For my final blog entry for 2009 I could talk about failed resolutions from 2009 and the ones that I will probably fail to do in 2010. I could even talk about what I intend to do tonight to celebrate the evenings events, but I won't. I've always thought that whatever emotions or thoughts that one has on New Year's Eve are at best transitory or at worst worthless and irrelevant. So whether you will be toasting the festivities with champagne or sparkling wine or a can of beer, what I will say is just do your best next year and be happy.
I’ve been told that all I ever think about is sex; I always make a reference to sex either verbally or literally, and that is so untrue. I’ve never spoken about sex when writing about catastrophes like earthquakes or when planes fall from the sky. Speaking of which just let me get this straight, the Christmas Day Bomber 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was carrying an explosive device in his underwear when it went off and instead of it exploding, it just burst into flame. Like Jerry Lee Lewis used to sing, “Goodness gracious great balls of fire.”
Now I think that if there was a cause that I believed in strongly enough, there wouldn’t be anything that I wouldn’t do to fight for that cause. But I would have to think long and hard to find a good enough reason to roast my own chestnuts and even then I’m not sure that I would come up with anything. I mean the boy was 23 so he must have thought that what he was carrying wouldn’t have been that big enough to completely obliterate him. But then I’ve never really understood that kind of behavior, here of there, now or before.
Speaking of nuts, I’ve heard that because of what happened on Christmas, many airports in the US and around the world intend on getting those whole body image machines that can take pictures of the body exposing anything or everything that maybe concealed below a passenger’s clothing. I know now that I will never get a Prince Albert even though I had been thinking about it. It will be bad enough that strangers will be able to see my Little Dorrit without me having a say so in the matter, but they would also be able to judge me and come to whatever conclusion they will have about me simply by staring at my choice of jewelry. And God forbid that I should ever become famous, that picture would be emailed over the net and TMZ before I would have even found my seat on the aircraft.
I remember back when I was child, we had to be well dressed to get on a plane. I had to wear a suit and a tie when I was 10 and travelling with my mother so that I wouldn’t shame her. Nowadays all of that has changed. We will be forced into a state virtual nudity by people making $3 over minimum wage who will map every mole and blemish on our bodies only to discover we will still get onto planes that fall from the sky for no apparent reason.
It's coming, it's starting. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well actually I don't really remember New Jersey having this much snow on the week of Christmas, but what are you going to do? I'll tell you what I will do because it's time for me to watch the annual Christmas movie.
Now most people will be watching It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story or one of the one hundred and ten different versions of A Christmas Carol or Scrooge, the best of which is the one starring Alistair Sim. But I, I will watch Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Don't ask me why I enjoy it or why it has become a annual event. All I can say is that I appreciate the sentiment the movie has when it shows us that we not be everyone's cup of tea but all of us have something that we can contribute to make things better.
Christmas is coming but then you’ve probably heard that already.
This year much like last year and the year before, I won’t have to find or even think about a present for that special someone. I won’t have to rack my brains trying to figure out what is going to be the best thing that will bring joy to other half and yet represent me in such a way that would make me proud. I don’t have to think about getting jewelry or designer clothing or exclusive cologne made by nuns in hills of Spain. Although, when I did get those things for my partner, they were never really appreciated anyway. I think I’ve said this before; he would give me a list of things that he wanted and asked for a list from me. I always thought it took the spirit of gift giving for me but it was what he wanted so I went along with it. When I think back though, having a list from someone sometimes avoids you from getting the wrong gift.
I’m not sure it was around Christmas, but I remember one year when there wasn’t a list of things that I wanted he gave me a vibrating bullet. It wasn’t the one that pictured here, but one made out of that cheap white plastic that your mother’s Tupperware used to be made from and I thought to myself, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” But I said nothing and took it home with me.
Later that week I sat naked on my bed and decided to try the bullet out. After turning the thing on and rubbing it up and down my penis and not really getting anything from it, I figured perhaps that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be used. So I put some lube on it and shoved it part way up my anus. I turned it on again and “schloop”, that thing went all the way up my ass like it had found a special home for itself.
So there I was sitting, holding onto an electrical cord coming out from between my cheeks with one hand and stroking my special friend with the other wondering how, if something happened, I would explain this to people and what was the point of it all? Feeling like a fool, I also wondered why didn’t any instructions come with the bullet and why didn’t it come in a box or a plastic bag? ...And then it came to me. I wasn’t the only ass this little bitch had been in but I knew then that unless someone was to go through the garbage, I would certainly be the last.
I promise I will write something worth writing about soon, but since Congress will no longer be giving the Congressional Gold Medal or whatever it was to Tiger Woods I thoroughly and without reservation endorse these commemorative collectible plates in its stead.
I can’t believe it was just this past Wednesday that I was complaining to myself that for the almost 3 weeks that I had spent in Florida that the temperature had not gotten above 78F. Now that I’m back in Jersey, it’s cold and wet and a light snow on the ground and I’m starting to realize just how lucky I was. But this isn’t about me ever being satisfied, at least not about the weather but rather about the health care system in this country.
I was outside of the old City Hall in Tampa last week being thoroughly bored when I noticed one bum sitting on a bench examining the pictures of the pair and walk away all the while wondering to myself if this was that status swollen foot of another. Without trying to be obtrusive, I was able to sneak in 2quo that the Republicans really wanted to maintain. Did they really want doctors and medical visits for the rich and those of us lucky enough to have medical insurance provided by our jobs while the rest of the population deals with their issues the best way that they can? I don’t know, but somehow it just doesn’t seem right.
I don’t know why I have this picture in this post since it’s not me and wasn’t done by me and really has no relationship to what I want to write about. Unless of course looking at the model’s behind I’m reminded of the fact that it will soon be my time for that scope up the ass at the doctor’s office. But since I think I have a few more years before that happens, I’m probably not thinking that at all.
Speaking of medical procedures and stuff, a few years ago I started to have this severe pain that would start at the base of my neck, spread down to the middle of my back and run down right arm as far as the elbow. It got so bad that here were times that I couldn’t jog because I feel as if my upper arm was being slowly ripped away with every slight jolt my body made. I couldn’t sit up straight at work and even lying in bed at night I would have to lie on one side so as not to aggravate the situation. Eventually I decided to see a doctor about what I was going through.
The doctor was a short little woman who asked the usual questions, you know the ones about fevers, drinking smoking and who I was having sex with. Then she gave me a physical where she asked me to stretch out my arm and resist any movement while she pressed down on it. Of course nothing happened and she said that if I was in real pain I wouldn’t have been able to withstand the pressure that she had given me. I thought that he I had not been able to resist the pressure of an elderly woman a foot and half shorter and about 80 pounds lighter than me then it would have been time to see a priest and not her so he could administer the last rites. Anyway, she had me get some x-rays taken and gave me some cortisone shots and made arrangements for me to have some rehab sessions at Jefferson Hospital which was where she was affiliated with.
Long story short, needless to say none of that worked. I would appear to get better during the weekdays while I was doing the rehab but by the time the weekend came around my pain would seem to get even worse. In fact the pain got so bad, it started to migrate to my left heel and I couldn’t walk without a slight limp. I would try to cover up but then my ex asked me, “What’s wrong with you?” I thought it might have been bone cancer by that time, but I didn’t tell him.
He didn’ t think that I was doing the right thing so he suggested acupuncture which I rejected right away. The idea of some guy without a license to practice medicine sticking rusty needles in my spinal cord wasn’t going to happen. Instead, since he was a dancer on Broadway, we agreed that I would see two of the masseurs that he would use when he was in pain. There was an African guy in Brooklyn who would crack my neck each time he got the chance. I always said after leaving his place that I should get my Will done just in case something happened. And then there was the Italian guy who would have me lie on my back while he cupped my naked nuts in his hands and twisted my legs when he wanted to stretch my lower back. That was kind of nice, but I’m still not sure what purpose being that familiar served.
Again nothing worked and as with many other relationships, my relationship with the ex didn’t last as long as I thought it would either. The partnership stopped so I stopped seeing the ex’s masseurs. It wouldn’t have felt right to have the same hands that touched him touch me, plus I didn’t think that it was doing any good anyway. I resigned to myself that this was the kind of pain that I would have to adjust to and live with it because there were other people who were probably going through worse.
About six or eight months later, the ex called up to see how I was. I don’t even have to think about I said since automatically it would have been, “Fine,” my standard response when I don’t really want to respond. He asked me about my back and it was then that I realized I hadn’t been in pain since about two weeks after the split. It had gone away without me noticing it and without me doing anything for it. A great weight had been lifted off of me and I hadn’t even recognized when it was done. But then I thought that that like the movie The Matrix or the TV show Battlestar Galactica, this had all happened before, just not so severely. I remembered that I had been in a relationship before where just before the break up I was also in physical pain. And just as with this relationship, when it was over the pain was over as well.
It wasn’t until years later when I took a class on emotional intelligence that I realized that I was one of those people who can find themselves in a situation where they are so uncomfortable but for one reason or another unable to recognize or express their feelings or emotions and so ignore their predicament. Eventually, as that emotional state builds but is suppressed more and more, the mind will react in such a way that may be harmful to the person, such as making them anti-social, overly aggressive, cold and or aloof. The cold and aloof thing has been said about me for as long as I remember but this time my mind turned my body against me. That condition is called Alexithymia and that’s what I experience. I have the inability to recognize and process certain feelings while I’m going through them to my own detriment.
Fun huh? So that makes Alexithymia the word for the day.
“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet…”
And yet I’m sick and I the romance of being a man and being on top of the evolutionary scale doesn’t thrill me at all. My nose is stuffed and my head feels heavy. My throat hurts and my chest rattles each time I cough and I feel like absolute shit. I might soon have to take some sort of medication which I’m always against since medication really doesn’t do anything for a cold except hide the symptoms. And yes, it is a cold and not “swine flu” or anything just as sexy although it might as well have been since I am so miserable.
In fact if I had a few night sweats and some chills and aching bones I would be able to justify the way that I feel, but I don’t. All I can say is, or at least ask about is what happened to those days when I was young and I could go about with snot flying about like a leaky and disgusting faucet, not giving a damn about anything and secretly hoping that mother wouldn’t make a bad situation worse by slapping on the Vicks Vapor Rub on my chest as if she anointing me so I could meet the maker. But those days are gone, now everything seems to hurt just a little bit more than it used to. I really must learn to look after myself and get more than 6 hours of sleep at night and control the eating and the drinking and the smoking thing. I think it was Bette Davis who said old age ain't for sissies. How right she was.
This was the point where I was going to put a video from Kiss Me Kate. About brushing up your Shakespeare and link it to the beginning somehow, but my mind is wandering and all I can think about is or are my school days. So if you don’t mind I'll keep the title and ask you not worry about the wrong gender thing that's coming because it has nothing to do with what you just read, but and here’s my man Sidney being sung about at the Victoria & Albert in London I think.
I think that sometimes I don't really have a lot to say and then I think that I have too much to say and it will all come out wrong, so I don't say anything. This has been one of those latter moments where there is so much going on and yet nothing more than usual and I keep spinning around and still go no where.
Life, crazy huh?
Moments by Will Hoffman. This film is a celebration of life that was inspired by David Eagleman's book, Sum.
I guess I have to set this up for a lot of people to understand this, but there used to be this British actress with the name of Googie Withers. She may have been big around the 40's or 50's, I'm not sure, but I came to know her in the 70's when she did a TV show called Prisoners of Cell Block H or something like that. You know, the type of show that was popular around that time. A show about life in a woman's prison where they show all the dirt and the power struggles and the latent lesbianism of those who have turned to the other side of the law.
Anyway, there were two comedians who were telling a joke and one of them said, something something, blah blah blah, Googie Withers. I remember the second one asked, "Who's Googie Withers?" The first comedian, turned and looked at him and replied, "Mine does when there's a cold wind." I bring that up because this Labor Day weekend was Philadelphia's first Naked Bike Ride.
Apparently the World Naked Bike Ride is an organization that has set up bike rides in many cities around the world in an effort to bring awareness to safety issues concerning the bike riding community and also the over indulgence in fossil fuel consumption and the environmental damages caused by it and by the use the combustion engine. And as everyone knows, sex sells, so what better way is there to make a point than by doing it nude? But since I'm really not that much of an exhibitionist, I only get nude when everyone else is nude, and since it is September with a slight chill in the air, I didn't want to see my googie wither. So here are some pictures of about a thousand braver souls than me.
Saturday was my birthday and I spent it with sound of Benny and the Jets going on and on in my head. I think I’ve said it before that my birthday was the same as Michael Jackson’s and now it's the anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It’s funny how when I was much younger, I would so long for that day. That is until I realized how many people would celebrate their birthday with hundreds of other kids and I would, because it was at the end of summer, would have fun with just 5 or 6 children that were my closest friends or who just lived really close to me. As I grew older I stopped celebrating my birthday or even the need to bring it up in polite conversation. So it’s kind of strange to bring it up now, but it’s been a kind of strange summer this year anyway.
Although when I think about it, this year has probably been no different from any other year. Another Kennedy has died, two in fact, back to back. We’ve seen authors and singers go who you would never have thought would go so young. And then there were people that surprised you that they had died only because you thought they were dead already. The weather has been, not crazy, but really weird. It’s been something that you couldn’t depend on if you wanted to do something outdoors. Each time that I wanted to go somewhere or do something, it would be chilly or it rained.
Last week I had wanted to go to Sandy Hook the nudist beach with my friend Curtis. There is no better feeling you could have than walking along a beach with the sun on your back and your dick swaying left and right as you take each step, makes you feel…feel like a man. Unless of course you’re a woman, but I’m sure with a nice set of puppies the feeling is just the same. I recommend it to everyone. Anyway, that was canceled when the beach was closed because of the storm surge from Tropical Storm Bill or George or somebody; screwed again. I was left to think about how it was the last time and maybe it will be like in the future.
It’s funny the kind of things that make you think of your past. Music for me is one of those things that will take me back in an instant to a specific time or place, take Benny and the Jets by Elton John. That song will always take me back to going to a fair that would come into town every year. On one of the rides they would always play that song and whenever I hear that song I’m always taken back to a September evening just before dark trying to figure out if I had enough money to get on the ride. And then I would hear Benny and the Jets in my head whenever Melvin at work, who undoubtedly is the most popular person in the company was on the phone with a worker named Benny who was complaining about his paycheck and his child support and whatever else he had found wrong with it. Melvin would say, “Benny…Benny…Benny,” and I would go back to when I was nine or ten and hear Elton John in my head.
On Saturday people started calling me early in the morning. On the first call I couldn’t figure out how to answer the phone. No matter which button I pressed and said hello, the phone would continue to ring. The other calls I ignored and cursed silently to myself wondering why these bitches couldn’t leave me alone, didn’t they know I didn’t observe my birthday. It wasn’t until after midday that I got out of bed and decided to see who had called me. On the phone there was a text message from Wanda, “call me Melvin was hit by a car last night and he’s dead”.
Saturday was my birthday and all I could hear in my head was “buh buh buh Benny and the Jets” and it's been a strange summer.
I love it when politicians say what they really think and not just what they think will keep them in office. I think if I lived in Massachusetts and even though I don't like him sometimes, I would vote for Barney Frank just because politics without him would be deadly dull.
I think that if you are looking for drama, suspense and maybe even a little action, you can’t go wrong by heading to your local town hall meeting where a congressman or senator will be discussing the virtues and or evils, depending on your political persuasion, of health care reform this summer.
Now I’m not talking about the type of telephone town hall meeting that Bob Andrews, congressman for the district I live in is having where everyone is picked in advance and the questions are screened and the answers are formulated well in advance of the entire thing. I'm talking about the kind of town meeting that Arlen Specter, senior senator for PA does. The ones where old white people come orchestrated with their white paper in hand and their carefully scripted questions ready to shout and scream that there will be a special place in Hell for the President and all the socialist, elite, Kenyan lackeys that follow him.
Of course Sen. Specter’s meetings might not be a good example since I think he may be experiencing a backlash for changing his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and, in the eyes of some, may be seen as a traitor to their cause. But there are other politicians that have experienced that same kind of virulent outburst that will bring a member of the House almost to tears as they try to explain that the government has no intention of creating a single payer health care system. They will shake at the knees and look peevishly at security as they tell their constituents that the government will not create death panels in order to kill off old people and save money. Naturally this kind of town hall meeting doesn’t happen when the President is having one himself. I would think that the secret service would put an end to that kind of behavior even before they took the offenders outside and beat them to a pulp.
However, I’m starting to wonder if these protest meetings are really about stopping health care reform or more about having President Obama, as that one congressman said, face his Waterloo. When people are showing up at meetings with posters ridiculing a man who has been in office less than a year and comparing him to Hitler or the Joker, I have to wonder if the disruptions are really about saving the welfare of the nation and its citizens, or about correcting a perceived mistake that was done at the last election? Is this the meaning of what being post-racial is all about?
Regardless, last year I thought that it was the most thrilling political year that I had ever experienced. This year, tops last year in spades and it’s just August. I wonder what will happen next year. Will the revolution be televised this time?
I wasn't going to comment on this story because I thought it was a dead issue. In fact I thought it was dead a long time ago even before the election was run, but apparently this horse won't die.
Hmmm, now that I think about it I really have nothing to say other I'm not sure who I'm scared of most, the people who have determined and set this heinous sleeper plan in motion over 40 years ago for a puppet to become President and take over the country, or the numb skulls at this meeting who actually believe it.
You know the real sad thing is, is that these fuckers vote. Sometimes I wonder if getting rid of that intelligence test at voter registration time was such a good idea.
Larry called and said that E. Lynn Harris had died. I knew of course already because it had been all over the net. In fact the first time I read it was on someone’s Facebook page.
I was never a big fan of Mr. Harris, I remember reading his first book when he published it himself, Invisible Life, and thinking how much potential he had. Then he went to a big publishing house and I read the second one and thought that it was trite. There may have been a third book of his that I read but I can’t recall. I felt that he had sold out and I had long lost interest in his work by that time which listening to his last interview on NPR this year, he knew already.
When I was young my grandmother would scan the obituaries page in the news paper to see who had gone to glory before she had. She would see a name and recognize the person as Mrs. So & So’s hairdresser’s cousin who had lived 4 blocks up from where she did as a child and who had gone away for a few months when she was 16 and had come back with a new baby sister. Or she would see listed Mr. Such & Such who lived at the end of the street who was a drunk, or a fancy man, or both and used to make her laugh with his antics when she was young. Now granny doesn’t do that anymore. Partly because being almost 90, most of the people that she knew have passed on already and partly because even if she did know them, I’m not sure she’d recognize them. Come to think of it, I’m not sure she’d recognize me and I’m her only grandson.
Instead, I seem to have taken her place when it comes to looking for news of the dead. Of course I don’t actually do the Obits page in the news paper. In fact I don’t think I’ve read a newspaper in about 5 or 6 years now. I mean I do read the Metro that you get at the train station for free, but everybody knows that’s just a glorified excuse for advertising pamphlet. By the time you’ve read headline for each story, you’ve already read a third of whatever it is that they’ve written. What I do is search for names on the web.
This means of course that if you are a nobody like me, you’re probably still alive as far as I’m concerned since there will probably be very little news about you. But if you are a celebrity, a someone worthy of mention on CNN or *choke* Fox then I’ve got you. I‘ll be able to tell small stories about how I almost met you or how someone I knew almost met the next door neighbor of yours. I will be able to say this, that and the other about how my life was changed and how I became a better person or how I found Jesus.
From Maude to Malden, from Richardson to Jackson and from Harris to…I don’t know Cronkite, I will be able to find something to reflect on, and I guess that’s okay with me. At least then I won’t have to mourn for someone I know. I won’t have to grieve over a family member that lifted me up when I was down, or miss a friend that listened to me when no one else would. I can pretend that death happens to other people and not to those I know and love.
Does anyone not remember the Obama slogan of “change you can believe in” when the junior senator from Illinois was running for President? The things that he had to do and will have to do to make that true must be astounding.
If I were ever to run for high office, Lamont would be the first person that I would have to have knocked off. He knows more about me and the dirt that I used to get into more than anyone else in the world, including lovers and family members. There are things that we love about each other and things that we hate. That’s why we can go around not speaking to each other for months if not years and pick up right up at the same spot that we were arguing about and not miss a beat. It’s like time doesn’t pass for us. One of the things that we will fight over is how I like to go to Fire Island in New York and he’d rather lose a foot than go.
Lamont thinks that as a black man I should be ashamed to go to such a place that doesn’t seem to welcome people of color and that he for one wouldn’t spend a red cent or a minute trying to get there. Whereas I have always believed that if you want people to accept you, you have to make yourself visible and let them know that you exist. That’s why I have never been afraid to go anywhere to make my little non-political, political statement.
The last video that I did was on Fire Island and I must have shot about an hour’s worth of stuff, much of which was edited out because I wanted to hit the 10 minute maximum that they have on YouTube. The clip above was part of the video that I left out and although things said were done in jest, they still kind of bother me and I’m not quite sure why.
The “black man, black man,” reference from Designing Women is a line that I have used myself on people. The “black boys are delicious….” Line from Hair is something I’ve heard before from other black people, well from one other black person and he used to wear t-shirts with The Brady Bunch or That Girl on them. Does that count? I’ve never seen That Girl so I don’t know. Anyway, maybe it was the “people of color on the dock,” that disturbs me. Funny how when I was growing up and a little before that, we used to be called colored people and Negroes. Then it was black people and Jesse Jackson got people to use the term African Americans. Now it’s people of color. Oh how things change.
That brings me to the incident at the Valley Swim Club a private swim club that advertised open membership in the suburbs of Philadelphia. 65 children from the Creative Steps Day Camp, which consists mainly of black and Latino kids, showed up at the swim club late last month after their dues had been accepted and were turned away after hearing some perhaps racist remarks. Their money was refunded with the original explanation of, "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," from the management. This was later changed to there being a safety issue and the club was unable to accommodate such a large number of people.
Now, after that story was taped and with the hue and cry of racism in the air and that faint whiff of litigation, the Valley Swim Club has invited the children back. Apparently the safety issue is no longer a concern to the club when compared to pending law suits and condemnation from the govenor and senior senator for Pennsylvania; two fellow gym members may I say.
On Friday at around 4pm I was at Independence Mall in Philadelphia. There was, as some people may call it, a protest rally by some black owned construction companies. They were demanding that more construction work be opened for black people in the city. They said that the President’s House that George Washington lived in before the White House was built and which John Adams moved into, should be reconstructed on the mall with black labor at the exclusion of others since the first house would have been originally built with slave labor. All very interesting I thought, but not quite the spirit of “Brotherly Love” the city is supposed to have especially when we were supposed to be celebrating the birth of the nation in the city that it all began. I decided to go my gym and come back later for the concert that was being held on the mall with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.
I did go back and since I had my video camera I shot a few scenes of the Pop’s version of the theme from ET and something from Benny Goodman. Then when they started playing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” it was time for me to go home before the South started to rise again. Plus I knew that I would have to get up early to celebrate July 4th, the next day, not by coming back to the mall to listen to speeches or thinking of the Founding Fathers or heading to someone’s horrible barbeque, but to where I seem to go every year now, Fire Island.
The story is that back in 1976 a few drag queens were refused service from a bar in the Pines on Fire Island. The men went back to Cherry Grove on another part of the island and with their friends on the day the country was celebrating the bi-centennial anniversary for independence, they boarded a boat and invaded the Pines in full drag regalia. They and others have been doing that every year since then and organized by Panzi in the yellow. It has become known as the Fire Island Invasion of the Pines.
I have been going for the last 5 or 6 years and I wish I could say that I have been in costume, but I haven’t worn mother’s wig and pearls since I was about 8 and never in public. Usually I just head to the beach, strip down and relax. This time however because of the mass of people this year they ran out of room on the ferry that I usually take so I arrived at Cherry Grove at around 1pm just as the revelers were about to leave the Grove for the Pines. I decided to shoot this video with too much wind noise going on and to steal some pictures from flickr.com and some of the music from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
I hope you enjoy it just as much as hope you enjoyed your weekend as I did mine.
It's been sometime since I have actually written anything and this was something that I had never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever do, but here it is.
There isn't much that I can write about the King of Pop that you could not think for yourself or read somewhere else. There isn't anything more that I could or even develop into something even slightly interesting that hasn't already said. For the last couple of days I’ve been thinking of Michael knowing that my life will not change one iota because of his death but realizing that my life has in a small way already been changed or at least been affected by him being alive.
I remember the first time I saw the Jackson 5 back in '69 on the old black and white. Some people with more significant lives will tell you about chasing or running from the VC in 'Nam, but I will tell you about looking up at a boy not much older than myself and wondering why I couldn't be as magnificent as he seemed to be. The Jackson 5 were and Michael was magic and they knew it and they knew I knew it too.
I think I’ve said in this blog before that both Michael Jackson and I share the same birthday. It’s a line that I use to show how I really hip and cool I am and I want people to remember me by stating something that’s different from whatever else they may have heard. Of course using a phrase like “hip and cool” only shows how much I really am not but I have always tried to ride MJ’s coat tails by showing people the similarities between us. Although undoubtedly we have a few differences.
I am or was just a few years younger than Mr. Jackson so that was one difference and another minor one would be the talent thing. I know that I have no talent because some years ago for some strange reason I was watching with my mother, Barbara Walters or somebody interview Michael Jackson. My mother said to herself something like “such talent.” Then she turned towards me and said the word “if”, lowered her eyes and let the smile fall from her face. I swore to myself then, perhaps not with words but at least pictures, I would hate Michael Jackson and everything that he stood for, for the rest of my life and maybe a little more beyond it.
It goes without saying that I never could hate Michael anymore that I could hate my left shoulder when it clicks and hurts me when I raise my arm. Like my shoulder he has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.
I remember when I started to grow an afro because he had one. I remember the choice of clothes and the platforms that I wore were because of him. I remember posting the bedroom walls with pictures of him and his brothers that I tore out of the teeny bopper magazines. In fact the only thing that I did before he did was to catch my hair on fire, and at least I did it without getting third degree burns. I supported him when he did his Thriller album when early on, black people were thinking that MJ’s music was too pop, which is a euphemism for being too white, but I was there. I never bought the album of course; there was no need to go over the top. I was there in spirit.
I was also there in spirit during the cosmetic surgeries that made him look like another version of the Joker. I was there during the Martin Bashir interview and I realized my idol from yesteryear had either gone berserk or had never developed an adult thinking brain and my heart and my stomach fell. But I was there. I think I will be there when he is finally laid to rest. Not the memorial/spectacle "Joe Jackson somehow it’ll make money" money scheme they intend to put on in Los Angeles for him, but the one where everyone realizes that it’s all over, and then like the line that keeps going on and on in my head,
“I'll be there, I'll be there, just call my name, I'll be there....”
So I’m watching Hannity on Fox the other night. I don’t usually do the Fox channel since it seems to be more interested in commentary rather than news and even though I hate labels, I guess I’m a liberal at heart but with a conservative streak somewhere in the middle that dislikes the stuff they do.
This night they were talking about what is going on in Iran and the protests and the lack of President Obama to come out strongly against the recent election results there. Hannity brought up time and again the death or “martyrdom” of the young lady who was shot and killed during one of the protests and I realized that even though I had heard the story before, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to it.
I believe Senators McCain and Graham and other Republicans had told the story in order to criticize the President as being weak and timid and decided that I would see what they were talking about. It wasn’t difficult to find the video of the death of Neda Soltan, the Young Iranian girl who was shot, and I was surprised that it was still up. Here is a link to that video if you are interested. I didn’t post the actual video because it’s sad and discomforting as you see her slip away as I’m sure most deaths are. But even more than the death of the young Neda, I was struck by idea that many politicians seem not to realize that her death may have been determined 30 or more years even before she was born by the actions of the British and Americans in the ‘50’s. Here is what I mean.
In 1953 the freely elected Iranian Prime Minister Dr. Mossadegh was ousted by British and American interests when he decided to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi was reinstalled as the absolute ruler of Iran with the support of the Americans until the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Then American hostages were taken in Tehran and we backed and supplied Sadam Hussein with arms in his war against Iran. That war now over, the Iranian government now reflects an Islamic fundamentalist outlook and is a total rejection of the Shah’s rule and the distrust of and disaffection towards the United States.
This view and the recent Iranian elections have led many young people, such as Neda Soltan, to protest against it and the outbreak of violence in the streets where the militia has cracked down on them. The Republicans and some Democrats want the President decry what’s happening, increase sanctions and isolation against Iran and threaten the possibility of military intervention in the name of “freedom” and to what end? So we can start the cycle again? So there can be more blood shed by Iranians and possibly American or Coalition troops. Hasn’t there been an adequate amount of life lost in that region where we can say “enough already” and just stay away?
Sure I grieve for Neda as much as anyone else will who didn’t know her, but I don’t want her held up as a poster child for an excuse for more violence, for more suffering and for more fear. I don't want to see more friends and family go off to places they shouldn't be in to die or kill again. I don’t want to read the papers 60 years from now and say this all seems familiar.
I wonder if I’ll still be able to read 60 years from now?
“There is someone being sucked out of the aircraft where the tail is supposed to be and there is some bozo standing up taking a picture of it happening,” was my first thought to myself. The second was that I was ashamed for even giving a nanosecond of thought to the picture and the others that came with it.
The pictures screamed hoax and I felt sorry for myself that I gave them any attention. I felt sorry that someone or some people didn’t have the sensibility to restrain their urge for fame or notoriety by not playing with someone else’s tragedy. I felt sorry for friends and family who might have been subjected to their losses as just a joke.
I am referring to a series of pictures that were circulating on the net this week showing what was supposedly the last moments of Air France’s flight #447 from Rio to Paris. It was said that a camera belonging to a Brazilian had been found in and amongst parts of the wreckage and it had three pictures of when the plane’s fuselage had broken apart. It reminded me of the picture of the tourist in his winter coat and hat at the end of summer on top of one of the Twin Towers in NYC having his picture took just seconds before one of the jets hit the World Trade Center. Why do people get a thrill from this, I don’t get it?
Sure, my sense of humor can be little sordid and out of place at times, but give me a minute or two and something will usually kick in and tell me to rethink what I’m about to do. As long as I haven’t said anything, I can generally steer clear of any mess that I’m about to commit and no one is the wiser for it. Why can’t others do that?
Speaking of which my next post will be about why I think John McCain is a crazy bitch and that the world is so much better than it would have been if he had become President. Well maybe. I have to think it through first.
I hadn’t really intended to write anything about Gay Pride this year. If truth be told, I’m not really that much into it, politically that is. Yes, I see the significance placing yourself out there so everyone else can see you and not brush you aside like yesterday’s trash. I realize the need to be heard when I or anyone else wants to state that we are human, we are equal and we deserve the rights that everyone else has in order to exist because our lives are not less than anyone else’s. But I’ve never really seen these events as being that effective.
In fact when President Clinton wanted to ban the ban on gays in the military, video tapes of gay celebration parades were shown to the top brass and the politicians including John McCain and said if gay people acted like this in the street then it would a cold day you know where before they would knowingly allow anyone with homosexual tendencies in their armed services. They thought the parades to be too flamboyant and too drag queeny to have officers and men like those among them. They must not have known that I would do a video that would be as dull as dish water and thrown out all of those fun concepts out.
As usual I decided to go to Philly’s Gay Pride Parade at Penn's Landing this year instead of Odunde, the African-American festival they have in South Philly. I don’t go there anymore because I’m becoming more of a snob as I get older and I realize that those people are really not my sort and there’s also less chance of me losing part of a kidney from gunshots if I stay away completely.
So after arriving after 4pm, less than 2 hours before the event would finish and probably well after any of the good stuff, acts, people and half naked muscle boys (there, I’ve said it), had left and I was wondering why was I there. It looked like I had missed all the fun part of the festival but just in time to sign up for the political stuff which as I said I wasn’t interested in.
Oh well, in order to salvage part of the weekend there is this little video which I realize is edited all wrong but I’m over it and I’m just looking forward to some leather at Folsom St East in NYC this weekend. Hopefully that will bring me out of this misery. I wonder what I will wear.
I hate clichés and stereotypes and maybe labels, unless of course I’m using them and then I can find a good excuse for bringing them up. At least that’s what I tell myself.
One of the clichés that I have always hated is that if you are a man and you like musicals you were automatically labeled as gay. It is as if under Webster’s or the OED if you are that way inclined, the definition of homosexual is male lover of the musical theatre. How absurd. That would be like saying only women and straight men are interested in sports. By the way is there some sort of basketball thing going on now?
So I’m at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philly tonight to see the Grey Gardens the Tony award winning musical and I notice something. Well I noticed two things actually: 1 I’m the only black person there not working and 2 about 70 percent of the audience consist of all male couples. It was like I was in an episode of Frazier.
Now what’s up with that? It’s not like the theatre had sent out a notice that they were going to do a rousing rendition of some Judy Garland song, Over the Rainbow or something and audience participation was expected. In case you are unaware of the story, Big and Little Edie Beale were the aunt and cousin Jacquelin Bouvier Kennedy Onassis who lived in a rundown mansion in the Hamptons that was condemned by the Board of Health as being unfit for human habitation. I remember reading part of the story in the NY Times Sunday Magazine in the late 70’s or 80’s before I knew that Jackie O and Jackie Kennedy were one and the same person. Recently I’ve also seen part of the documentary Grey Gardens as well as the HBO movie, but I don't remember anywhere any indication or receive any clarion call that this was the must see theatre for gays around the region.
Although now that I’m thinking about it, it is June which is Gay Pride month and it is the 40th anniversary of the Miss Garland’s death as well the Stonewall Riots. I can be so slow on the uptake at times, but as Little Edie in the play sings, "da da da da dum."