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

Friday, December 31, 2010

...the other side.

I am one of those people who will sit on a fence through hell or high water until I have fallen on one side or the other, and then it will take an Act of Congress or overthrow of the government for me to change my mind and go to the other side.

One of those things that I firmly believe in is that the start of the new millennium, the new century, the new decade started in 2001 and not 2000 which is what most people believe and so the next new decade starts in 2011.

Who cares you say? I don't know. I certainly don't. But all of this is just to finish off this season and say.....Happy New Year!!!! and I'll see you on the other side.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Bed Intruder

Since it's Christmas I was going to talk about everyone being merry and jolly and everything while people in the Côte d'Ivoire were dying in the streets because of election results and that there were wars going on and poverty and disease was  still rampant elsewhere in the world. Then I was going to compare it to the original Christmas Story where people will often speak about peace coming to world because of the birth of the Christ Child while forgetting to mention the accompanying Massacre of the Innocents, the mass slaughter of first born children ordered by King Herod. The good and the bad. The yin and the yang.

After that I was going to wrap it up by saying something about, "good times," a line from a book rather than the TV show. And by the book I mean Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities where he starts off with, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," and then go on from there. It might have turned out nicely, but I think it would have been too much work to do well, or well enough before Christmas. So I'm just going to show a bunch of video pieces.

I don't know if Joan Rivers is still doing that show where she goes into the houses of rich people who got there because of some idea they had, but I remember part of a show where she went to the home of the man who invented the Snuggie or the Slanket or something. Well actually I don't remember the house or even really the show, but I do remember thinking to myself was how does someone selling a cheap polyester blanket with sleeves cut or sewn into it become a millionaire? And how does someone get silly white girls to flash there boobs in front of a home video camera and make a mint out of it, and why don't I have the ability to make money out of nothing?

Well apparently this ability seems to be happening to everyone except me.....Roll the tape please because its starts here and now....



And that becomes this.



Which moves onto....



Monday, December 20, 2010

Too Much Stress


It's time for the annual gripe and even though I’ve been doing it since I was eleven, I don’t really like flying. There is too much stress involved.

I had just arrived in Nashville TN an hour late doing that airport hopping thing that people do when they’re trying to get from one city to another but have to change planes at behind “God’s Back” county 30 miles east of nowhere. The airport at Nashville seemed to fit the bill. It looked dark and dingy and dismal and I thought, “If I’ve missed the last connecting flight to Philly, there’s no fucking way I’m staying overnight in this place.” I swear a lot when I’m talking to myself; somehow it seems more poetic and insightful. Call me crazy.

While I was leaving the plane from Florida, trying to figure out which gate I should go to and where the flight information board was, I noticed that I was a behind a man in a wheelchair who was tipping the person who had helped him off the plane that I had just left. In fact there was a whole bunch of people sitting there in their wheelchairs waiting for another flight or for someone to take them somewhere and I realized why the flight attendant on the plane had asked passengers in wheelchairs to be patient since there was only one person who would be able to help them disembark.

I passed the group, carry-on luggage in hand and I was hit by the stench of what can only described as the smell of raw sewage and baby shit. “Oh God, this must be some sort of decrepit persons wheelchair convention,” and then I wondered how long it would be before I joined them. But I heard over the loud speakers, “Last call for flight blah, blah, blah to Philadelphia at Gate 25 please come immediately to the gate.” “Freedom!” I thought and made a quick dash to the right only to stop and do a u-turn after 20 yards when I realized I was heading in the wrong direction.

Anyway after arriving at gate 25 panting and wheezing feeling the sweat start to trickle down my back, I really do need to quit smoking, they took my boarding pass and closed the door of the airplane 20 seconds after I had boarded. Last on board as usual. This seems to be becoming a habit.

I don’t think I really like flying, there’s just too much stress involved.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who is Brenda Vaccaro

Normally I don’t even care about award shows. They are all about people or things that I know nothing about and don’t want to know, or if I do, will forget about before the end of the next commercial. In fact because I love movies, the only show that I will watch is the Oscars but that’s only during the commercials of whatever else is on another channel. I used to say that the only thing that would make television worse would be to add another stupid award show, that was until someone discovered the reality show and TV and my life took a turn for the worse.

Anyway, for some reason I was going down the list of award nominations for the 2011 Golden Globes and under the category for Best Supporting actress in a TV movie there was a bunch of people listed but no Brenda Vaccaro. Brenda Vaccaro? Who’s Brenda Vaccaro you ask? Well let me tell you about Brenda Vaccaro. By the way, have I mentioned the name Brenda Vaccaro yet?



I first came across Brenda Vaccaro in Airport ’75 or maybe it was ’77, it was a while ago, and then again in the Jacqueline Susann film Once is Not Enough which she had done before the Airport movie. I had heard that she was once the older lady in Michael Douglas’s life when he was young enough to have an older lady. But Since then, nothing, Nothing that is until I saw her earlier this year, big as a Buick and just as ugly, in the Dr Death, Jack Kevorkian bio-pic You Don’t Know Jack.

In the movie she plays the role of Jack’s vibrant and yet caring sister that goes tits to forehead with Al Pacino with conviction and believability. She steals scenes when she has to and subjugates herself when she needs to, which was most of the time because she was dealing with Al and let’s face it no one can really go up against Al Pacino. She isn’t the star but she helps the movie move along when the movie needs to move along. She made my experience good and that was worth a mention I should think.

So it looks like…don’t you just hate it when people start off a sentence with the word so. I was watching CNN the other day and the guest started every thought with the word “so.” After a while it became so annoying and I realized that I had noticed it before with other people on TV or on the radio and that it must have become a trend or something. Either way I hate it. It’s now one of my pet peeves like people riding bicycles on the sidewalks only to risk life and limb to young pedestrians and old people as they go about business. But I’m going off on a tangent now and ranting. As I was saying...

So it looks like there will be no need for me to watch the Golden Globes next year and I wish I can say that they will miss me, but since I’ve never watched them before, my guess is that they won’t.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Palin Power: Bristol Earns Personal Best on DWTS

Just a quick blurb. If no talent Bristol Palin wins Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday, I have $100 that's saying that no brains mother Sarah is winning the presidency in 2012. I'm just saying.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Say it ain't so Joe

I wish I could embed the video that I want here, but Oprah didn’t become a billionaire by giving stuff away for nothing. So you will have to follow the link or watch the fuzzy bootleg Youtube version below and go to the 6 minute mark to know exactly what I’m trying to say. Although I’m sure that there are a lot of people who will have already seen it and come to their own conclusions.


Sometime last week I was watching a repeat broadcast of the Oprah Winfrey Show, the one that had Michael Jackson’s children in it. Funny how that still makes me chuckle inside thinking about the blood lines must work in the Jackson family. But I was watching the show, I suspect the same way most men watch Oprah with half a mind focused on something diametrically opposed to whatever she is harping on about, when I thought I heard old Papa Joe Jackson say that he had beaten his children and how proud he was of it. He thought that he had done a good job because other people’s children who hadn’t experienced his form of discipline had ended up in jail, or on drugs, or even dead.

Since it was just me and the TV in the room the only thing I could do was ask myself, “…er did he forget Michael?”

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Room for one more...

You will have to know what I'm talking about to see how the title of this piece fits in, but it’s Halloween and you can have all your Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger or Friday the 13th movies. You can have all the slice and dice, slash and burn, cut ‘em up and throw some fake blood about and make you jump movies, but they are don’t make you think movies and that to me is the true horror.

Speaking of thinking, I remember hearing when Michael Redgrave died and wondering, “Who’s he?” Then hearing that he was a famous actor and the father of Vanessa Redgrave and wondering, “Who’s she?”

I would find out later that Vanessa had a sister, Lynn who had a TV show about some sort of hospital that I’ve forgotten the name of that I would watch. Vanessa also had an actor brother Corin and a daughter Natasha Richardson who I had seen star in a movie with Christopher Walken and would later marry the actor Liam Neeson. Vanessa had another daughter whose name is I’m not sure of, but since I don’t think I’ve seen any of her work, it doesn’t matter right now.

In time I began to learn about the contributions that all the Redgraves had made to film and cinema, if not the theatre. I began learn that each time one of them was the screen, the father, the daughters, the granddaughters, even the son now and again, there was that special spark that lights up the screen and made you take notice of what was going on. The best of them was of course the father, the original, and I don’t know why that is but it just is.

You can see how good he is in many of his movies from the mid 30’s and early 50’s but since it’s Halloween the one that I want to show here is Dead of Night where Redgrave plays a ventriloquist whose dummy starts to take on a personality of its own. This was or is a sort of early version of the Twighlight Zone where in fact many parts of the movie could be found as whole episodes of the later produced TV show sans Rod Serling doing the prolog. 



I’ve only seen this movie once before when they used to show classic movies on regular TV on a regular basis, but it’s always stuck with me.

Like the guy says, if you’re looking for something to curl up to this Halloween weekend, you could do worse by passing up this movie.

Oh and Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Rent is Too Damn High

As much as you may think that Jimmy McMillan is a joke, if you really listened to him at the New York gubernatorial debate, he made a lot of sense.

It's time for me to move to New York.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Philly Naked Bike Ride 2010

Perhaps the two or three things that I noticed most and asked myself about at the Philly Naked Bike Ride was how much better organized it was this year over last year, the two or three people who were riding motorcycles which sort of defeated the purpose of the protest and how many onlookers seemed to be “size queens.”

Even though I would say that at least a third of the riders were women, most people tended not to worry or judge the refreshingly freed titties that were jiggling up and down the street, but they did feel the need to state their thoughts about the exposed and unleashed male genitalia and how small they thought everyone was. I heard one guy say to his wife or girlfriend that he felt better now and not so small as he compared himself to the riders. Even I marveled at one point where I saw a fellow gym member whose dick is usually thick and at half mast with a lurid smile on his face whenever he’s in the locker room (shudder), look relaxed and normal. Obviously the message has been lost.

I think, and you can find this on the organization’s website, the whole reason for the ride is that there is an unreasonable dependency on unsustainable fossil fuel. They ride because there is a lack of respect for bike riders on the street by car drivers and they ride nude not just for attention to the cause, but because of the need for body acceptance and the awareness that not everyone can look like Pamela Anderson and Terrell Owens or whoever people think as good looking.

Perhaps next year they will do more to educate the public on what their message is but until then a little video.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hallowed Ground in New York

World Trade Center
It seems that a building, abandoned for the last eight years on Park Place in New York City, has been purchased for the purpose of tearing it down and building an Islamic community center and people are up in arms. There is a tremendous uproar from people saying that would be disrespectful to the memories of the victims of 911 and signal a triumph of terrorism over good. And more than that, to tell you the truth, I don’t really care.

I could bring up the fact that not all of the people who were killed during the attacks were Americans or even Christian or that the largest amount of Muslims in the U.S. happen to be African Americans. I could also bring up the First Amendment Rights here, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” but I think that’s a no brainer. If the question was ever taken to court, no court in the land would ever think about denying people the right to worship whoever and wherever they want on the basis of it being unpopular. No, what really gets to me is the idea of calling not only the space where the Twin Towers but the surrounding territory, “hallowed ground.”

Years ago when I used to work for a brokerage house right opposite the World Trade center, I remember there used to be an Off Track Betting shop on Church St. I think. Not far from that, there was the Pussycat Lounge which I think was a stripper bar which I think still exists and is even closer to Ground Zero than the proposed community center. I don’t even want to bring up the only time that I stayed at the Marriott Hotel in the World Trade center was because it was only 2 blocks from where Afrodisiak was being held on Fulton St. Afrodisiak was a competitor of the Blatino parties where black and Latino men got together to do their thing. It was the first sex club that I had ever been to.

After the Ex and I found the location of the party, we had to walk up 12 fights of stairs because the elevator was out. Reaching the 12th floor I remember in between my heart trying to explode from my chest and being oxygen deprived, there was sign that said you had to be over 21 and no older than 35 to get in. I think that I had just had my 36th birthday and I thought if anyone said anything to me, anything, I would call the police and, “shut this illegal mutha fucka down.” Suffice it to say, they just took my money and handed me a garbage bag for the clothes and a small towel to cover the essentials.

There isn’t much else that I remember about that evening other than it being really dark. I turned at one point to the Ex while I was being sucked off and wondered out loud how, if I could talk to him face to face then whose chin was I banging my nuts against. I might have thought and said something differently if I had known that it would be considered sacred land in such a short while.

Anyway, in all deference to all those that were victimized during the 911 attacks and all those who have suffered since, that’s why I cannot go easily from sinner to saint and consider all of lower Manhattan as hallowed ground.

And that’s my piece.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Can't buy me love"

The Beatles once wrote a song about money not being able to buy them love. Since I'm not a multi-millionaire like Sir Paul or Mr. Starr I don't really know if that's true or not...but I suspect that they were right.

I wonder why others don't see that.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Is Andrew Breitbart Another Flim Flam Man?

Maury Povich has done more for the black family than the Democratic Party has ever done,” was the only line that I remember from the Tea Party rally that I went to last weekend. That was said by some guy at the podium who said that health care, or "Obamacare" as he called it, was a privilege and not a right and that the President was socialist who was going to take the country into the abyss if we weren’t careful.

I was disappointed at not seeing any Birthers at the rally, you know, the ones who swear that the President was born in Kenya and that he is some sort of modern day Manchurian Candidate. But what are you going to do? I did overhear one guy say that the President was a Muslim and so therefore wrong for the country, but no one else.

I listened to all 10 speakers on the stage who said basically the same thing that the Tea Party was not racist. It was the Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP who were the racists and who were irresponsible to a crowd that was organized and seemed to be very friendly. As I bowed my head in prayer for one of the speakers and held hands with a stranger to the left of me I thought to myself that everyone and therefore wrong for the country, seemed to be really nice. But then again, they probably thought the same thing in Berlin during the 1920’s and, “how fetching they look in their brown shirts.”
Andrew Breitbart
The real reason that I went to the rally was because I read that Andrew Breitbart, the man who brought down the Acorn organization with videos of pimps and whores getting tax advice, was going to be on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. I thought that maybe he would explain how or why he had slandered Shirley Sherrod who was forced to resign from the Agriculture Department for being a racist. He didn’t of course. What he did do before going to his book signing was find a way of saying that he was being made the victim by the Main Stream Media and the Democrats and so on and so forth without actually saying that he was a victim or mentioning anything that had happened in the past few weeks. “Poor me” he was saying.

I wish I could do that. I wish could say shit without saying shit and walk away the hero of an event and perhaps a little richer in the process. Instead, I would find a way of putting one foot in my mouth by saying what I’m thinking and then figure out a way of putting the other foot in at the same time.

I remember taking a political science class for an elective once that I dropped out of a long time ago. It wasn’t that it was difficult or that I was doing really badly. It was because I was getting C’s and worse than that, I was bored. I see now that if I had stayed in class I might have found out that there really isn’t anything scientific about politics. It should really be called a Political Art; the art of the flim flam.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Play la Marsellaise. Play it!"

Paris is one of Philadelphia’s sister cities. I’m not sure what that means other than it has the Rodin Museum which has the largest public collection of artwork produced by August Rodin outside of Paris and that it has an excuse to do quirky little things that represent that bond.

One of those things is to do a re-enactment of the storming of the Bastille which was a castle turned prison where they kept a few people behind bars. The prison was overrun by the people in Paris back at the start of the French Revolution, the prisoners were released and the building torn down. Philadelphia relives this event by having actors invade, the now defunct, Eastern State Penitentiary on the weekend before or after Bastille Day.

Eastern State, if you remember is the first state penitentiary in the United States and is the one during the 30’s that kept gangster Al Capone for a few months and bank robber "Slick" Willie Sutton for 11 years not including the time that he spent on the outside after he tunneled his way to escape. But he was gone for only about 30 or 40 minutes so it doesn’t really count. Willie is also the one incorrectly known as the man who said when asked why he robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Anyway during this year’s re-enactment of the Bastille, they had an actress on top of the ramparts of the prison play the role of the Marie Antoinette. From there she tossed free Tastykakes to the crowd below apparently referencing the “Let them eat cake” quote that the queen is supposed to have made when told that the people didn’t have bread to eat.

I didn’t attend this year’s performance because it was raining all day and plus I think it’s kind or corny. What I should have done instead was to rent or maybe even have bought a copy of my favorite movie Casablanca to celebrate Bastille Day. There is nothing that makes you feel more alive and free and maybe even want to fight Nazi tyranny than when Rick allows a resounding rendition of the Marsellaise to be played in his club, unless of course you happen to be female, Arabic and have a certain religious penchant about clothing. But then again which country is it that you know that doesn’t have flaws somewhere?

Vive la France!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

To Kill a Mocking Bird - Redux

How long has it been, 20 or 30 years since I read the little brown book that my grandmother’s cousin kept in a box in her closet? Actually a better question would be why was I in her closet?

She kept dozens of books there; ones by people like Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim. All of them about pimping or being a drug addict or being raped and becoming someone’s bitch in prison or all 3. Ah the classics, I don’t think they write ‘em like they used to. But she had one book that has stayed with me all of these years. It was about a little girl in the 1930’s whose family life had entered into a situation that was completely foreign to her. It was about how she discovered how truth can often be hidden behind form and ritual and convention and that win or lose, sometimes the fight is all we have; the only thing that can bring meaning to our lives.

Of course I’m referring to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird that was first published 50 years ago this weekend. I’m not going to review the book since I’m sure that’s been done by editors and professors and plenty of other people who are much more capable than me. Plus I have not read the book since I first opened it, But I remember it. I remember not realizing that Scout, the protagonist and narrator was a girl until I was about 2 thirds of the way through the book. I remember Jem her older brother who looked after her to his utmost ability, the way that most brothers do but only when they have to. I remember reading about her father Atticus the lawyer shooting a rabid dog and defending t Tom Robinson in court not because it the heroic thing to do, but because it was the right thing to do. I remember the fear created by the presence of Boo Radley until, as with all things once the reality is known, the truth is often different from the perception.

I haven’t been to Oakland since the mid 80’s so I don’t really know what the truth is about what happened on New Year’s Day 2009 when an unarmed Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer. I don’t know how different the bay area is from the south of the 1930’s or if there is or even was a racial element to what happened. I suspect that things are very different, but I don’t know. All I know is what I feel and that is that a young man was wrongly killed and that someone or a society should have to pay for his loss and the loss to those around him.

But whether others think of the incident as murder, man-slaughter or just deserts all I can say is that I’m reminded of a short passage in the book where Atticus said to Jem: 


“I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.”



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's Hot as Hell in Philadel-Phia

If it's 101 degrees Fahrenheit in Philadelphia now, what is that in Celsius and what must it have been like 2 centuries ago? No wonder there was a Revolution.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Flim Flam Man

An email that I received recently said:



“You have won (£3,500.00 Million) on the Irish Lottery Promo held on the

22nd of April,2010 in Dublin, Ireland.

Send us Your Full Name:...,Address:...,Tel:...,Country for claims

Mr. Jimmy Peterson: +447035914740.

E-mail: clmsveri_dept@upimail.be

Note that you will be liable for the Cost of remitting your winnings to

you.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Anna Brown.

Co-coordinator Irish Lottery”


Wow! Who would have believed that it could happen to me? I don’t even remember entering or registering for a lottery and now I’m a multi-millionaire. What incredible luck I must have….. Although, I thought the Irish Lottery was in Ireland where they used the Euro(€) and not the Pound(£); and why is the email address a Belgian one and not Irish? You know now that I think about it, if someone is going to scam me they should at least try and give a good story without holes in it so that I wouldn't feel so bad about throwing away my money. What kind of clown do they take me for?
When I was younger, sometimes I would be approached by men who would say that they were just off the plane from whatever country was in the news at the time, South Africa, Guyana or someplace. They would tell me that they had given their cab driver from airport hundreds of dollars to take them to a hotel, but he had instead left them in middle of Times Square in New York, or in later years, Center City in Philadelphia with bad directions. Suddenly another man would walk up and ask if he could assist. The second man would say that he knew of a place where the visitor could stay for very little money. The first man would say that money was no object and then pull out a roll  as thick as his fist that seemed to be full of one hundred dollar bills. The second man would him and tell him that it was unsafe to show that amount of cash in public and that it should be kept in a bank. One of them would tell me how honest I looked and asked if I had an ATM card so that they could deposit the cash in my bank and maybe withdraw it at a later date with, of course, a cut taken out for myself.

Now my name isn’t Peter Parker but my Spidey senses would tingle into overdrive whenever I heard this, well at least the first 2 times that I heard it. I didn’t understand what was going on but I remembered that Mother always said you never get something for nothing, there is always a price. It was time to bolt, and I always did.

It wasn’t until I was old enough to understand what the movie The Sting was about and had seen it about 3 or 4 times on TV that I realized that I had been the mark in some sort of “Pigeon Drop” scam. Someone had tried to make me think that I could make a little more money with no risk to myself. They had tried to work on my sense of greed to see how far they could get because I looked like an easy mark.

It probably doesn’t explain why I have very little sympathy for those people who fall for swindles like the email from a lawyer somewhere in Africa or Malaysia with a dead client, or even the rich friends who were ripped off by financier Bernie Madoff who supposedly gave a 20% return on their investments without bothering to explain how it was done. I mean it’s just a con man working on the gullibility and greed of people to believe that there is something  for free where nothing exists.

So if you should ever get in touch for any reason with Mr. Jimmy Peterson or Mrs. Anna Brown or even that lawyer, tell them that I send my best but the check will not be in the mail.

Monday, June 28, 2010

No more ordinary than Me

He looked kind of ordinary although no more ordinary than me. He was introduced to me and he shook my hand and squeezed it hard.

I hate that. I hate the need for someone to show that they are manlier than you are because they have a little strength in their right hand. I mean what does that really mean that the only way that you can impress someone is by flexing your muscles. We might as well had both whipped our dicks to see who the real man was. I have some size that I’m not ashamed of, but I’ve also been with a few pageant queens who had penises the size of a policeman’s nightstick and knew just as well how to use it. What does it all prove? Nothing!

I looked him straight in the eye and squeezed his hand back giving as good as got if not better and hoped that he didn’t notice the split second delay in pressure. He probably didn’t because he had that air of disinterest about him. Or was it dislike feigned by disinterest? I would have told him not to worry; the Ex was standing next to him and not me. I was a threat to no one.

How similar we must be. But then again I like to think that there is a certain flavor about me and that if I’m going to be replaced by someone, it’s going to be someone with similar attributes to mine. He however was a weak imitation.

Introductions were over and the Ex said something about moving on, probably because he was thinking that I was developing my own story of which nothing good would be said. He and his new friend turned and walked. I turned and realized that even though there were no butterflies in my stomach there was no animosity either. In fact there was no feeling at all. Nothing.

I hate that too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Folsom Street East 2010

So I was at the Folsom Street East street festival in New York this weekend where I took a whole bunch of pictures. I realized two things, one of which was that I think that I have grown out of my camera. Sure some of the pictures are okay but I think I could do better with a better camera that shoots and focuses faster and captures the images with more pixel information in them that I want to see and not just the ones that I'm left with.

The other thing that I realized was that I wondered when was or is the appropriate age to hang all of this fetish thing up. Apparently for some like my friend below, not too soon. I wonder if I'll ever be that way?

Maybe, I'll post more pictures later.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why the Difference?

Did you hear that 16 year old Abigail Sunderland who was sailing solo around the world has been found safe and sound? If you are like me your first thought will be, "who?" followed quickly by, "who cares?" But apparently, most people don't think the way I do.

Actually it's not that I didn't care about poor Abbie, but just like that 13 year old boy who climbed Mount Everest where people have died in droves I wonder why no one is up in arms over parents allowing their children to do stunts like this. Not being rich or even white, if I had kids and left them alone in my house or apartment for a day or two, people would want my head on a platter for child neglect or endangerment. Why the difference? Or am I just making something out of nothing?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rand Paul

Rand Paul is the Republican candidate for the US Senate from Kentucky. He is also a Libertarian and a Tea Party member and I guess I’m not.

When I was younger, I never really understood the whole meaning behind political things like Civil Rights and maybe other stuff. I could never understand what was so wrong about sitting at the back of the bus; I mean that was where all the cool people sat. I’ve forgotten what the actual bus number was from Newark ‘s Penn Station to South Orange, but I remember you could smoke at that back and since it was the late 70’s and early 80’s most people were smoking something different from Marlboros or Kool cigarettes. Sure the bus driver would shout out, “Stop smoking that shit or I’m stopping the bus,” but nobody ever took any notice of him. Even if you didn’t smoke you could get a slight but nice buzz if someone was smoking the good stuff or perhaps a pleasant odor that would linger in your clothes long after you had left the bus that would make it all worthwhile.

I remember also that I didn’t really understand what the big deal was about sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths. In fact I thought that if anyone had seen me sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths sitting next to Mr. and Mrs. Birnbaum arguing over the price of linen or chocolate covered pretzels, I would probably die of shame. I figured that if I was going to eat out, it had better be someplace decent. As Susan Green had taught me, I needed to go somewhere where a girl wouldn’t regret being seen with me.



When I grew older I began to understand why it was wrong for private businesses to discriminate against people because of their color, their religion, their gender or sexual orientation. I began to understand that even though people would call their businesses private, they would still accept deliveries for their businesses on roads that were built with public funds from all people. They would still accept the services from the police and firemen whose salaries was paid for by the same people that they would have had beaten up and or had the hoses turned on against. They would still accept protection from foreign invasion by troops that consisted of people, who they would refuse service to while allowing their businesses to grow and flourish and I knew why I had been wrong but I wonder why doesn't anyone else feel that way.

It’s a funny thing this era of a Post-Racial America. I never thought that there would be people who think that this was a good time to bring up the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What’s next, an attack against the Americans with Disabilities Act or the repeal of the 13th Amendment and a reintroduction of slavery?

Those Tea Party people scare me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nothing More To Be Said Here



Alright but I've said it before, Betty White is a living legend.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena

Some people you have to look at all the facts and the figures and the stats to see what they are about. Others, you just have to feel them to appreciate them.

There will be no dates or numbers here for you to look at, just a celebration.


Free Hugs

Apparently there’s a movement going on and I know nothing about it. Oh God I feel old. You can tell when you are getting old and the whole world seems to drift by you and you don’t even have the ability to be a spectator let alone be a part of it.

I was in Rittenhouse Sq. the other weekend at the Spring Festival in Philadelphia. Spring Festival is a euphemism for saying we celebrate May Day but we aren’t Socialists. Anyway I took a picture of this man, well actually there were a bunch more people in the photograph but I cropped them out, they weren’t the ones that I was interested in. He, like the others, was carrying a sign that said “Free Hugs” and I wanted to get my hug. There are some days when you are in need of little love and affection and you will get it anyway you can. But this day wasn’t going to be one of those days for me.

From a distance he seemed like he would be taller than me and I hate to be dominated physically by anyone so that would defeat the purpose of getting hugged. Plus even though my first instinct was that straight black men don’t hug other men. I had seen him hug other men but with that bearhug type mentality thing where he would wrap his arms around someone, lift them off the ground while squeezing their chest against his and whispering….I’m starting to digress. I think I need a moment here.

So, I think what I was trying to say was that whatever motives I had for getting a hug were probably not the motives that this young man and the group had for giving a hug.

I posted a black and white version of this picture on Facebook and a friend of mine had said that he had seen a group of people doing the exact same thing in Union Sq. in New York but he had thought that it was some sort of joke. That made me do a little research on the net and sure enough there is a website dedicated to free hugs that explains how the idea came about and was created by Juan Mann and that’s it’s really nothing other than being able to share empathy with another human being.

Could there be a movement traveling the entire world that I was blithely unaware of?

Yes.

Is Juan Mann a real name?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

English Only

A couple of years ago, I was at a party that was being held to celebrate Barak Obama going over the top with enough delegates to win the Democrat candidate for President. I have forgotten which primary night it was, but he was supposed to finally beat Hillary Clinton and bring the Democrats together and beat whoever would be the Republican nominee. However it didn’t turn out that way.

Hillary did her third or fourth comeback and beat back Barak while Governor Huckabee dropped out on the Republican side. I remember how people laughed at Mrs. Huckabee and said that she was so ugly that she must have been a man. For some reason I was surprised at the misogyny going around from both men and women and listened to how they hated Mrs. Clinton primarily because she was female.

I don’t know how the conversation turned to truck drivers and border control, but someone suggested that Mexican truck drivers were a hazard and threat to the road and Americans in general and that they should be regulated and or restricted from entry. When asked why, the young man said because most of them couldn’t even read English. I wondered to myself if having the ability to read The Grapes of Wrath or I know Why the Caged Bird Sings was really a qualification for good driving, but I kept quiet.

Now listening to Tim James who is running for governor of Alabama, I’m starting to wonder if I’m the only one who thinks this language thing is just a bunch of bullshit and that maybe there should be more pressing issues to deal with.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lost and Found

Okay, so I’ve decided to not even look at the new iPad. I mean I haven’t really heard or seen how people’s lives have been changed by it, so I’ve decided not to get it. At least not until the price drops and I can get it without having to switch to AT&T in order to get service on the road. Plus with all the stuff that I carry now I’m starting to look like one of those homeless bag ladies that trudge along with all their worldly goods in tow and last thing I need is more stuff to lose.

Yesterday I was on the bus in Northeast Philly, the first time that I’ve ever been there, when a young woman picked up a cell phone from the seat in front of me and walked over to the driver. She had him open up the door as she called over to one of the men who had just left the bus. Apparently the phone didn’t belong to him and she turned and went back to her seat where she started to flip through the information stored on the phone. Why do women do that?

Now if that was me and I had the slightest bit of interest in even getting up, I would have given the phone to the driver where he would have turned it in to Lost and Found or pocketed the thing for himself. There would be no fuss and I would no longer be involved. But she on the other hand was trying to figure out how she was going to lay that trap and I say that because it happened to me once.

About 2 cell phones ago I left cell phone on the train and I didn’t realize it until the next day when I was at work. After trying to figure out where I could have left it and calling around to the different places that I could have left it I finally decided to call my phone and see what would happen. A woman answered and said that she had picked up the cell the previous night and that we could meet at lunchtime the next day where she could give it back to me. I wondered to myself why we couldn’t just meet after work and get it done with, but I let it go. Instead I just called up Verizon and had the shit cut off, no point having unexpected calls to Guam being listed on my next phone bill.

The next day I went to the train station at 8th and Market and approached her. I could tell that it wasn’t me that she was expecting. I guess I didn’t look like the picture I was using for a screen saver that month. No dreads here. But she squared her shoulders back, gave me the phone and started to give me the mini-bio of herself. She told me that she and a girlfriend had received comp tickets to spend a night in Atlantic City but the girlfriend had dropped out; would I be interested? The girl was on the hunt for a man.

Now it’s true that I have preferences and those have never stopped me before, but this time I had to take a stand. After all it may seem at times that I’m somebody’s piece, but only because I’ve allowed it. I’ve set too many targets and traps myself not to know when it’s being done to me. So I said that I would get back to her and excused myself as I praised God silently that the she didn’t accept the $20, or was it $10 that I had offered her?

Yesterday on the bus I made sure my wallet was in my pocket and I checked my bag to see if both of my cameras and my 2 week old HTC Droid cell phone with the 2 naked white men for a screen saver was there and I felt secure. I may already have too much stuff to lose.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What was I thinking of?

I don’t really know what I was thinking of when I went last week to the Apple Store at the Cherry Hill Mall. I had wanted to see what the iPad looked like and how it worked. Even though I know that it is just a glorified, oversized iPod, I wanted to know if I could seduce myself into getting it. I wanted to see if I could be one of the first people I know who would have it. I wanted others to say ooh or ah and I would be the focus of attention and people would look at me with awe and fascination. Which is really strange because I don’t think I like being the center of attention, it allows people to see my flaws which I take serious efforts in hiding.
That’s probably why I don’t like taking pictures of myself. It’s true that I can look at myself 2 or 3 years after a shot has been taken and say, “that wasn’t so bad,” but to look at photo of me taken today or last week or a few months ago will make me shudder as I see how this sags here or how those poke out there and I will run for shelter, denial or destruction of the evidence. I need my privacy, my anonymity while I pretend to look like something that I’m not. However, for some reason I don’t seem to respect the fact the others may feel about themselves the same way as I do.

Take the picture above for example. When I found out that Apple wouldn’t have the iPad until this weekend, I sat outside the store wondering what I should do. So I took a picture of the store and made sure that I had the mother and her baby in the frame so that I could put a human aspect to the picture. I didn’t ask her if I could take the picture and in fact I did my best to conceal that I was photographing her. Now suppose she was on the run from her wife-beating husband and didn’t want her location known, I’ve just jeopardized her security. Or take the picture below that I took last year. Supposing Papa from the old country sees his beloved daughter out in public with a man and no hijab or mask bringing shame to him and his family. Next you’ll be reading about her and her ritual punishment in the papers and I will be responsible. Will I care? Yes I will, but then life goes on.
I will care unlike the bastard who took a picture of me and an Ex all those years ago while we wearing matching thongs at the July 4th event at the beach in Malibu and published it in the gay magazine, Frontier.  Did he care that he had exposed me to ridicule in front of friends and family and possible job loss? Probably not. It's a good thing that no one I knew read this magazine.

I wonder if they still have that event on July 4th?

Matching thongs? What the hell was I thinking of?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Now I don't know what you're stance on publicly regulated health care is but did you see this video shot by the Columbus Dispatch? I did but I don't get it.

It came out on Tuesday I think and I missed it, but thanks to YouTube I've been ablt to catch up to everyone else. Although, I don't really think that it's unique. It's probably the same type of thing that's going on all over America. It is the same kind of action or reaction that you saw when congressmen and women had their town meetings in order to explain their position of health care reform. It is the same kind of angst that you saw and felt when people compared President Obama to Hitler or Josef Stalin or some sort of "Manchurian Candidate" last year.



Very few things shock me anymore, but to see a man throw dollar bills at another man suffering from Parkinson's Disease as if he was a cheap stripper on a pole where you could see the marks left by the heroin needle in her arm and the sordid and loose looking pussy lips that had seen tighter and better days, makes me kind of pause. Not that anyone has a right to treat strippers that way, but where do people like this protester in his awfully clean white shirt come from? Are they the same ones that sent millions of dollars to Haiti and other areas in need of relief or are they ones that burn crosses in the middle of the woods or the lawns of other people? Why is there such a dichotomy in being an American.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Remember

I am so old, that I remember when an Apatosaurus used to be called a brontosaurus on the Flintstones and when Pluto used to be a god, a Disney dog and a planet, but I don’t remember when I started to like classical music.

It could have been when I used to take music classes and the teacher would play “The Planets” by Holst and I recognized part of it as the theme music of some TV show or other but I don’t think so. It might also have started when I would watch Bugs Bunny do “The Barber of Seville” or his version of Wagner’s “The Ring” in “What’s Opera Doc?” both shows being classics in their own right. But again, I don’t think so.

It was probably when my father would play his disco album versions of Bach or Beethoven back in the day when we had records. Or when he would play A Whiter Shade of Pale, not the original Procol Harum version, but one done with a reggae beat by but someone I have long ago forgotten. And then it took me years to realize that was just a rip off of Bach’s Air on G. Since then, I have learned to appreciate classical music in the way that it can be used to feed or purvey emotions, especially when it is combined with visuals like video and film. Like the scene in the movie “Se7en” where Morgan Freeman is walking in a library looking for clues and absolutely nothing happens. But as soon as Bach is played in the background, what was going to be just another piece of celluloid lying on the cutting room floor turns into something erudite and wonderful.

Last weekend I had intended to buy Philadelphia’s own Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” Ever since I saw or heard it being used in the Oliver Stone’s “Platoon”, I have always loved it and thought that I would use it somewhere at sometime for something. So since I hate going to record stores without knowing exactly what I want, I went on YouTube to see which orchestra or version would the best one for me. When I saw the BBC Orchestra from the Royal Albert Hall I wasn’t that impressed except for the fact that they were playing it in memoriam for September 11th, just a few days after the event and I remembered.

I remembered every minute of that Tuesday from when my sister called me at work from Florida to say that the World Trade Center had been struck. And then she called again to say that it had been struck again and then again to say that one of the buildings had collapsed and so I called her nuts because everybody knew those buildings were built to withstand airplane crashes. I remember how my Ex called and left me several messages each time I was away from my phone. He would tell me that his bus had been diverted away from the New York because no one knew what was going on and that he had arrived at the Lincoln Tunnel just minutes after the second plane had struck and that he needed help. I remember trying to get back to him to find where he was and what he wanted me to do, but the all the New York lines, cell phones and land lines were busy. I remember thinking that logically, everyone I knew would be safe, but I felt frustrated and to be honest a little scared, not for me but for everyone else.

Now it’s been almost ten years since those days and I wonder if I’ll remember as much ten years from now? I wonder if this is what it’s like when people say they remember when Kennedy was shot or the few who are left who remember when FDR died. So much has happened since then but probably not as much as has stayed the same, but I remember.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum

It's not really that important but I think that I am going to mention this song in a future post so I just need to give a few of the young folks something to refer to.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Black History Month Revisited

Let me tell you about one moment in Black history.

I saw Temple Grandin the other day on HBO and just like the old days when they used to have the movie and disease of the week I have found something else that is wrong with me, I am autistic. There were just so many things in the movie that I could relate to. The ability to think in pictures rather than words, my confusion when I’m faced by noise and lots of visual stimulation that I’m not used to, my aversion to being touched by strangers unless I have that lonely night agenda thing going which we won’t go into here, all point to autism but without the genius thing.

I should make an appointment with my doctor for tests, but he would probably laugh at me again. Bitch! I hate HMO doctors.



What does any of this have to do with Black History Month? Nothing, but speaking of doctors and HBO I'm reminded of that other cable movie Something the Lord Made with Mos Def when he played the heart surgery pioneer Vivien Thomas. Even though Thomas had never attended medical school as a lab technician for the Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Alfred Blaylock had developed a surgical technique for improving the circulation of blood for patients with Blue Baby Syndrome. This was one of the names given to children, whose blood bypassed the lungs leaving them oxygen deprived with a blue pallor and was often fatal.
Thomas developed a technique where he was able to attach arteries from the heart to the lungs and therefore increase the amount oxygen and hence the lifespan of the child. But more than this, he developed a suture style where the scar tissue would be able to expand and grow as the patient and as he or her organs did. I bring this up only because I may have benefitted by his procedures.
When I was 14 days old, it was discovered that I was unable to digest any food because of a blockage somewhere in my digestive tract. In the old days, say Leonidas and the Spartans, they would have just thrown me out the back one night and let the wolves have at me, but instead I was operated on leaving a horizontal scar on my abdomen 2 stitches long. I know that because you can still see the marks where the needle entered the skin.

As I’ve grown, that 2 stitch scar has grown with me and is now about 4 inches long and I really have no problem with it unless someone points it out to me or I sneeze really energetically. You see when I sneeze, I contract my abs and if it’s really stressful the muscle will bulge below the scar and feel as if I’m being ripped apart about the midsection. Anyway, I don’t know how true it is but I think I may owe Vivien Thomas, among others, my life.

And that has been one moment in Black history.

Monday, February 8, 2010

And the winner is...

Is it just me or does it seem that Jay Leno isn't really sitting on the same sofa with Oprah and Dave, but just added in digitally?



Oh and I'm sure I've said this before, but Betty White is the hardest working person in showbiz today and maybe ever. She is not only a Golden Girl but she should be recognized as a national institution also.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Black History Month

I have heard said that the world has been developed on the shoulders and back of the black man. I don't know how true that is, but I had to justify using this picture to the right... Moving on.

I read on Facebook from one of my friends, and I use the term loosely since other than we play games together I have no idea who she is, but she said in one of her posts that it was Black History Month and she was surprised that there didn't seem to be an awareness of it. There were no special events or promotions going on to celebrate or educate  people of what had happened before or what was going on. I wanted to reply to her post that there is so much going on around her that there was so much going on around her that she would have to do is stand up, open her eyes and see.

From the earthquake and its aftermath in the first black and second independent nation in the Western Hemisphere to the first black President of the United States, black history was going on and being developed all around her and still she didn't get that these were the culminations of what had happened before and may happen again and perhaps much more important than a TV show or a dance. Anyway, I probably don't have the skills to inform you and show you the events that have helped shape the world into what it is in any meaningful way. Instead I will just show you what has helped developed me for good or bad.

When I was young, around 4 or 5, my mother would sing the following song to me. Maybe it explains who I am, maybe it doesn't. I don't know, I just remember it now and again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

First Rant of the Year

"All the News That's Fit to Print" is the slogan or motto for the New York Times and I sometimes wish that the local television stations felt the same way about there news programs. If they would only show just the stories that were worth watching, informing or uplifting the public they would be so much better than they are now.

I dislike local television news because it is so full of sensationalism. Not that the national network news is any better, but local news no matter where you go will put on the most outrageous stories just to get ratings...and that annoys me.

I think that Philadelphia TV market is the 4th or 5th largest television market in the the US. It covers not only the city of Philadelphia and the rest of South Eastern Pennsylvania, but all of New Jersey south of Trenton and pretty much all of the State of Delaware. I don't know how many people that would be, but suffice to say that's a pretty big audience with Channel 6's news getting the largest share ratings.

It's believed that Channel 6's Action News garners it's audience because they show more stories about violence and abuse, house burnings and diseases threatening to wipe out mankind than does the competition. And if perchance there should a story that involves a race issue where someone is being hurt or threatened, then they will go all out and enlarge the story and do an in-depth investigation and or analysis of the situation until they can't squeeze anything else out of what will be seen after a few weeks to have been a story about nothing. But like I said before, local news appears to be the same where ever you go.

I saw the story below coming out of Atlanta where some guy wants to start up a "Whites Only" basket ball league of US born citizens only and I wondered what was all the fuss about? Doesn't someone at the news station know that as soon as the man puts his sign up on the street and before the paint has been given a chance to dry, his business would be sued and shut down by the community and the courts for discrimination. Can no one figure out that this man would be filing for bankruptcy before he even took in his first dollar? Does no one there know that that this man's actions would be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution?

The story is a non-issue and yet they felt it was important enough for them to air it and feed it the other local stations so that they could fill their time with nonsense.

Oh, how I hate local TV news.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Death & Destruction

The Presidential Palace

So I went to the barbershop today and you know what one of the topic of conversations was, Haiti.

There was a young man with an accent there who they called Doc. He told someone who was getting his hair cut that he had gone to medical school in New York, so I wasn't sure if was a doctor or intern or still a student. But he said that he had heard from people that Haiti was over populated and that even though the earthquake is a tragedy, the recent events is perhaps a blessing in disguise. I was in West Philly watching a Pat Robertson moment, follow the link if you don't know who is; but I didn't say anything there, and I won't say anything here. It's not the time for preaching my pseudo liberal arguments and fighting without any real information. I can do that later.

In the meanwhile I will let others do the talking for me with some video.





Friday, January 15, 2010

Teddy

The important and responsible thing for me to do would be say something about the huge amount of lives lost in Haiti from the recent earthquake and the possible further hardships that state will face, I should but I won't. I had wanted to write something about communication and the late night NBC TV debacle here in the States. In fact I've written about half of it but I think it needs to be heavily edited and taken in a different direction even before it's finished. Instead I will write about neither one of them because Philadelphia's own Teddy is gone.

It's not that the life of Teddy Pendergrass will ever be considered that important in the grand scheme of things but I've written about him before because it was Teddy that I fell in love with. I'm not talking about a physical love that you have with someone, although I'm sure that for a lot of people that wouldn't have been a bad thing; I'm talking about that scary stalker kind of love where I didn't want to have Teddy Pendergrass, I wanted to be Teddy Pendergrass. I wanted to be drop dead gorgeous and have women who would drop their draws and feel moist between their legs at the first sound of my voice like they did for him. I wanted to have the same animal power and attraction that he had that would make other men walk away with their manhoods cheapened and shrunken, or engorged and maybe wanting to drop their draws too depending on their needs, because he was more man than they were. I wanted to look like him, I wanted to be him.

Truth be told, I was in North Jersey when I really became aware of Teddy Pendergrass. For just a short time from when he sang the duet with East Orange's Whitney Houston who everybody said was gay, and the car accident that would cripple him at 32 for the rest of his life, I took notice of him and realized that he used to be the lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, he was the sexy one with the voice. And now he's gone.

I guess that's the way of all things. Eventually everything and everyone will die if only to make room for others. With all the things that are going on in the world it's probably not that important that Teddy is no longer here except in that Disney "Circle of Life" kind of way but I'm glad I was a around for just a brief part of his career and his life after it because...because he brought me joy.





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