Sunday, December 4, 2022

Netflix Movies

 We watched a (Christmas) RomCom last evening on Netflix. We really should make popcorn when we put on a movie but I never think of it. 

Anyhow the movie was "Noel Diary".  Not a gay movie.

Justin Hartley as Jacob Turner, previously from the TV series This Is Us, isn't bad to look at. And the story is not awful. Sorry for the negative positives, but that is the best I can do given it is a rather typical RomCom. Of course the fact that it takes place in upstate New York, Connecticut and Vermont, our previous familiar territories, made watching it a bit more personal.

My main criticism is that something was just wrong about the winter/snow scenes. If anyone has lived in New England where the story takes place (or anyplace where there are snowy winters) one would know that when you put the heat/defroster on in the car or Range Rover or whatever, the snow and ice on the windows does eventually melt. I couldn't understand why the car windows were always frosted.

Some of the snow scenes looked authentic, and other just looked fake. Come on, movie makers, you can do better. The scenes in which you can see the steamy breath as characters talked - were they filmed in a meat locker or really outdoors in winter.

The other thing I found odd was that Rachel spent an awful lot of time standing out in the snow and cold on more than one occasion or sitting with Jacob's dog in a vehicle that was not running for what seemed like hours while Jacob and his dad put lights on a Christmas tree. 

Some of the plot twists were a bit of a stretch, not entirely believable. But it was worth watching on a cold winter night.

 

We also watched "Front Cover" a gay film about a Chinese American stylist (Jake Choi as Ryan) who is hired to work with a young male Chinese movie star, (James Chen as Ning). The movie explores the cultural beliefs and attitudes toward gays and juxtaposes the Chinese and Chinese American experiences. The writer and actors do a superb job with the material. 

The only thing I found confusing was why the young actor Ning needed a stylist to begin with - he was quite cool and stylish without any help from Ryan.

The pivotal scene was when Ryan and Ning go with Ryan's parents to visit Ryan's grandmother in a nursing home. Both the dialogue and what was not said was very revealing of the characters and was important to the rest of the story.

I'd recommend it.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Finally Discovering My Drag Personna (?)



A couple of weeks ago I recommended “From Scratch” on Netflix as we enjoyed it a lot. So we also recommended it to our neighbors, Susanne and Larry. They really liked it.

But over coffee Sunday, Susanne made a comment that took me off guard.

I should state that I have never been confused about my gender (I came out as gay rather late in life but definitely identified as male).

Susanne happened to mention that the old Sicilian woman/grandma/widow who was Lino’s mother, (Filomena played by Lucia Sardo) reminded her of me!!!

Lucia Sardo as Filomena

Filomena with her son Lino

That is the first time anyone ever told me I reminded them of an old Italian woman. (I'm sure I could have reminded her of Lino 40 years ago. - Leon says I was a real "Guido") But now...I'm a Filomena...

I’m thinking about getting an ankle length black dress and a pair of black low heels. Maybe a shawl too. I'll do drag as Filomena, or maybe Phil O'Meana...and my dream is to be featured on the YouTube channel “Pasta Grannies” …hmmm.

 As far as Old Italian women are concerned, here are my real Italian Grandmas

And my real Italian Grandpas






Friday, November 25, 2022

Blast From a Former Life

 My brother sent me this picture and I didn’t believe it was me. He assured me that it is. If I had the photo that one of our friends took of me last night after dinner I would be twice as embarrassed. OMG. 

                        (Circa 1969)

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving - Looking Back on Past Novembers and Decembers and Januarys and Februarys

Connecticut 2013 Family Photo
Happy Thanksgiving to All

 Having much to be thankful for this year and in years past. And so much of what is in the news of late is in stark contrast to the love, life, nature and beauty we are forever grateful for. 

So here are some old photos celebrating the season and love, life, nature and beauty. 

Thanksgiving being a kind of official (for me) beginning of winter, the photos are all from past Novembers, Decembers, Januarys and Februarys. (March may have snuck into the mix as well).

P.S. I don't want a new phone, but I would appreciate a better camera than what is on on the iPhone SE which I have. Not all of these were taken with the iPhone SE.  Some are older.

One of My Favs, Terryville Connecticut

2020 My Sister-in-Law Made the Table Runner,
the Squash Were Volunteers That Year

Mercy Center, Madison, Connecticut

Frost - Timeless

December 2014 - Central Park, NYC 

December 2014 - Central Park, NYC 

Benni, Mercy Center, Madison, Connecticut

Leon, Mercy Center, Madison, Connecticut
Madison, Connecticut

November, 2013 - Benni, Leon, Ogunquit, Maine

Wood Pile, Bristol, Connecticut

Buttermilk Falls, Pequabuck, Connecticut

Buttermilk Falls, Pequabuck, Connecticut 

Buttermilk Falls, Pequabuck, Connecticut

Buttermilk Falls, Pequabuck, Connecticut

Buttermilk Falls, Pequabuck, Connecticut

Some Garden Saint, Bristol, Connecticut

Katjia and Benni

Benni, Bristol, Connecticut

Benni, Bristol, Connecticut

Bristol, Connecticut

The Driveway We Don't Miss, Bristol, Connecticut

Katjia and Benni

The Homestead, Bristol, Connecticut

Benni

Leon and Benni, New Mexico

Snowman, New Mexico

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Hope There's Enough Coffee for All Those Cookies I'll be Baking (Maybe)




Monday, November 21, 2022

A Few Words About Club Q

 There have been so many mass murders in this country and they all weigh heavy on my heart, especially those where school children have been gunned down. 

But when the LGBTQ community is attacked it wounds a different place in my heart. 

It brings back memories (and the feelings that go along with them) of all our community has gone through from before Stonewall and Gay Lib and the AIDS crisis and Marches on Washington and Matthew Shepard and Pulse and the personal struggles of every one of us. 

I thank the person(s) who stopped the murderer at Club Q. In some existential sense, in that moment, that person(s) saved all of our lives. 

I cry easily these days. What is happening to our world? I am old and I fear for those younger than me. 


Peace.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Something to Watch on Cold Winter Nights

 I can't resist anything Italian so I was eager to see the new Netflix series "From Scratch" which is about an African-American woman who goes to Florence to study art and meets an Italian, more precisely, a Sicilian chef and, well it goes on from there.

I wouldn't define the story as just a "chick flix" or a "Hallmark card" because the script and the acting are really superb. The story may well appeal to women more than to men (although Lino is eye candy for the gay audience as well as for the ladies) but there is more substance to the story that gives it a wider appeal.

The inter-racial relationship presents a tension that drives the story initially but the complexity of the characters and ultimately their acceptance, respect and love are the values that make the story real. It's addictive. We watched several episodes each evening and finished the series last evening. Emotional.

This may start out as a popcorn film but by the last few episodes you'll be trading the popcorn for kleenex.

 

Another series is Tiny Pretty Things a drama that takes place at a ballet school in Chicago. The series begins following an accident - or was it attempted suicide or attempted murder? that leaves a student in a coma on life support. We see the passion and dedication of the students for their art and the intense physical endurance and athletic abilities and emotional discipline required of them as they train and compete for a place in the world of dance.

As the series progresses we are given glimpses into the personal lives of the students and the demons that they wrestle with as they try to fulfill the expectations imposed on them by parents, instructors and themselves. The lies, the schemes, the back-stabbing, the passion, the emotions, all keep the viewer interested. We are not yet finished watching the series but have only a few episodes left in our queue. Popcorn, yes.


Monday, November 7, 2022

Pre Election Day Political Rant

Why Democrats are not an Overwhelming Majority is Unfathomable

 

 At the risk of becoming the target of wrath I will put this thought out there.

There is a strong possibility that republicans will come out ahead in the midterms. Or at least have a showing that will give them the appearance of having a mandate.

The tragic flaw of democracy lies in the fact that it can become paralyzed when there is no longer a clear majority, or perhaps...when the majority is no longer clear. When it takes so little to tip the scale.

If the scale tips to the right and republicans take control of the Senate and have a strong hand in the House we may be facing years of vengeful attempts to thwart any and every democratic proposal, or worse, a slew of congressional committees with a mission to impeach and overthrow democrats and the work of the January 6th Committee. Or worse, a twice impeached, criminal, traitorous, incompetent, sociopathic, narcissistic ex-president running for president in 2024.

If these things happen, we will all, to one degree or another, deserve what we get. And the Democrats will share in the blame. Democratic candidates and leadership have been, as is their habit, way too nice.

Always on the defensive, rarely on the offensive. Practically silent on the issue of the economy - an issue on which they could have aggressively and legitimately taken the upper hand. And there are the many accomplishments of the Biden Administration that they could have spotlighted.

And the Dems could have more aggressively pointed to the obvious hypocrisy of the republican governors and elected officials taking credit for the dollars their states received thanks to Biden and the Democrats who passed the funding bills - bills the republicans opposed and voted against.

And most of all, the angry, ignorant, misinformed supporters of the republican party candidates will deserve what they get: a fascist, far right, christian nationalist, conspiracy-driven, hate mongering, election-denying, anti-everything republican party running/ruining the country and pulling out the rug from under them.

It may take years, but when their path of destruction becomes undeniable by their own constituents, when the degree of suffering and misery they cause becomes intolerable, maybe then those that supported them for whatever selfish, conspiratorial, religious, libertarian and anti-government reasons will finally be forced to admit that the republican party is a complete and utter failure and a clear danger to democracy and our country. But that may be optimistic.

Hopefully by then it won’t be too late to fix things. But that, too, may be optimistic.

So long as the republicans are influencing public policy to any degree or should I say dismantling government, we need to brace ourselves — especially LGBTQs and women and those dependent on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and the poor and the sick and indigenous peoples and blacks and latinos, and educators and librarians and doctors and nurses and health care workers and hospitals and so many others. 

And I don't understand why we are not in the clear majority. (Can someone enlighten me?)

Yes, brace yourself. It will be a bumpy ride.

Prepare for the ride ahead. 

Prepare to endure some suffering. 

Prepare to endure much misery. 

And prepare to resist.


 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

It's Only Gotten Worse

     I came across an old email exchange from 2010 and I offer it as a glimpse into what has now become ingrained in the psyche of many conservative Americans. That is the belief that as conservatives their mission is to save America from socialism and all it stands for: diversity, equality, civil rights, LGBTQ acceptance.

    These beliefs or belief system has grown out of the “seeds of doubt and discontent and discord and hate” that the right-wing extremists and republican ideologues have been sowing for years. The thing about seeds is that they are tiny, almost unnoticeable and insignificant. But eventually they bear fruit.

    Back in 2012 an email was forwarded to me by my cousin (a former school teacher). The video by ABC News was about bridges being built by a Chinese construction crew in California. It is presented in the email as “shocking” and it “will make you sick” - ostensibly because it’s un-American.

    Well it didn’t make me sick, but the sentiments behind the message did:


This is absolutely SHOCKING !!

I can't believe ABC exposed this!!!  We have the dumbest Government
Subject: U.S.A.Bridges and Roads Being Built by Chinese Firms  
U.S.A. Bridges and Roads Being Built by Chinese Firms
Shocking to say the least! This video is a jaw-dropper that will make you sick. (It was also shocking that ABC was actually reporting this story.) The lead-in with Obama promising jobs in the U.S. by improving our infrastructure is so typical of all his promises! Our tax dollars are at work - for CHINA !!!
I pray all the unemployed see this and cast their votes accordingly in 2012!


(https://youtu.be/fcPnDigSu2M)


    So I watched the video and had this reply to the entire group to whom the email was sent, most of whom I did not know. I couldn’t help but to play the “persecuted gay” card for emphasis:

    Goes to show, Nothing is simple.  The world economy is so complex. Further, this appears to be a California decision, not an Obama policy; in fact, that National Policy seems to have been circumvented by California's desire to save money.

    I don't understand why Obama is being vilified.  There is something very deeply wrong with our society that is at the root of such divisiveness.
 
    Neither Obama, nor any of  the Republican [presidential] candidates are going to fix this illness that the country is experiencing.  It would be fantasy to even think so.

    But I sincerely believe that without an obstructionist congress, Obama's vision would have produced results that we could all be proud of.

    I think many people are willing to sacrifice real, equitable solutions to America's economy and social responsibilities for narrow, ideological, and "religious" beliefs. This is sad and destructive.

    As a gay person who has experienced 60 years of hatred, ridicule, discrimination, and condemnation from right wing, evangelical, and narrow-minded people, how could anyone expect me to support my oppressors - those who continue to spread lies, erroneous "opinions" and hatred toward fellow Americans who happen to be gay or Lesbian.

    I am sick and tired of being mister nice guy, and keeping quiet, so as not to offend anyone. I will speak my mind and call judgmental statements couched in pseudo-religious, sanctimonious rhetoric what it is - HATRED.

    All of the current Republican [presidential] candidates share that in common and I, for one, believe that that alone makes them unfit to be President.

    Please keep religion out of government, because if we let YOUR religion influence government, other religions will soon demand the same influence, and we may not like the results. That is my Gay Agenda.
 
    The fact that the Chinese are “building our bridges” pales in comparison to the insidious hatred that is being spread by right wing ideologues.
 
    If and when we can heal our country's wounds and learn to respect those who are different, the issue of “Bridges and Who Builds Them” will take care of itself.

    Sorry if anyone is offended, but my VERY LIFE is being threatened by those who spread hatred.


-Frank DeFrancesco



    On Jan 29, 2012, my cousin, “G,” who, I repeat, had been a school teacher, replied by email. (I have inserted bold print for emphasis):


Thank you,  [Frank]
    
    I never thought of you as a gay person. I think of  you as my loving cousin.    

    I think religion should be kept out of all government. I want as little government as possible. I don’t want them telling me what I can and can not do.    

    We should all have the same opportunity to live our lives as we choose. I don’t want them telling me what car I should drive, what lightbulbs I should use or what health care I have to buy. I don't even want them telling me I have to use a seat belt when I drive.     

    I am smart enough to take care of myself. It's too much government. As a senior citizen I worry if I'm going to have any healthcare as I age. I don't want America to become a socialist country. I believe Obama is leading us in that direction.
 
         That article about the bridges just came to me as I was writing to you, which just started out as a joke on my part. I don"t know whether it came down from Obama or not, but it certainly isn't good for the country.
 
     I don't know who is best to fix this country. My heart doesn’t feel it's Obama. I'm a registered democrat, but I have lost faith in them.
 
    I'm sorry you were so hurt by that note.  It was not intended to do so. I could not have known what you experienced all your life and you should not have had to go through all of that.
 
I'm glad you answered me and I pray for what ever is best for the country.

 
“G”


    Just to reflect on some of her sentiments which are sometimes illogical or biased or contradictory, but which are the fruits of the “seeds of doubt and discontent and discord” planted by right wing ideologues:

    These folks who’ve bought into the right-wing propaganda don’t want government telling them what they can or cannot do but they fail to recognize that they really do want government to tell some people what they can or cannot do. They won't ban guns but want to ban books; they won't support needy children but they want to ban abortions.

    My cousin easily conflates having to buy new low energy light bulbs with having the option to purchase affordable health insurance. And so she rejects both as if somehow the government has infringed on her freedom - even if it means rejecting the sensible, beneficial choice which will improve her life.

    In the next breath she worries about having health care as she ages, oblivious to the fact that she is on Medicare. She fears the idea of America becoming socialist while failing to acknowledge that socialized health care (Medicare/Medicaid) - actually insures that she will have health care as she ages.

    She is a “registered Democrat” but has “lost faith” in the Democrats. Those seeds of doubt and discontent have definitely sprouted. (Sadly, my cousin now has advanced Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home, and is entirely dependent on Medicaid).
    
    I am coming to the conclusion that we need to prepare ourselves psychologically and “spiritually” for the possibility of a fascist takeover. The crazies and the ideologues and the power hungry and the narcissists and the vengeful and the mob could soon be running things or ruining things.  

And I fear what that may entail.

 

We know what they're AGAINST But....








Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Black Preacher Tells It Like It Is About Walker

 I really don't like posting political stuff...but have been doing so because I remain outraged by the Republican power hungry political machine. Here's one for today.


Monday, October 31, 2022

Just a Reminder

 

Just a Little Reality Check

 David Frum: But if both Republicans and Democrats, left and right, suffer political violence, the same cannot be said of those who celebrate political violence. That's not a "both sides" affair in 2020s America. You don't see Democratic House members wielding weapons in videos and threatening to shoot candidates who want to cut capital-gains taxes or slow the growth of Medicare. Democratic candidates for Senate do not post video fantasies of hunting and executing political rivals, or of using a firearm to discipline their children's romantic partners. It's not because of Democratic members that Speaker Nancy Pelosi installed metal detectors to bar firearms from the floor of the House. No Democratic equivalent exists of Donald Trump, who regularly praises and encourages violence as a normal tool of politics, most recently against his own party's Senate leader, Mitch McConnell. As the formerly Trump-leaning Wall Street Journal editorialized on October 2: "It's all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally, and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell. Many supporters took Mr. Trump's rhetoric about former Vice President Mike Penceall too seriously on Jan. 6."

 [David Jeffrey Frum (/frĘŚm/; born June 30, 1960) is a Canadian-American political commentator and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, who is currently a senior editor at The Atlantic as well as an MSNBC contributor.]

Monday, October 24, 2022

Celebrating 8 Years Married and 34 Years Together

 Happy Anniversary!

Leon & Frank

We've gone through a lot of changes since we met in 1988. I was 40, Leon/Lee was 26. Just a bambino. To this day whatever brought us together and kept us together is a mystery. 

Lee, the bambino, has grown cuter every year and I, I have grown older and older and greyer and wrinklier with every year. What he sees in this old man is beyond me!

I am so fortunate to have Leon in my life. We have weathered storms and illnesses and have been strong for one another during some trying times. And we've had three dogs to share our lives and travels with.

Well. I don't want to get too sentimental and mushy...so.

I've picked out a few photos.- all selfies or pics of us together. I don't have 34 pics because there were several years between 1994 and 2001 that are missing photos...Was that before cell phones? 

Also I am not great at keeping track of dates. The photos that I scanned weren't always dated and even the early digital photos do not have date stamps. I have dated some photos with (circa) because, well, close enough.

(circa) 1988

(circa) 1989

1991

1992

1993

(circa) 1994

(circa) 1995

(circa) 1999

2001

2002 (too much salt in my pepper)

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009 - (I think I stopped dying my hair and beard after that)

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014 - Our Wedding Day October 25, 2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

 

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