Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

What is it that makes ordinary civilized people of good intent and condition turn them into savages at the mention of the word “Sale”. You know of course I’m going to talk about what happened on a Long Island Wal-mart on Friday. I should say something about India, the rich Brits and Americans in Mumbai being attacked, but that somehow doesn’t affect me as much as Wal-mart. Plus I think there is a hell of stuff missing from the India story.

Now I’m not trying to sound like I’m better than anyone else, even though I’m sure that my mother would be the first one to say that I am and that I live way beyond my means and that she isn’t rich and can’t throw money away for no apparent reason like I do. But the way I see it is that if I am not willing to purchase something at full price if I can afford it, then reducing the price doesn’t make it more attractive. My sister has rooms and a garage full of of shit that she never uses, but she is so proud because it was shit she got on sale. If I thought something was junk or hideous or ridiculous at $100, then I would still think it was junk, or hideous or ridiculous at $19.50.

So the whole idea of waking up early the day after Thanksgiving, breaking down a store’s glass doors at 4 in the morning and running over some guy who is probably making $1.50 over minimum, stomping him to death like a herd of elephants during the drought on the Serengeti looking for something to drink other than their neighbors piss just so I can save $50 on TV who’s price will drop by $150 by next February is just something slightly beyond my scope of imagination.

Funny thing is, we will still look down on others trying to make it through the day in the Middle East and elsewhere while we mow people down just to get that 20% discount on something we probably don’t need and all in the name of the Christmas holidays. The whole thing gives me a certain feeling to it, however warm wouldn’t be the way I would describe it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Please Sir, can I have some more?"

So last night I was able to get my drink on. I had about five or six drinks but I only paid for one. It was like the old days when I could walk into some place and people would think that because I must have looked like new meat, I could have been had for the price of a beer or some cheap watered down mixed drink. It was too bad that many of them would just walk away a little lighter in their wallets with just memories of some insignificant polite conversation. That was my specialty. Like Marlene used to sing,

“Men cluster to me like moths around a flame.
And if their wings burn, I know I’m not to blame.”

Of course nowadays it's no longer as simple as it used to be. Like women my age who have to paint their faces and wear that wonder bra that will show their best assets, I will sometimes go for the tight leather jeans, no underwear and a strap cock ring for extra emphasis. There is nothing that says "hold your interest" more than a man with a nice print, and that's regardless of what or who you are into. Plus that was the look I was going for until the shit started to hurt and I had to pull off the ring in the bathroom. Why do I bring this up? I'm not sure really other than to say I needed a little attention and so I played the part. I played it to as far as I was comfortable with.

The CEO's from Detroit's Big 3 needed a little attention when they went to DC, cap in hand like Oliver Twist asking for a cup of gruel. (What is gruel?) They needed a few more billion to tide them over for the next two years because the economy had destroyed, or was about to detroy their business unlike what it must have done to Toyota and BMW.

However as everyone knows, they didn't get what they asked for but instead got the message of come back again later but with plan that states how they will become profitable. And next time try a little humilty by maybe not using the corporate jet which cost $20,000 for the day on average and trying slumming it in 1st Class instead when asking the tax payer to cover them. I've heard since that GM has already sold off 2 of it's 5 corporate jets in order to start saving money.

All I'm saying is that if I were advising the CEO's, I would tell them that they should pick the best and most fuel efficient car that they make and drive down to DC in order to make their point. Of course they would run the risk of breaking down in Pittsburg and perhaps alienting those that thought the Big 3 were salvagable. But they may also get the sympathy vote and get even more than they wanted. Who knows?

All I'm saying is that sometimes you just have to strap on whatever you need to strap on in order to show off your best attributes if you want to get what you want.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Say no to H8

Two, four, six, eight, how do you know your kids are straight; black white, gay straight, blah blah something blah blah hate, and something else about equal rights were 3 of the slogans that heard shouted repeatedly at yesterday’s protest against California’s Proposition 8 outside of Philadelphia’s City Hall. One catchphrase would shout out in one section of the plaza until it died down and then someone would shout something else in another. But they weren’t the only things that were being shouted.

Take for example the man above. As small as he was he proudly let everyone know that he did not believe in homosexuality and same sex marriages, and that as a Christian he would follow the laws and principles of the Lord and the rest of us would rot in Hell. Meanwhile under his stunning pink blazer he wore a lovely gray and pink checkered dress and from the way he spoke and acted he was clearly as queer as a $3 bill. Obviously he was also crazy and yet truth be told, and I may lose half of the 5 regular readers to this blog but c’est la vie, I sort of was on his side. I’m not saying that gay people will face hell fire and damnation in the afterlife; hell some of us are facing that now. What I am saying is that I am not sure that being able to marry anyone you choose with the blessing of the state may not be the answer.

For those of you who are unaware, from what I understand, California’s Prop 8 is a statute that would recognize marriage as state sanctioned relationship that can only be done between a man and a woman. Every other kind of relationship, i.e. gay, would be seen as illegitimate and possibly not eligible to all of the rights of a straight married couple. Here is where I am going to veer off course.

When I was growing up, the only legitimate marriage a couple could have would be the one done in sanctity of the church. Because marriage was a holy sacrament and therefore only a member of the church could perform the ceremony and provide the blessings that would come with such a service. As I grew older I found out that people really weren’t married until the State told them that they were married and that for $10 slapped down on a dirty counter at city hall or the local registrar’s office anybody could get a license if they were a man and woman and not related to one another except in certain States and maybe of the same race they too could be married for life, just not in the sight of God.

This really isn’t that radical but maybe it’s time for the State not to try and equalize all marriages but instead get out of the marriage business all together. Maybe it’s time to truly separate the Church from the State and maybe instead issue Civil Union Partnership Certificates to everyone, “black white, gay straight” and everything in between like they do in some European countries. A certificate or bond that would be no different from anybody else’s and entitle the recipients to the same rights and benefits as everyone else.

Once that is done if the couple wants to head down to their church, the local synagogue, mosque or temple for the marriage ceremony and the blessings of their faith then that would be something to be dealt with by the couple and their religious institution and thus have nothing to do with the law. After all the government is not involved in baptisms or burials, so why are they in marriages?

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I don’t have anybody so maybe my thoughts don’t count. But then again, according to the majority of states in this country, the thoughts of people who attended the rally don’t count either so why not try something else?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

There was no mail today. I had forgotten that today was Veteran’s Day and I guess all the government offices were closed. In Europe this day is known as Remembrance Day, at least in all the English speaking parts, I don’t know what they call it in Germany or France or anywhere else. It used to be called Armistice Day; that was the day that the First World War ended in 1918. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was the end of the war that would end all wars.

When I was growing up, it was the veterans of WWI that were honored foremost amongst all veterans. I guess these old soldiers were in their late 70’s or 80’s then and I thought they were all ancient.

Then I started to wonder about 10 years ago why I never heard any reference to the WWI veterans anymore and now I think I have figured it out. Sometimes I'm not that quick. They are all dead except for a handful. All the Germans, all the French are dead and no has yet to wheel out anyone from the US, Russia or Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) to represent so I don’t know about them. In fact the only person that I have heard of who saw combat and is still living is Henry Allingham from Great Britain and he’s 112 years old.

90 years ago today. 90 years ago and they thought that mankind had finally learned to live in peace together and that nations would no longer need to take up arms against one another. Differences would be discussed and dealt with diplomatically with the League of Nations. Boy, were they wrong.

I wonder what people will be thinking of 90 years from now. Will people be honoring members of the armed forces from Afghanistan and or Iraq? Will any of those vets still be alive to tell their stories, show us their artificial limbs, say why they still can't sleep at night sometimes? Will any of us be around to hear them? Will any of us be able to explain to them why?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

To go or not to Go

I had always sort of planned what I would write on my one hundredth post. I would reference the first post and speak about what I wanted to do originally, whatever direction it had taken since and where it might go in the future if there is one in the future. But since that doesn’t interest me now, I doubt that it will interest you either. So moving on.

The only time that I have been to Chicago was in the mid 90’s to see what was advertised as the largest Monet exhibit in the world ever at the Chicago Institute of something or other. The museum had assembled pieces from its own collection, other museums and private owners to build the exhibit. However, by the time my partner and I got to the city, the museum had sold out of all the regular reserved tickets and would only sell same day exhibit tickets between 9 and 10 each morning.

The first morning we arrived early, somewhere between 8 and 9 stayed in line for about 30 minutes before some guy came along and told the line that all of the tickets had been sold for that day and to come back the next day, which we did. This time we left the hotel between 5:30 or 6am if I can remember and walked the few blocks to the museum. It was the middle of November and the high for that day in Chicago was 31, which meant it must have been 15 or 20 something degrees if not 5 which is how it felt. Even though we both alternated standing in line out in the cold while the other one ran over to a nearby coffee shop every 20 to 30 minutes, I still remember that point when I lost all feeling in my toes and in my legs and I started not to care. As long as the family jewels didn’t shrivel up so much that they wouldn’t be able to turn back to normal size, none of it mattered.

Now I don’t know if that qualifies me for being able to wait out in the cold because I may have a little bit of a dilemma. Do I freeze again all night this time or do I spend money that I know could be put to better use?

I haven’t really given much thought about this winter, but after hearing that George Bush had gathered the White House staff on the lawn recently and told them to get ready for new management, I figured that even this guy knows it’s (a) a special moment in time and (b) it’s time to go. I thought to myself, I should go too. For all the reasons that you can think of, I should go to Washington DC in January.

Then I thought it just wouldn’t be practical. Every fool and their aunt Fanny will be on I-95 creating danger and havoc on the highway. A journey that should take 2 to 3 hours will probably increase to 5 or 6 with traffic and fellow revelers. And forget about getting back home. That might take even longer unless I took the Amtrak train to DC. However, all reservations for January 20 have been booked, I have checked. Unless I was willing to catch the 12 midnight train out of Philly and find a good spot on the mall with a blanket in the middle of the night which I’m sure hundreds will be doing if not thousands; or catch a 9am business class Acela Express for about $150 one way and hope I can get a glance of one of the big screen TVs they will be out there because I would be so far away from the action.

I suppose I can also try to stop being so bougie and just catch an unreserved train and if I have to, just stand all the way to DC for 2 hours. Of course there would be the 3 or 4 hours standing for the Inauguration and speech and maybe even parade. And if I’m still unlucky not stand all the way back to Philadelphia and finally New Jersey.

That’s a hell of a lot of standing. That would be like that Abu Ghraib shit. I’d start confessing to stuff I’d never even heard of. I might even tell them I was on the Grassy Knoll in ’63. I might even…I’m getting carried away.

Maybe I’ll just stay home and watch the events with Katie Couric on the 6:30pm news, it would be so much easier and it’s time I gave her a chance anyway.

What will you do this coming January?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What Now

What now? Well on Tuesday it was time to start shaving again. I hadn’t shaved in almost 2 weeks. I wish I could have said it was because I was doing it for some noble cause like not shaving again until there was a black man in the White House because legally there still isn’t and I would have fallen short. No, I just didn’t feel like it. And even though I was starting to get that ‘final contestant waiting for the merge Survivor look', I really wasn’t going for that. On me that’s really not a pretty look anyway.

If I could grow a beard like how Teddy Pendergrass grew a beard, real thick, luscious and masculine looking, I might really go for it. But I can’t. It’s not that it grows in patches like I’ve seen on others, but it does grow in kind of thin looking. I guess just the same way it must have grown in for Old Mr. Chin my great grand-father and his family.

Since Tuesday I’ve been trying to say something about the recent election victory by Barack Obama other than I shaved but I couldn’t think of anything. Everything has already been said or written about by everyone else. Historic recognitions, praises, congratulations and jubilations have all been put down on paper, on the net and by word of mouth. What more can I say? I’m sure there is something but I think it would take someone with a better mind and more organized than me to find it.

If I were religious and active in the church that I say I belong to I would insist on us having a sermon of thanksgiving. I would find a way of honoring what happened this week, but I’m not. I remember a story that Jonathan Winters said once when he was coming back from the war, Korea or WWII. He was marching in a parade down his town’s main street and he saw his mother in the crowd of onlookers. He broke ranks and ran over to her full of happiness and glee and said, “Ma, Ma, I’m home. I made it back alright.” And she looked at him and being an Episcopalian like I am nodded and said, “I see ya.” So maybe that is what I will say, “I see you Mr. President-Elect.” But then I would ask, “What now?”

I would hope that he says that he intends to carry out his campaign promises. I don’t know them all, but I would want the troops brought back as soon as possible both from Iraq and Afghanistan, even though I know Afghanistan wasn’t part of the deal. I would hope that he would insist on creating or starting a dialogue with Chavez, Assad and other leaders we have problems with, even the Castro Brothers. I never have understood what has been gained by boycotting Cuba since the Kennedy administration. Maybe that can change too. I would also hope that the healthcare for all plan that he said he would develop, really does come into fruition. And I would hope that we really do develop alternative energy fuels and that we do start to fight against global warming.

So, what now?

Monday, November 3, 2008

New York's Village Halloween Parade 2008

Forgive me if you’ve read this before, but I remember when I went to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. Even though the former palace is about 3 to 5 city blocks it took about 5 minutes to find the gallery that I was looking for. I’m pretty good when it comes to following maps or finding places by instinct. So I get to the room the portrait is hanging in and it’s facing me but it’s lot smaller than I thought it would be and also, there is about 200 people between me and it. How was I supposed to get close enough so that I could see what all the fuss was about? I just walked forward.

You see I had realized that the gallery was full of Japanese or Chinese people and none of them were much taller than elbows. I figured there would be nothing that they could do to me unless they jumped up and bit me on the nipples, which might have been interesting but it was that kind of party. Anyway within seconds I was right up front where I needed to be. Success. It’s all about location. So why does it seem that I am unable to do this now?

After deciding that the Phillies World Series Championship celebrations and the Halloween festivities all clinging together in same confined area would have been too much for me, I decided to do the Halloween parade in New York. I arrived at 6. That left me an hour before which the parade would begin. What to do? Line up at barricades and ensure myself a good view? No that would have been too sensible. Instead, for the strangest reason I heard my name being called and I guessed that it must have been coming from the Paul Smith store on 5th Avenue and 16th. Without hesitation I headed there and spent a pleasant 30 minutes there and came out a few dollars shorter.

Anyway, so I’m back of 6th Ave and I realize all the good spots have been taken and in some places the crowd is 6 to 10 people deep. What should I do? I walked down to 8th St and the crowd just seemed to grow exponentially. I knew that if I went any further south, I would be even able to move let alone see anything over their heads. So I walked back up to 11th St and crossed over by the police street crossing that they’d set up and headed south again. I had noticed that there really wasn’t a crowd by the library on the other side of 8th St. But the police wouldn’t let me in. No press credentials, no entrance. Hmm, there’s an idea for a post. What constitutes a member of the press and do you have to work for a corporation in order for you to be one.

So I walked back north and settled for a spot behind some bald headed bitch who when he wasn’t sticking his tongue down his girl friend’s throat, would keep bobbing his head up and down in front of my camera when I took a picture, and the little Japanese girls who must have escaped from some Japanese Club where all the girls are hostesses if you know what I mean, because they seemed to fart every time someone came by and they became excited. But I realized that lighting was good because they had TV and movie cameras there and like I said before, it’s all about location.


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