pot of dirt. Paid $5 for it. 

I figured I could revive it but it has exceeded my expectations. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Pride Santa Fe 2019

Went to Pride Festival in Santa Fe with Denise and the dogs, Benni and Gilbert (our house guest while his dads are away).

New York it ain't...but....It is amazing that this festival takes place (or can take place) here and around the globe 50 years after the Stonewall riots. 

Stonewall...the protest that came as a result of so many years, so many centuries, of oppression. It is an oppression that we all carry within our collective and individual memory and in our consciousness and in our viscera. 

Liberation from that oppression is sweet. But we are definitely not there yet.

It is amazing that I can be there with my rainbow hat and a young woman comes up to me and says "I love your fedora!" and high fives me. We've come a long way baby.

I wonder if the youngsters know that the music they're dancing to is by Bronski Beat and released 35 years ago in 1984!
(Sorry for the delayed flip - it will go horizontal momentarily)

I remember going to Gay Pride in NYC in the late 80s or early 90s with a group of the kids from Your Turf - the youth support group I and Leon and Joyce and Robin facilitated. One of the "graduates" of the group had a job driving school busses and was able to rent a bus for the day. About 15 kids and 10 adults went to Pride on that bus. We never even thought about getting "parental permission" or whether we needed special insurance, or if it was illegal to transport kids across state lines. Most were in their late teens or early twenties, so I guess we were OK.

Me and Leon
I was moved when the "Gender Non-conforming" contingent marched by. 

I was thinking how wonderful that these individuals can express their "I Am What I Am-ness" and how they deserve the basic human right to be who they are and who they choose to be without some right-wingnut, fundamentalist christian judgmental bigot telling them otherwise and trying to deny them that

For the finale:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Happy 50th Anniversary Stonewall and LGBT PRIDE

I'm not going to write much except to say Thank You to all the pioneers of Gay Liberation and LGBT  Movement for Equality.

I've worn the Lambda since 1984
So many TV specials and YouTube documentaries have aired or have been available to stream this month. Go look them up.

Happy Pride!

sparkly rainbow

sparkly rainbow pictures


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