Friday, May 30, 2008
Now I’ve known Patrick for about 12 or 15 years. He is an Italian-American and kind of dark. Sometimes I’ll have fun at his expense and tell him about his ancestry and the supposed obvious African influence that must run in his family. I will sometimes speak of his one, or so he says, relationship with a black man, James, and that it was inevitable only because of like attracts like, birds of a feather and so on. I will warn him sometimes that if his mother ever found out about him and James she might be so pleased for acknowledging his heritage or just shoot him because of the shame he’s brought down on her house. I don’t think he likes me to speak about her that way but I enjoy it. It might be a little sadistic but I only do that when he says something silly or racially insensitive and he needs to get his left nut tweaked a little.
“Is there some reason why we are meeting here?” I asked as I saw him sitting watching the TV in the gym lobby.
“No,” he says.”I just wanted to walk out of the gym together.”
Thank God, I thought. The idea had crossed me that perhaps I had agreed to go to dinner or something and that I had forgotten a promise that I had made.
Anyway, as we leave the building, I tell Patrick that I want to go to Naked Chocolate and get some cup cakes. There is nothing in the world like doing a really intensive workout and then pigging out on stuff that you shouldn’t be eating in the first place. But what the hell you only live once and I don’t want to say on my death bed, “I should have had more cake.”
So we head in the direction of the store and he starts to tell me of maintenance man where he works and that he thinks that he’s Russian, and that whenever he works late, the man always comments about how he is working late. At least I think that’s what Patrick tells me, but in all honesty I had lost interest in what he was telling me as soon as he said, “let me tell you.”
I realized soon enough that Patrick was starting to get upset when he suddenly complained that I wasn’t listening to him and that what had taken him 50 seconds to tell everyone else was taking 15 minutes to tell me. I could have said that this wasn’t the Johnny Carson show with a boring ass monologue at the beginning but a dialogue and that my so called interruptions were making his crap interesting, but we aren’t that close.
Well, I finally got from him that the Russian had one night followed him into the men’s room and while he was at the urinal, the Russian had reached out and touched his earring. Then later on this month, the Russian and he were in the elevator together and the Russian proceeds to adjust his own family jewels. Not in the way that you do when one of your testicles slips out of your briefs at an inopportune time, or when you wear boxers and the material has bunched up so much that you feel that the circulation has been cut off. No, this was a deliberate move by the Russian for attention and Patrick wanted to know what to do.
“Report his ass so that this doesn’t happen again or at least if it does there is some record of it happening,” I said.
“Noooo. I don’t want him to lose his job,” Patrick said.
Alright enough of that story. I am upset now. I just wanted to know, why do people do that to me? Someone will always go out of their way to ask me shit and then when I give them my answer, completely dismiss it. It’s like the whole point of asking me something is just to get me to think about bull that I had no interest in and then yank the rug from under to me to see how I fall. Come to think of it, I think I’ve had to tell all of my ex’s at one time or another, if you don’t want my answer then don’t ask me shit. I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m by myself. But damn, there no chance of Patrick and me bumping dick together, so why do that to me? Is this some kind sick game that I’m just unaware of?
Monday, May 26, 2008
A quick history lesson. The USS Olympia is the only surviving vessel from the Spanish American War of 1898 and was Admiral Dewey's flagship in the fight for Phillipines. It is an example of Teddy Roosevelt's gun boat diplomacy strategy, you know the walk sofly but carry a big stick policy that we don't do anymore. And the sub is the USS Becuna from WWII.
These are pictures of the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial. Listed on several of the coulmns are the names of 610 men and women from the Philadelphia area who lost their lives from 1950 up until the truce signing in 1953. To this day, there are still armed forces on the North, South Korean border trying to prevent a continuation of war that has never offically stopped. Although, I guess since Congress never officially declared war on North Korea it never officially started either.
This a picture of a small part of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial with names of those from the Philadelphia area listed. The actual start of the Vietnam War will depend on your own point of reference. For some it may have started in 1945 when the Japanese were forced to leave, or 1954 when the French were forced to leave, or 1964 when they tried to force the Americans to leave at the Gulf of Tonkin. Whatever date you choose however, by 1975 they Americans were finally out of Vietnam with the deaths of more than 58,000 Americans and 2400 missing.
On Independence Mall today, just below the National Constitution Center, there was a make shift memorial dedicated to the over 4000 men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq with a mock grave stone marked with the the name and rank of each person covering most of the lawn at the north of Market St.
Staff Sergeant Jae Sik Moon was 21 and from Levittown PA when he was killed and whose mother would be later robbed by the Goffney twins. I neither met him nor knew him, but since I wanted to write this to remember a person rather than a number, this one is for him.
When I moved to South Jersey from North Jersey, I started to head to Washington DC like most people who live and or work in Philly did. When I say most people I guess that should be specific and say most black gay males did that. We were heading for the black gay pride events that were being held in DC. What other people did I don’t know.
I remember that we would head for the clubs on Saturday perhaps. Tracks, was the name of one of the clubs. We would line up outside for about 20 to 30 minutes waiting to get in, waiting for the pat down and crutch grope that we all had to endure. The club itself was large with many dance floors and packed wall to wall with all shades of chocolate brothas grinding on each other, showing and sharing all that they had or all that they were allowed to.
If I didn’t head down there on Saturday, then I would be on I95 on Sunday. We would be passed by hundreds of white dudes on motorcycles. I put it that way because I think, “white dudes” brings up images of the movie Easy Rider and Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild,” people on a mission. I found out later on that the riders were part of the Rolling Thunder, an organization that rode to DC to celebrate and remember veterans or promote campaigns to search for missing Vietnam vets and POW’s. I instead headed to Dupont Circle and then Banneker Field where people would walk around the perimeter of the field for an hour or two, sometimes in the rain looking like lost souls hoping to run into an old friend or a piece du jour for the evenings entertainment. Those were the days when some people wore spandex without underwear. Some men looked kind of sexy and others looked like they had used that penis pump a little too much and should have been seeking medical attention rather than sexual encounters.
Nowadays, I believe most people in the Northeast head for warmer get togethers like Miami’s Sizzle events, or the San Juan Brothas Puerto Rico or Cancun gathering. I, on the other hand don’t.
I could give some noble reason like I have gotten to a certain maturity and say that things like that don’t excite me anymore. But that really wouldn’t be true. I think I get bored easily and tired more often and the days of me hopping off a plane after acting like I was in the Golden Calf scene in The 10 Commandments and heading straight to work are long behind me.
This year instead I shall try to remember what Memorial Day is about. No, not the sales. Since no one in my family has ever fought in a war, I shall visit a memorial. Maybe the Vietnam Memorial in Philly which is no where near as dramatic as the DC one, but it has the same sentiment. I shall go there because even though I was too young to understand what Vietnam was about when it was going on, I don’t know how long it will be before I can go to an Iraq Memorial or count the amount of names that will be listed there.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Then I thought about saying something about China and the earthquake and its relationship to the Olympics later this year or the amount of money that might be diverted from covering American expenses to covering their losses and caring for their people. But I’m no Milton Friedman; economics for me is micro rather than macro. It’s about being able to cover the bills and figuring out how to keep a little for the fun projects.
What was left, the cyclone in Myanmar and the government there and their refusal to accept foreign aid? Or maybe I could write about the dismissal from the force of four police officers in Philly for the beating of the 3 suspects just the other week? Juicy, but it would take talents more than mine to do it justice. Maybe I could write about the World War I munitions that are being washed up on the Jersey shore again in time for Memorial Day. Makes you wonder how frightened people were back then about Kaiser Bill landing in Atlantic City. But the couple of lines you just read would be all that I could write. So I shall take a stab at swearing.
When I was a child, a friend of mine who was about 2 years older than me, a big deal in those days, flipped the birdie at me and asked me what it meant. As easy as a whore begging for crack on a cell phone, I sang out loudly and clearly, “fuck off,” proud in my knowledge of life and the world. Except of course I couldn’t have been too knowledgeable otherwise I would have known not to say that in front of my own house. Because just as I was about to shine in my own glory, the front bedroom window shot up and my mother leaned out with nostrils flaring screamed, “If…” and I don’t remember the rest. But suffice It to say, she has never heard me swear again.
In fact I never used swear words, curse words, vulgarities except for the minor ones when I was growing up at all. My friends and other people would comment on how I would never swear and that I was just trying to behave like a snob. But I didn’t really care what they thought as long as most of them thought I could beat them up anyway. See, one well placed fight and the right reputation true or not will do wonders for you. Something I learned by experience. It hasn’t been until recently, maybe the last 10 years that I started to swear.
Now I’m not talking of the, “blast, damn, shit, fuck,” that you scream when you stub your little toe in the middle of the night. I’m talking about using these same words in ordinary conversation. I’m talking of using these words as adjectives, verbs, adverbs and even nouns when I want to get a little creative all in order to get the simplest of points across. I bring this up because, although I don't believe my language skills to be superior to anyone else’s, I believe that it is important to be in control of what I say, and how I say it. How I communicate and how I want to be understood. I feel that words are important, and the choice of words doubly so. Being born in the 60’s one word I have never used to describe anyone or call anyone is Nigger.
Nigger, the word conjures up visions of George Wallace and the early civil rights era. It brings on a feeling of being less than or not worthy of. But it can also bring on a feeling of comradery or fellowship which I don’t seem to be privy to. Nigger is not a word that I have been frightened of using or even easily offended by it being used to address me, but it is a word that I have found to be real tricky for me to use.
I came across this Youtube video from FIVEblackgUys that may express some of the thoughts that I have about it more than I ever could. What do you think?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Last year around September or October I went to see my man, Paul Smith in NYC. For some people, their man is Armani or Dolce and his friend Gabbana, but my man has been Paul for at least the last 12 years. He’s always sexy and different and sometimes I can find something that I can actually afford. That day, I was going to replace the Gap wallet that I had lost previously with one with a purple lining and my friends’ name stamped on the front.
So like George Bush, once the mission was accomplished, I tried to figure out what else I could do with my friend Larry. That was Larry, not Curtis. Curtis said he would read my blog if I mentioned his name; so once again, Curtis.
Larry and I headed over to Union Square which is only a block away from the Paul Smith store and sat on one of the benches. Outside of the square on the sidewalk was this group. There was about 7 or 8 young men playing brass instruments. Trombones, trumpets and Sousaphone and I noticed they were drawing a big crowd around them. We walked over and listened to them for a while. Now brass bands are not my kind of thing, it is the type of music you listen to just as you are marching off to war, but these young brothers were starting to interest me and the people around.
A few minutes later they took a break and explained that they were from Chicago and they were on there way to London I think, but they needed to hawk their CD before they left. It was $20 and Larry and decided to split the cost and I would make a copy for myself. I’m all for supporting your own kind, but giving $20 to people I don’t know for a disc that I wasn’t even sure had anything on it wasn’t something that I was going to fall for by myself. So we purchased the disc and listened to their next set.
Afterwards we walked away as they were doing the sales pitch and one of the band said to the crowd, “Come on and buy a CD. Don’t look at us as if we were gold fish in bowl.”
And Larry turned and with that effeminate way of his said, “Hmm, and then what fish would you be?”
Oh God. Oh God I thought. It’s amazing how an agnostic or even an atheist can find religion in the strangest of places. The brother turned and said pointing accusingly at Larry,”You don’t want to find out what kind of fish I could be.”
At this point, I’m thinking that since I’m the bigger of the two, I would have to defend Larry when the young man lunged for him. I knew with my size that once I hit him, he would hit the ground hard and maybe it would over quickly. But since he also seemed like he was 20 years younger than I was, he would probably be 20 years quicker, and by the time I would be able to think about hitting him he would have already struck me 5 or 6 times. I decided to do the honorable thing. I turned and walked away.
Since then I have only listened to their album once. They’re not bad, but they are still not my thing. They are just another reason to take up more of my memory space.
Last night was one of those nights where I couldn’t fall asleep. Earlier I had taken a nap in front of the TV and had woken up just in time to see the ending credits of Nightline. If I had just gotten up and went straight to bed I might have been able to fall back to sleep right away. Instead, I watched TV for about 20 minutes they were doing some story on looking for a Turkish fleet that was sunk by the Spanish in the 16th century on PBS, the regular stuff on cable and the talk shows on the networks. There was really no reason that I should stay up any longer so I went to bed.
I knew that I wasn’t tired, I was too alert, but if I didn’t fall asleep soon I also knew that I would suffer for it the next day. I thought about visiting Mary Palmer for some relief. Do the five finger shuffle. Choke the chicken or spank the monkey. Funny, I’ve never known anyone to have used those phrases except in the movies, but masturbation didn’t really seem like it would help anyway.
I decided to lie in bed and surf the web instead. Look up shit that I wasn’t really interested in, porn I guess. I downloaded stuff from iTunes, read blogs and made comments or replied to those comments that needed replies. But after about an hour, I was seized by this searing pain in between my legs. I reached down under the comforter, blanket and sheet only to feel this great heat surrounded my privates. It was a heat so great that you would have believed someone had set the iron to cotton and slapped it on my genitalia for 10 minutes without even having the decency of at least allowing the steam function to work. My laptop was burning my unborn spawn.
Now like everyone, I know that computers generate a certain amount of heat, but isn’t the whole reason for calling a laptop a laptop the idea that you can rest it on your lap without jeopardizing yourself or your future children? So I have a question, I don’t usually ask anyone anything, but my computer is 4 years old this September. Does it threaten one of the few pleasures in life that I don’t have to pay for because it’s old or will getting a new computer not make any difference to my level of discomfort?
Anyone who has an answer please, feel free to help me out.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Several months ago when the race for the democratic nomination for the president started, Senator Clinton was all but guaranteed the position would be hers when she stepped up onto the podium in Denver in August. Her campaign was large and extensive, well financed and popular. It was like a large luxury liner, a ship of state, impressive, smooth and elegant. She was the heir apparent to a legacy that went back as far as Truman and Roosevelt. She was said to have been even more intelligent than her husband Bill and just as feisty. She had a few bags to carry, but don’t we all. I was never sure of her sincerity, but I respected her stated beliefs and found that I liked her platforms a little more than the platforms of her opponents.
But the numbers never materialized for that to happen. The popular vote was never there and the super delegates never came around to bolster it forward. Now, after reading an editorial by the Chicago Tribune this week comparing her efforts to Eight Belles, the horse that came in 2nd at the Kentucky Derby and had to be put down, maybe it’s time to admit to herself like Captain Smith on the Titanic, that this is more than just a rough patch she’s going through and give the order to abandon ship. The scraps that she can pick up in Puerto Rico or West Virginia or anywhere will not keep her ship afloat,
Looking back at old footage from Mrs. Clintons White House days, I would think it would be fair to say that she has put on a little weight, have you seen her that blue pant suit? And like all great operas there is a time for them to end. So I'd like to tell her, just save your money like I do and sing baby, no shame in what you tried to do and in what you have accomplished. Just sing. It’s time.
I'm not sure if I should mention that for the past 5 months since you've been on the job, you've only lost 1 police officer while on active duty and had just 1 "wilding party" for the boys in blue to take their frustrations out on 3 of the city's not so innocent citizens. Unfortunately, the whole incident was shot by the Fox News while the suspects were unarmed. Oh well better luck next time.
Maybe I am not being generous enough or fair, so I will just say, boy do you have your work cut for you. I bet you didn't think Philly would be like this.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This post is not about religion. I don’t know enough about religion to really talk about it. I will leave that to the experts or the people who have a real passion for it. I am not even sure that this will be about my relationship with religion because in point of fact, I have none.
I haven’t been anywhere near religious since I was 11. That was the age that I was to be confirmed a Christian by my church, but I guess I had questions or I got lazy and never completed the thing. That means that I am unable to accept the Holy Communion although I don’t believe they check papers as you go up to the altar. But I’m not sure that I would even want to drink from the same cup that hundreds of others have slapped their lips on and slobbered over. There is something weird and unhealthy about that.
You see I am an Episcopalian, a member of the world wide Anglican Communion. I belong to a church that can be described as one without a true identity, a sort of watered down version of the Catholicism, some of the guilt but missing much of the ritual and splendor, sort of Catholic Lite. We have an openly gay bishop; Gene Robinson of New Hampshire whose presence has now threatened to split the church because of his belief in being true to himself. That has been at odds with the beliefs of many of our community and my church has been fractured.
Of course the revulsion of gay people by Christians is not limited to just my own church. The Catholic Church has placed a ban of gay priests because of the recent controversies, some would say with good cause. Although I would say they should concentrate on getting out the pedophiles, straight and gay before discriminating against people with adult desires directed towards other adults, but that’s not my call. I have seen and have been to Baptist services where gay’s and lesbians were condemned routinely to the fiery depths of hell for their behavior based on the passages from Leviticus or Letters or some other part of the Bible. Well alright, that’s all fine. That’s their house and I’ve lived this long without being upset by it.
But when I attended an Equality Forum Festival, which they had in Philly on Sunday which was geared towards the SGL community, the “Christians” were there as usual protesting with their bull horns and placards spouting their philosophy of hate, screaming of lust and hell and who was about to go there. And I have to wonder and ask myself where was the God of love that I grew up with in all of this, and why are they coming into my house just to make me uncomfortable?
Well all I can say is if they think this is bad, just wait until the Philly Gay Pride Parade during the summer. Then they will see men in leather thongs and things that you’re not sure people should be allowed to wear in the privacy of their own homes let alone on the streets. Then I may scream and protest along side them in unison. But until that time I will say in a clear voice, I take umbrage.