Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday Video

Well, I don't want a thing to do with your kind
And I ain't got no time to kill on your dime
Strung up, hanging 'round
Looking like you're upside down

Well, I ain't wanting to shed no blood, that's your crime
And I ain't wanting to sling no mud, I clean it up
You ain't what I'd call a friend
I wouldn't even if I could pretend
Man, you ain't like anybody else

As night becomes the sun to rise
As dirt becomes the butterflies
As sure as though it always seems to stay the same
And I'll be waiting anxiously
And I'll be falling fast asleep
And I'll be dreaming of the day the dream died
Uh huh

No sticks, no stones could break my bones like you can
If I knew hate, I'd call it love for you, man
High up on the hill, cheaper than a dollar bill
Man, you ain't like anybody else

Should we pretend that it's the end?
Are you my curse or are you my friend?
And if we got hit to the end of the road
Will you be there to carry my load?

I'm getting it back with that terrible feeling
My vision is cracked, but it looks like it's healing
I'm getting it back like it's four in the morning
When the sun only shines as if it's giving a warning

I'm getting it back with the rest of the leap year
I'm keeping the rabbit, the bat, and the reindeer
I'm getting it out, whatever I've gotta keep in
I'm telling the truth, said it don't win with pretend
Should we pretend?
Should we pretend?
Should we pretend?

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Notice

Friends, I am not back at 100% yet, so don't expect miracles from me.

Movie review: A Nos Amors (The Many Loves)

Displays of overt feminine sexuality have been stigmatized for generations. The virgin/whore dichotomy proves tempting to many directors, male and female both. Here, our main character, Suzanne, (Sandrine Bonnaire, in her first role) plays a role as a girl who uses sex with guys to disguise her dysfunctional homelife. She is both a bit of a slut, by parlance, and a bit of a good girl. These are the words of a superior critic to me, lest I be accused of plagiarism.

French indie director Maurice Pialat had been a known quantity before filming A Nos Amores in 1983, considered by many critics to be his best. And in so doing, he launched the career of Bonnaire, a fixture on the French film scene up to the present day. She has transitioned to the role of director herself. Sill a child, but not yet a woman, in this picture she looks like a fawn rather than a mature adult.

Pialat continues the tradition, rooted in male sexual appeal, of the sexually available nubile. We could talk about the inherent fantasy of the role and its objectionable qualities, but it's much more interesting to muse on what lies beyond it. Bonnaire was only sixteen, playing the sort of sexually believable role that would never be tolerated in the United States. The many sex scenes with peers would be labeled "jailbait" today and discussed as such with those parameters first.

Are these Pialat's gendered fantasies or a warm retelling of adolescence? I would opt for the second, while not discounting the first.

But the passion Bonnaire brings to the role is worth discussing, as is the inherent youth and excitement of high school life. These are high school students, though that terminology is not used because of the country of origin. Once again, we focus on the joy and newness of that sometimes ecstatic, sometimes traumatic time in our lives. And as we do, we see it with new eyes, eyes that romanticize and stigmatize in equal terms.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

God Only Knows

When I was get to writing again. These hospitalizations will get to you.

Week of Surprises

In this week of surprises, my father formally accepted me as queer. I am very happy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Love Letter

I've 35 today. Earlier this week I celebrated seven years in DC, the date my life changed forever. But this piece ought to be entitled "In Defense of Monogamy". I've been with my lady for six and a half years and consider ourselves married in all but formal name. I have been at time, at her own request, hesitant to put much about her up here. So she remains a ghostly presence, but has been a constant.

She is silly and gets me out of my super serious self. But she can be tough and tenacious, too. My sexual orientation is not an issue with her. All she asks for is devotion, and has it. This has been an issue with some who are not queer herself, but she is secure in her sexuality.

I know the same old curves with her, but find their familiarity endearing with me. And I welcome them being around forever, just like her. I would find asexuality too alienating, and most of us want someone to partner with for good.

Saturday Video

Hey, hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'
How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?

Hey, hey, sweet baby, don't you think maybe
We could find us a brand new recipe?

I got a hot rod Ford and a two dollar bill
And I know a spot right over the hill

There's soda pop and the dancin's free
If you wanna have fun come along with me

Hey, hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'
How's about cookin' somethin' up with me?

I'm free and ready so we can go steady
How's about savin' all your time for me?

No more lookin', I know, I've been tooken
How's about keepin' steady company?

I'm gonna throw my date book over the fence
Find me one for five or ten cents

Keep it till it's covered with age
Cause I'm writin' your name down on every page

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Quote of the Week

"Of course, this artificial distinction does not strictly obtain in any particular marriage. There is an attempt to break it down. It is an honourable attempt. But our civilization is nevertheless built on that distinction, In order to break down that distinction utterly, it will be necessary to break down all the codes and restrictions and prejudices that keep women out of the great world.

It is in the great world that a man finds his sweetheart, and in that narrow little box outside of the world that he loses her. When she has left that box and gone back into the great world, a citizen and a worker, then with surprise and delight he will discover her again, and never let her go."-Floyd Dell

Friday, October 09, 2015

Saturday Video: Grieg Lyric Pieces Book VIII, Op.65 - 5. Ballad

I Try to Post This Once a Year

You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on, and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag
And skip out for beer during commercials
Because the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions

The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
Blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Mitchell
General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat hog maws
Confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary
The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theater and will not star Natalie Woods
And Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle as Julia
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs
The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner
Because the revolution will not be televised, Brother

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
Pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run
Or trying to slide that color TV into a stolen ambulance
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
On report from 29 districts
The revolution will not be televised

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
Brothers on the instant replay
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
Brothers on the instant replay

The revolution will not be right back after a message
About a white tornado, white lightning, or white people
You will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroom
The tiger in your tank or the giant in your toilet bowl
The revolution will not go better with Coke
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised
Will not be televised, will not be televised
The revolution will be no re-run brothers
The revolution will be live

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Ranch Dressing, Part 2

Ranch Dressing, Part 2. Part 1 is Found Here.

Cars pulled off of roadways. Modular homes filled up without babysitters, the drug not safe for those under age 8. They watched impassively as rows upon ballpoint pen rows filled up on legal pads, and people joined together for protection, uncertain what their parents or sisters or guardians were doing out there.

I swallowed the small blue pill, expecting sleep. Instead I saw space in five dimensions, rainbow trails, ROY G. BIV and all those things I’ve half-learned in middle school chemistry. There were no videos. There was something not interactive about this medication, if it was medication, something that hearkened back to simple times. They gave us scores of charts, which we filled in like math students at some college worksheet.

Every so often, a military GI with a tommy gun opened up a door to a modular home or a real home made out of our famous red clay. What was today? What was tomorrow? Did any of it really matter? I saw everyone’s paint-by-number dreams, like a modern day Jackson Browne.  They took sheet after sheets. The Clutters looked the same. The Smiths looked the same. The Johnsons looked the same. Even the Maranpolas, the Greeks down the way looked the same as us, but theirs was in red, blood red.

It was just Crayola’s, markers and crayons and colored pencils. Nothing serious. The way the papers were collected was with deadly seriousness, as though someone had died.  They even gave it to the same guy, this little fella with fewer stars on his epaulets, who acted like he was due twice as much for duty this profane.

“One more tomorrow, yes?” And we all smiled the smiled of the stoned and the preoccupied. It was almost like speed, but it wasn’t quite that way either. No grinding of teeth. A nice mellow, highly tested chemical that dissolved rapidly and had no need to measure weight or blood pressure, or even pulse rate. You’d swear at the end you’d had a religious experience and maybe you had. You’d brag about it over the school lunch table.

And amid thermos and lunchboxes, the talk was the same the next day. One more day of the mystical pill. Whatever will they think of next? We didn’t much talk about what they wanted from us. It gave us a break from the hunger and the Russians and the Iranians and the fifty minutes if we wanted gasoline. You could skim it off the line if you got desperate and some of us did, but the behavior was discouraged, but the poorest among us had no such reservation. Ever tried to get mineral spirits out of a grey flannel shirt?

And then the military brass started walking all slow-like around 2 pm. We weren’t supposed to be at school, but we knew that. And all the time, they kept walking lolly-gag style with a plastic bag full of those same little blue pills. Round two, said some widow, and so we prepared for round two.  It was our last go-round with the U.S. Army and nobody was afraid to look a gift horse in the mouth, it was two days where we weren’t worried about being poached across the river to the next grist mill.

They started knocking on doors like before, pouring pills into cupped hands into small circular paper contains containers of water.  Plastic cups from all over creation. Free somewhere, once. They drank them down with haste, ready to begin, to learn the meaning of life, even ordinary people who never had no book learnin’ like James Franklin Jamison, the town mentally challenged individual, who you used to call the village idiot.

He was rubbing out answers and blue boxes with his elbows, which soon grew blue. I wonder what his answers said. Could they be what we were looking for all along. As it turns out, there was to go before the Minnesota border and here were in northern Michigan. Not close to nothin’ as the neighbors would say.  

The bullhorns let us know they were leaving soon and for us to dose or forget about it. So I opened up the gate to the bridge and off they sped. As for me, I walked back to the campsite to see what everyone was doing. They kept drawing boxes and talking frantically. I wish I knew that universe they inhabited individually. Was it different from mine?

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Vaccination for HPV

A public service announcement from someone potentially older than you. Do you have HPV (Human Papillary Virus)? Who doesn't, you may be asking yourself? Well, just because it's highly prevalent doesn't mean that it isn't troubling and room for concern.

Having HPV has required me to take three expensive vaccines and go through two painful operating procedures. MSM (Men who have sex with men) are at particular risk, as are women who have sex with men who have sex with men. Or who live in Portland. (I made that part up.)

Get screened and catch the results earlier. If caught earlier, women and men both can get vaccines covered a full cost to your insurance. If not, look for out of pocket cost to be $170 a shot, for a series of three.

Monday, October 05, 2015


Have you ever felt better telling off a smartass parent over the phone before who is resistant to technology? Me too!

New Story

So today isn't a total wash, here's a story I've been working on for the last week.

Iceberg Lettuce

Though it will deny all knowledge, the local army encampment offered local residents of the town an experimental hallucinogen. The young people were the first to partake, drawing incoherent, but at the time meaningful boxes and circles on yellow legal pads. Older residents were more wary of this experience and the forms you had to fill out to get it, but they eventually came around to it.

My partner and I were different.  Everyone knew we were living together and said nothing about it because we said nothing about it. I said nothing about the fact that he tasted like ranch salad dressing sometimes during our obligatory makeout sessions. This may have been for the fact that he was quite fond of ranch salad dressing and iceberg lettuce, but I felt he was limiting himself, dietarily speaking.

We were both too reluctant to try the suspiciously tiny blue pill. Everyone was doing it, but not us. You got two doses and two doses only. We never knew why they picked us anyway. Sure, the military was a career for many a resident of this tiny little Southern town and indeed my own partner’s father was a Vietnam Vet, but neither of these factors.

Mostly it was because there was money in it. Only a few hundred dollars a trial, but ever since the mill closed, unemployment has been high. There are no new jobs and the prospects of a better life seem grim. Pickings are slim. No one can afford to turn anything away. 12.5%, 13%, 14.5%. It ticks up all the time and keep ticketing. Everyone is hungry for something different and they want out, but not all of us can abandon this hamlet and leave it a ghost town.  

We inherited the house with live in from my grandparents when they died. I wish I knew how maintain his vegetable garden but I always keep the grass cut. When he was alive, it sported a deep green color, but not is a bright shade of red. Sometimes you have to do something different. It’s not exactly prime real estate and I remember the way he tended to bee stings, by unrolling a cigarette and affixing the tobacco with spit. It didn’t really help, but you always pretended it did.

The talk of the town was the army installation. At first you thought they’d starting camping for no good reason.

Sick and Ailing

This summer was one of the worst of my life. It required three hospitalizations and several ER visits. I had another one yesterday because my system is not yet ready for new meds. So what I'm saying is please be patient with me as I heal and recover.

Somedays I may post like my old days and some days I might not post even at all. I've got to get this under control first.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Quote of the Week

1If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.- Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Saturday Video

You think we look pretty good together
You think my shoes are made of leather
I'm a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young but I'm just back-dated...yeah

(Substitute) Your lies for fact
(Substitute) I see right through your plastic Mac
(Substitute) I look all white but my dad was black
(Substitute) My fine-looking suit's really made out of sack

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth
The north side of my town faced east and the east was facing' south
And now you dare to look me in the eye
Those crocodile tears are what you cry
It's a genuine problem, you won't try
To work it out at all, just pass it by...pass it by

(Substitute) Me for him
(Substitute) My coke for gin
(Substitute) You for my mum
(Substitute) At least I'll get my washin' done

I'm a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young but I'm just back-dated...yeah

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth
The north side of my town faced east and the east was facing' south
And now you dare to look me in the eye
Those crocodile tears are what you cry
It's a genuine problem, you won't try
To work it out at all, just pass it by...pass it by

(Substitute) Me for him
(Substitute) My coke for gin
(Substitute) You for my mum
(Substitute) At least I'll get my washin' done

(Substitute) Your lies for fact
(Substitute) I see right through your plastic Mac
(Substitute) I look all white but my dad was black
(Substitute) My fine-lookin' suit's really made out of sack

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Film review: More

So, reader, have you watched a film you viewed before you raised your consciousness to a higher standard of acceptable behavior, only to find you have changed, but the picture has not? More (1969), fits that category for me. I first watched it in my early twenties on an expensive $40 VHS copy, attracted more at first to the mellow Pink Floyd soundtrack to the contents contained within it, but curious to explore nonetheless.

How times have changed. I’m not sure what I find more objectionable now: the sometimes dubiously consensual sex scenes or the violent outbursts of a jealous man. This film is dominated by jealous men, if the truth is to be known, namely Dr. Wolf (Heinz Engelmann), an outwardly smiling, but ultimately sinister older man, rumored to be an ex-Nazi, living on the Spanish island of Ibiza. Wolf competes with a fellow German (Klaus Grünberg) a generation younger who pursues Wolf's kept young woman with a kind of animalistic passion that is a little frightening to watch.

Meanwhile, Wolf keeps his beautiful blonde American girl, Estelle Miller, (Mimsy Farmer, in a great performance) financed sufficiently to live a peripatetic, aimless existence simultaneously with a periodic and frequently debilitating heroin addiction. No love lost here. Throw in some good-natured but nevertheless gratuitous woman-on-woman sex scenes, plus a threesome, and one has what passed for late sixties edgy art film (nudity! real nudity!) from promising young director.

It is a film of its time and yet not of its time. It mines the territory of a genre that never promises commercial success, an addiction drama. That it made no pretenses otherwise is not really a shock. Its director, a young man born in Tehran to French parents, was trying to make a statement about hippie drug culture and its numerous excesses. It is an effort designed at self-censor, when establishment directors and square corporate executives were trying the same thing in a much less accurate manner.

Its secondary message was to say that men can be corrupted easily, their vilest impulses swayed by hard drugs, loose living. and a lack of discernible boundaries. It’s an idea with some validity but it is clumsily manipulated, turning a supposed former innocent into a hardened junkie in ninety minutes flat. We’re led to believe that the male lead (Grünberg) had recently finished his studies in mathematics and instead of being socially awkward and heavily inhibited as math majors tend to be, had cast his lot by impulsively hitching a ride from Germany to Paris. The action begins here and ends with the demise of a leading character, but I won't tell you which one.

More was Barbet Schroeder’s first foray into filmmaking, arguably his most personal one and certainly his rawest. Much is the case for anyone’s first act. He wouldn’t hit his stride until the 1990’s in Hollywood with Reversal of Fortune and Single White Female, but wouldn’t attract much critical praise until a documentary expose of infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the Seventies.

Returning to More, the male lead is vastly overshadowed by Farmer, whose histrionic performance as a supremely hot mess was a career-best. Schroeder had a knack for identifying unknown female talent. One of them, Bulle Ogier, he married. Mimsy Farmer had previously played the American B-movie circuit, the girlfriend of innumerable bikers and social malcontents. Unknown actors and actresses weary of playing second fiddle in their homeland invariably drift to Europe. The same was true in this circumstance.

Mostly the film makes me feel old, aware that my days of scouting the next party or group watering hole are long since past me. If the late sixties were merely one drug-addled orgy, count me out. It turns out that our parents were just as foolish as we were, with equally moronic slang that has dated considerably over time. Those afraid of needles and squeamish of self-destructive behavior probably should avoid the picture, but strangely the images capture a moment in time for me. I've probably watched it thirty times over the course of one lifetime, even if I never watch it again.