Friday, January 31, 2014

Classic Verbal Gay-bashing by Hetero Bully Grimm.

 I must say that when I first heard the story about NY Congressman Grimm's threatening statements to NY1 reporter Michael Scotto, I thought to myself and said out loud to Leon, "He sounds exactly like he's a big macho heterosexual bully trying to intimidate a gay guy."

I also said, "Every news reporter should be outraged that one of their colleagues was treated that way."

 Read more here

Now, when I said that, I had no idea that the reporter, Scotto, is in fact gay. Just that in comparison to bully Grimm he looked like a mild-mannered chap, considerably less intimidating and probably in Grimm's view, an easy target.

I also thought that as a reporter, Scotto was quite gutsy to ask Grimm about the campaign contributions issue. After all, that's what reporters do, and the good ones are gutsy, trying to get the scoop on a story. Michael Scotto was merely doing his job.

Despite what Scotto and his colleagues say about Grimm's threats not being gay-bashing, I can only say, as a gay man, these are the kinds of things we have heard before - and always aimed at someone who is gay or perceived to be gay - and always coming from some macho, misogynistic, heterosexual homophobe of a male type asshole.

Despite what the straight men who offer their opinions might think - straight men RARELY IF EVER GET IT. They say, "well that's just how men talk to other men, other straight men, when they get angry."  That misses the point. The language and the bullying is in its essence, homo-hating. It equates being "man enough" with being able to intimidate, fight, hurt, maim and kill the weaker male. The basis of this is the same as what underlies hate crimes against gays.

The fact that it rings so true - the posturing, the threats, the language are classic hetero bullying tactics - makes it definitely a hate act, in my opinion.

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More Closet Pics - Day Three

OK, so it ain't pretty. It's "basementy" - like for a basement.

Couldn't wait to stock the shelves.

I'm all out of this beverage.

But there's wine.

So see, with light switches, telephone, garage door opener and electric outlet, this wasn't just a measure and cut project. And don't forget, this materials are salvaged, found, left over, re-use. Like the clothes hanger rod which was an old window washing pole.

The project isn't quite finished. There is some trim to add and we're trying to decide whether to paint it. I think Leon should "wall paper" with his collection of old license plates.

I Need Subtitles for Life

I am not a stupid person. I went to college and even managed to get a Master's Degree.

Leon has dyslexia but is probably smarter than me in many ways.

He watches a lot of BBC TV and has no trouble understanding English. I have trouble with Downton Abbey on occasion and once even turned on the closed caption so I wouldn't miss anything.

Leon pointed out this Budweiser commercial and said "It's cute, watch it."

So I did. I said, "Yeah, it is cute. But I didn't get the story. The lady wants to adopt a puppy. The puppy went to say goodbye to the horse. Then the cute guy who had the puppies gives the puppy to the lady. The lady and the puppy drive off with the husband. Then the horses come and attack the car as they're driving off. And the puppy gets out and runs with the horses. I don't get it. The story doesn't make sense. And what are they advertising anyway?"

Leon: "You need subtitles for everything in your life."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Old House - Carpentry Project Day Two

This could have been a project for This Old House - before it became This New MacMansion. We live in this old house and we're building some shelves and a closet next to the basement stairs.

Except for new 2x3s we are using salvaged wood and scrap - some old shelving and plywood. We're not using drywall because we want to spend as little as possible on the project. So nothing is exactly the right width or length, so lots of measuring and cutting and getting around the electricity and switches.

The shelves will be open to the stairs so I can store my canned goods, and grocery items that I stock up on when they're on sale.

We moved the propane heater to the far side of the closet and had to reinstall it. I underestimate Leon's talents and attention to detail. He ran the propane line neatly down one side and secured it with copper brackets.

The closet, more like an alcove without doors will be for coats, the recycle bin and whatever else.

And there is a cubby hole for the air compressor.

Tomorrow or the next day: walling up the project. We are hoping we have enough plywood. And that we can cut it without wasting any.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Carpentry Project Phase I

We got all the stuff we needed for this minor project at HomoDepot. Some stuff we already had or was salvaged from Leon's doing home/garage/basement clean up jobs.

So tools in hand we set out to build a closet and shelving between an existing wall and the basement stairs. We had already removed the existing wall down to the studs.

Our friend Dave came over to help with the rewiring of a couple of outlets before we started the carpentry.

On TV home makeovers they do an entire house remodel in a weekend. Issues like we have to deal with are, for them, insignificant. For example:

The basement floor is not exactly level.

The cordless drill battery dies after drilling six holes and screwing six screws.

The drill bit breaks.

The battery falls out.

The level gets misplaced.

The new switch plate gets misplaced.

That new 90 degree angle screwdriver attachment gets misplaced.

We spend lots of time looking for the above.

The plywood that it took ten minutes to get into place needs to be notched out and getting it out is more difficult than getting it in.

The power drill/screwdriver is too big to get into the available space.


After all that, we are quite proud of our progress after day one.

On the front half here will be shelves on one side open to the basement stairway and storage below the shelving open to the garage side; then on the back half there will be a closet open to the garage side.

Tomorrow we both have a busy schedule, so we'll get back to the project as soon as we can. How do those home makeover people do it?

Grammy Awards - A Most Inspiring Moment

Just when you think hate may be winning just a little (see Huff Post), something happened at the Grammys that has to inspire hope for so many. (Unfortunately the video source has been deleted and the link is no longer accurate).

And then there's this reflection (Stranger Passing) on how far we've come.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gay Popcorn Movies 5 - (not so gay) Marriage Italian Style (1964) "Matrimonio all'italiana"

A Netflix movie. One that is definitely NOT "TRENDING" - god that's a word I hate.

This past Saturday Leon had gone to the camper show in Boston with Dave and I was home with Benni. It was cold, damp, snowy and a rather good day for a Netflix movie. Benni doesn't care what movies we watch - he is so agreeable on that score and doesn't insist on Lassie re-runs - so it was my choice.

I was in the mood for an Italian classic - one I hadn't seen - Marriage Italian Style with Sophia Lauren and Marcello Mastroianni. The movie is in Italian (actually Neapolitan dialect) with English subtitles.

I'd seen Divorce Italian Style and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, many years ago and loved Sophia Loren from the first. Why are women like Sophia Loren admired by gay men so often. Is it because she is her own person and this comes across in her films?

In this movie, Sophia as Filumena, portrays a woman who is strong and determined. Even though Filumena lives in a society where women have strict, very traditional roles, she is able to transcend the confines of the culture, misogyny, and the often limiting roles of prostitute, mistress, mother and wife by turning her subservience into power.

I am reminded of the movie, Before Stonewall and what I saw as the depiction of some gay men who wore the roles they were relegated to like badges of honor. They too turned their oppression into power by proudly being themselves; and their ability to be their own person took power away from their oppressors.

Perhaps these symbols from the past still have plenty to say to us today.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Sunny, Mild Winter Day - Midwinter Report

Winter goes on. And on. Not my favorite season. Not much is new or exciting. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

It was a pleasant day today. A hike with the dog and Leon and Dottie and her dog Katija.

Vacuumed out the disgusting interior of the Honda Fit. Between the dog and winter crud, the car never stays clean in winter.

Did some writing and getting the basement ready for a project - Leon wants to put in a closet and some shelves so I had to move a bunch of "stuff". We will definitely have to go to Homo Depot because I don't have enough scrap lumber for this project.

Don't anyone hold your breath - it's going to be weeks (hopefully not months) before this is done.

Those Home and Garden shows make projects look SO easy. Everything goes smoothly. They have all the right tools.

When we do anything the drill bit we need is broken or breaks, the saw blade is dull, we don't have the right size screws, we cut the 2x4 one sixteenth of an inch too short, paint gets on the bottom of a shoe and the carpet, the fixture is too big or too small, another trip to the get the picture.

There's always FOOD. That is what I do best.

Made some home made pasta tonight with cauliflower and tuna. Mostly because I had cauliflower in the fridge and several cans of tuna in the cupboard. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

It's not often I make home made pasta, but I should do so more often. It's fairly easy and the results are so deliciously different from any dry box-pasta. Try it.

Details on my blog: Dinner's Ready.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

From the File Cabinet: Daniel at Boys' Beach - Continued

Daniel At Boys' Beach - Continued

            After a short swim and getting Bruno frustrated as he attempted to fetch the rocks that the guys were tossing into the water, they all went back to their spot on the beach.           

            “This is too wonderful for words,” Frankie said for probably the tenth time as they sprawled out on their towels. “What about lunch? I’ve got tuna salad or tuna salad. And some sliced tomatoes.”
            “Sounds good,” Danny said.
            Frankie passed out sandwiches and Jay fed Bruno a snack.
            “It’s great here,” Danny said. “I could get used to it.”
            “As much as I love it here, I doubt that I could live here,” Frankie philosophized. “Especially in the winter. They say the unemployment rate is like eighty-percent or something and there’s nothing to do but drink.”
            “Like I said, I could get used to it.” Danny was only half-joking. “I like the solitude – or at least the opportunity to have solitude when you want it.”
            Jay said, “There’s such a thing as too much solitude. And none at all in the summer. But, the way prices have skyrocketed, we couldn’t afford to live here anyhow. Not unless we had bought a place back in the early eighties and could rent it out for most of the summer, but neither of us had money back then either.”
            “Why rent out your place in the summer, when that is when you most want to be here? No, coming out here once or twice a summer and staying at the campground is fine,” Frankie said, “It makes the time we’re here special. Oh, that reminds me, I want to got out on the schooner Acadia sometime this week. Got to do that at least once a year,” Frankie said. “Love being out on a sail boat and listening to Captain Bill’s stories. Too bad he doesn’t do gay naked cruises.”
            “Yeah, that would be cool,” Danny said, “But I’d love to go out for a sail with you guys, naked or not.”
            And so went a glorious afternoon at the beach. It was one of those September days that seemed too good to be true. Even this late in the season Boys' Beach had a good-sized crowd and it was busy with guys cruising the dunes and walking out into the marsh. Danny and Frankie each slipped on some ear-phones, Danny listening to rock music and Frankie relaxing to the samba rhythms of Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66.
            It was past three-thirty when Frankie observed the exodus from the beach had begun. “Looks like the boys have to get back to their B&B’s or hotel rooms to take showers and get ready for Tea Dance. I, for one, am not ready to leave. It’s just too nice. We’ll do cocktails at camp while the steaks are on the grill.”
            “T-dance is mostly boring S&M. You know, the pretty boys doing ‘Stand and Model’ and the ‘Steroid and Muscle’ types flexing while lifting their Michelob Lights. Besides, the beach is just getting interesting when the tourists are heading for the Boatslip,” Jay said. “As a matter of fact, I’m going for a walk to see if anything interesting is happening now. Be back in a few.”
            Frankie held on to Bruno’s rope to keep him from following his favorite Daddie. Several guys on their way back to town walked past their spot. Daniel, who was now lying naked on his back, stretched out to grab his pack of cigarettes. The pose would have made a great Honcho centerfold and the motion made a few guys stop to gaze on Daniel’s sexy body.
            An older gent walked into his buddy who had stopped in his tracks and they both nearly fell on top of Danny as they awkwardly attempted to regain their balance. Jay was headed back from his walk.
            “Hey, Danny,” Jay said, “I’m sure if you take a stroll in the dunes you will surely get molested. Just warning you. Of course, I had nothing to worry about.”
            “I’ll just stay put. I don’t think I much care for cruising the dunes.”
            “Maybe you’d change your mind if you gave it a chance,” Jay said.
            Just then, a cute guy, about Daniel’s age, walked right up to Danny and got his attention.
            “I just want to thank you for being here today,” he said. “You are beautiful and I really enjoyed looking at you all day. You made my day. Thanks.” He didn’t wait for a response. He just continued down the beach.
            Danny couldn’t have responded if he wanted to. He was speechless. Embarrassed. Dumbfounded. He wasn’t used to this kind of attention. Coming from friends and strangers alike. Only moments later, another man, slightly older than the first, walked up to Danny and introduced himself.
            “Hi! I’m Adam and I had to talk to you before I left the beach. I saw you earlier when I was walking by. I want to have sex with you. Here’s my number. I live in town. Call me. Tonight. Seriously.” Adam handed Daniel a piece of paper with his info. “I’d love to get together and I am willing to please.”
            Daniel, still caught off-guard, just mumbled, “Oh, right, I’m Daniel, uh Danny, thank you, I mean, oh, uh, I don’t know, thanks anyway.”
            Frankie and Jay just laughed and smiled knowingly at Danny's embarrassment.
            “You don’t even know what you’ve got, do you, Danny? Jay asked. “You could have any guy you want, do you realize that? Ah, Danny, what the average gay man would give to have your looks or, if not, to have you for a night.”           
            “Well," Danny answered, "I don’t know. These guys scare me. I don’t know why, but having guys come on to me, it’s just all pretty new.” Danny was clearly blushing beneath his tan.
            “You’ve got Adam’s number. Go for it Danny. Have some fun,” Jay encouraged.
            “Well, we’ll see,” Danny said, "we'll see."
To be continued

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

From the File Cabinet - Boys Beach

A little something to take the chill out.


            Daniel was a friend of Jay and Frankie’s who they had invited up to spend a few days at camp in PTown. Daniel had moved east from Ohio after breaking up with Loretta, the woman he lived with for a couple of years. She’d been possessive and controlling, he finally realized, and knew that only distance would give him the freedom to start a new life without her – a life that included the realization that he really preferred men to women. Jay had worked with Daniel for six years now but this was the first time Daniel had an opportunity to stay with Jay and Frankie in their RV.
            Daniel was in his late twenties and not quite sure of himself when it came to meeting or dating men. He’d had one boyfriend, now an ex-boyfriend and their tempestuous relationship had made him something of a loner. Because of his shyness, Daniel could easily be taken for being aloof. In a place like Ptown, aloofness was normal and even considered desirable – or at least it was a quality that made some men very desirable in the eyes of certain other men.
            Daniel was desirable in his own right, aloof or not. He was about 5-foot-ten, nicely tanned and, despite the fact that he never went to the gym or worked out, he had a perfect physique: big-boned and solid, his arms and torso were those of an Olympic swimmer. His body was decorated with just the perfect amount of dark hair that shouted masculinity without any of the negative qualities of hirsuteness. Daniel did not have the abs of a gym rat, but his belly was flat and taut; a dark treasure trail led from his navel and disappeared into the jeans that hung seductively on his hips and bowed out slightly in the front so that from the right vantage point one could observe a tease of pubic hair. His angular facial features, his cheeks and jaw were accentuated by a sexy 5 o’clock shadow at all hours of every day. His hazel eyes were constantly smiling though his lips were more reserved and showed little emotion.
            “Get your things together, Daniel, we’re heading out to Boys Beach.” Frankie announced.           
            Jay and Frankie and a few of their friends always called the gay section of Herring Cove “Boys Beach” though other Provincetown regulars had other names for the popular spot. It was a relatively remote beach, way past the life-guarded area. It was a good half hour walk from the parking lot or the bike rack and even a bit longer if you hiked out the breakwater from Pilgrims’ Landing to Long Point.
            “And don’t forget to bring plenty of water and your suntan lotion. You wouldn’t want to burn your delicate parts,” Jay added.
            “I’m ready,” Daniel said, dressed in only a pair of cut-offs and holding a rolled up beach towel. “I stuffed a jug of water, some lotion and my cigarettes in here. That’s all I need.”
            Jay and Frankie and their dog Bruno were loaded down like they were going on a desert safari. They had knapsacks, a cooler filled with sandwiches and Diet Coke, a pile of blankets and towels, a beach umbrella, a large thermos jug of ice water, a dog bowl, a leash, and a ten foot rope to keep Bruno from wandering. Somewhere in the pile was a book, a cassette player and the Provincetown Magazine. Bruno had his own saddlebags for water and food and toys. The four of them hopped into Jay’s truck and drove to the Herring Cove parking area.
            “I’ll carry the cooler,” Daniel offered, “and the umbrella, if you like. I don’t mind.”
            Daniel, carrying the cooler, the umbrella and his towel looked even more toned and gorgeous than usual. His bare feet and legs were nicely tanned and his abs glistened with a mere hint of sweat as he walked the beach, effortlessly toting the Igloo cooler. Jay, Frankie and Bruno, in contrast, looked like they were on a month-long expedition.
            The guys made their way past the various groups of sunbathers: past the families with kids, past the Lesbians with kids, past the topless Lesbians, past the naked straight couples and past the gay men with swim suits, around the dunes and to the section of the beach where naked gay men were scattered like castaways. Some single men, some in pairs or groups, soaked up the sun; others were reading books or the daily newspaper, while others frolicked in the waves or strolled nonchalantly along the water’s edge, picking up colored stones or dishing about last night’s tricks.
            “OK, this looks like a good spot,” Frankie said as he dropped a load of beach paraphernalia on the sand. Bruno looked relieved to finally take a rest from the long hike.
            Jay said, “Fine. Looks good. And there’s plenty of eye candy to boot." Frankie and Jay spread out a large blanket and arranged some rocks along the perimeter to prevent an unexpected gust of wind from churning it up. Jay hoisted up the rainbow colored beach umbrella and tied the dog to the center pole.
            Frankie and Jay removed their shorts. “Ah, finally, free,” they both said in unison. Frankie added, “The glorious freedom of being naked on the beach. Has to be the next best thing to heaven, maybe better.”
            “Danny boy, don’t worry about the park rangers,” Frankie said, “they usually just give a verbal warning reminding you that the National Park does not allow nudity. Mostly the rangers don’t go looking for trouble and pretty much ignore the nudity, unless someone gives them flack. Nudity’s been a tradition here for years.”
            “I don’t know about that,” Jay said, “I heard that they’ve got a new head honcho this year and the rangers are under instructions to issue tickets and collect fines if they want to keep their jobs. But it’s after Labor Day, so they might be short staffed and we’ll probably be OK. Besides, there’s usually plenty of warning when the rangers come down the beach on their ATVs. Most guys give a shout and a heads up if they spot a Parkie. Just keep your shorts handy.”
            Frankie said, “I remember when the rangers actually used to patrol the beach on horseback. Maybe that’s what made it so difficult to enforce the no-nudity rule. Much easier to spot a Mounty than a dune buggy.”
            “Well, guys, if you don’t mind I’ll just spread out my towel here and catch some sun. Give me a holler if I need to cover up,” Daniel said as he laid out his magic carpet on the sand about a dozen feet from Frankie and Jay. Frankie didn’t show his disappointment with the distance Danny had decided to put between his towel and their blanket. He had been hoping to keep a closer eye on Daniel’s beautiful body.
            “You never have to cover up, if you ask me,” Frankie said, “but if I see a ranger I’ll let you know.”
            After an hour on the beach, Daniel needed to cool off. There hadn’t been any sign of a ranger, so he walked bare-assed down to the water’s edge and dove in. Bruno, eager for a swim also, tugged at his rope and nearly took the beach umbrella down in an attempt to follow Danny. Frankie got up, untied the dog and the two of them walked down to the water to join Daniel. Jay followed and jumped in before Frankie even got his knees wet. Frankie was trying to adjust to the cool temperature of Herring Cove as Jay sent a cold splash into his face.
            “Hey, cut that out!” Frankie complained.
            And so went a glorious afternoon at the beach. It was one of those September days that seemed too good to be true.
(to be continued)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Father Robert Nugent, New Ways Ministry Died Recently

Father Robert Nugent, SDS,one of the first Catholic priests (co-founder with Sister Jeanine Gramick, SL) to establish a ministry to the nation's LGBT Catholics died recently. While New Ways Ministry is not necessarily known to many, they did work tirelessly to bring the lived experience of LGBT Catholics into Catholic thinking and dialogue. They published informational materials and books and educated the clergy, hierarchy and lay people about LGBT issues; New Ways espoused something of a "liberation theology" that made room for LGBT Catholics to take their rightful place at the table.

It's unfortunate that too few bishops and cardinals and popes were paying attention or taking him seriously.

Link here - In memory of Father Robert Nugent, co-founder of New Ways Ministry.


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