Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I grew up in the Midwest. The weddings of my youth took place in the family church - usually in some somber Lutheran edifice constructed of brick and guilt. For the reception, everyone would file downstairs to the church hall where a line of steam trays simmered and bubbled. Manned by a half dozen of floral-clad, horn-rimmed ladies of the church - an endless smorgasbord of Teutonic taste treats consisting primarily of sausage and cabbage were served as we shuffled past the steam trays.
If we were lucky, either the bride or groom would be Polish and there would be a polka band. Otherwise, the entertainment consisted of someone like the elderly Miss Elsie Kopnecki playing Gershwin on a church upright that had avoided tuning for the previous decade.
On one special occasion, I recall that my Great Aunt Lenore - who had performed in Vaudeville with her husband, my Great Uncle Bill - was to sing the wedding processional as my favorite cousin Leslie walked down the aisle. Needless to say, it had been some decades since great Aunt Lenore had trod the boards of the Palace. My most vivid memory of that time is the sight of my father (Leslie's dad had split when she was a baby) dragging my semi-hysterical cousin down the aisle, with an elderly woman in garish make-up in the choir balcony overlooking the church, delivering what sounded like something between a Wagnerian Valkyrie ride and a moose being slaughtered with a police siren.
But I digress.
My co-worker and friend just married a hell of a nice guy. Talk about two handsome folks. Oy yoy yoy! - as my great Aunt Irene would say.
The event was held in the Massachusetts port town of New Bedford - a historic whaling community. The ceremony took place at the venerable And charming Seaman's Bethel - of Moby Dick fame.
"In the same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot." - Herman Melville
Since we were handling the flowers, however, we had to miss the ceremony. In fact, we were just scurrying away from hanging the wreaths onthe church doors as the bride arrived in the limousine.
The reception was then held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum across the street. A positively funky and fabulous spot for a reception. (Imagine sipping a Manhattan and chatting under a huge suspended whale skeleton)It was a glorious event - and I eagerly anticipate seeing the photos.
If for no other reason, than to fill in those blank spots left by too many Manhattans under the whale carcass.
Friday, September 22, 2006
It's better than coffee for getting my blood going in the morning, just to realize how many stupid, uneducated, bigoted, hateful and selfish pig bastards there are out there in the world. People who believe we all need to think the same way, act the same way and, of course, worship the same way.
This morning, I ran across this one in the Poughkeepsie Journal:
"I have determined to know nothing but Christ and him crucified."
Christians serve a crucified Christ and are supposed to "take up our cross and follow him." But here in the Hudson Valley, we have a cross-less Christianity, a hell-less salvation, a weak, pitiful, greedy, over-blessed bunch of whiners and complainers who readily come to the altar for blessing when what they often need is a good kick in the pants.
We need more sweat and less tears. More fasting and less hugging. Dangnaggit, we are the victorious church. We are more than conquerors, but we act like defeated beggars.
It's time for a revival of courage, of sacrifice, of zeal, of godly masculinity. Let us not weep for ourselves, but for the lost. Let us stop using Christianity to justify our lusts, our avarice, our apathy and get back to the true word of God and an old rugged cross. Stop blending in with the world; transform it by modesty, holy living and passionate, unapologetic witnessing.
Pastors, stop babying your congregations; lead them into the field of battle behind a blood-stained cross, not cowering behind stained glass windows. And if the pastor fails, men of God, pick up the standard and lead yourselves. Stop clinging to the skirts of your church leaders. Find your calling and get to work, though none go with you.
At this moment, our brothers and sisters around the world face torture, imprisonment, persecution for Christ. Where are our bonds? Where is our faith?Dangnaggit. Indeed. We are more - MORE, mind you - than conquerors, not beggars.
Why aren't we all out on the streets, being led into battle by our pastors carrying blood-stained crosses as our standard? Why aren't we whipping our children into holy, religious submission and throwing the fetid disposable diapers of sinful moderation, tolerance and compassion into the street to expose all who do not believe to their vile stench?
Why aren't we nailing the non-believers to the telephone poles on the corners and peeling their skin to expose the wickedness inside?
Dangnaggit!!! We must right this wrong.
And to do that, I suggest we get this writer some medication right away, cause he done taken the train to Loopy-Land.
You know what - believe what you freaking want to believe. Tell your friends. Tattoo it on your freaking forehead - or on your dog, before you beat it for acting in non-Christian ways.
But I DO NOT WANT TO LISTEN TO IT. Your religion and your passion for whatever deity you believe in is your choice - HAVE AT IT! BUT - do NOT assume that I am some damned lost sheep who needs to be saved by you and your ill-dressed, narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, unable-to-think-for-themselves band of sad, crazy mother (expletive) s!!!
Tune in tomorrow to find out how I really feel. Dangnaggit.
You sad bastard.
And oh, by the way - thought I'd introduce you to one of your fellow holy warriors. You might recognize him
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Yesterday, I had to take a business meeting with my website vendor in Soho in New York City. Afterwards, we all went to a truly historic dive called the "Ear Inn" - one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) bars in New York City.
Replete with dusty relics and musty patrons, the Ear (as it is known) reminded me of some of the great old working man's bars on the San Francisco waterfront.
You'll see everything from business suits to the local drunk there. And the Guinness on tap rivals any I had in the Emerald Isle.
If you find yourself in the Village or Soho - check it out.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Okay - while I am not personally a fan of performance art, which strikes me as largely pointless and highly self-indulgent, I have to give props today for sheer chutzpah to Pablo Wendel.
Pablo is studying performance art in China and was apprehended after jumping into the pit with the Terrracotta Warriors of Xian and pretending to be one of them.
B to the W, Pablo. That took a set.
My comments on performance art are not made lightly. While living in San Francisco, I was exposed to more performance art in the space of a few years than most people experience their entire lives (lucky bastards).
You see - I have sipped cocktails in a gallery while a young man in a bathing suit writhed in paint on a huge canvas - simultaneously videotaping his creation. Then he sold the canvas and the video afterwards for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I have sat quietly in the dank dark of a Valencia Street dive, watching a man simulate making love to a file cabinet.
I have seen a man in a paint-spattered orange jumpsuit wave doll parts around insanely in a pro-choice performance piece - with the din of unintelligible recorded phone calls emanating from the Fisher-Price "My First Cassette Player" strapped to his waist.
I have seen the "Evolution of Man" performed in a combination of - I am not making this up - interpretive dance and hand puppetry.
Set against the backdrop of living and working in San Francisco, which is like living in a virtual performance art piece itself - where getting to and from the office and the train station without being swept up in a demonstration/protest/movie filming/drag parade/natural disaster was a daily challenge - you need to show me something I can't see everyday. Something more original and thought provoking.
You see - every performance art piece described above was completely interchangeable with the actions of the homeless I passed every day on California and Montgomery Streets. It just smelled better.
Take Pablo's lead. If you are really going to pursue performance art as your passion, commit completely.
Like the crazy homeless lady at the Montgomery Street BART station who did nothing more than wheeze in and out through a harmonica, with no sense of melody or rhythm. She knew the public expected to be entertained if they were to give her their spare change and did what she thought she could to deliver - no matter if the talent existed or not. That's honest and real.
Now - if I just had a file cabinet or a large canvas and some spare paint - we could go on the road with "Performance Art - the Musical!"
Monday, September 18, 2006
- Drink a lot
- Don't hit anyone - as much as you might like to
I am also convinced that there is a subset of humanity that anxiously looks forward to the weekend and these types of sales because it is their only human interaction.
Words can't describe the horror I experience at having complete and utter strangers - most of them poorly dressed and obviously under-medicated - walk onto my property and begin to tell me about their health, life issues and the accomplishments of their suspiciously malformed children.
"See - little Cletus here done made us so proud t'other day. He went and fit nineteen hot dogs in his mouth at one time - then swallowed 'em whole! And he can hold up to $2.00 in loose change in that there big ol' dent in his forehead where his daddy accidentally clipped him with the engine hoist. He's nine!"
And you just can't think about the fact that these items that you hand-selected to grace and adorn your home will soon be decorating a press-board coffee table in a trailer somewhere.
But - our goal was achieved. Nothing came back into the house. The "good stuff" - the items that I would rather burn/break/tear to bits in front of customers than sell them for a quarter - all fetched suprisingly good results. And the rest are now on eBay.
Thank heavens this weekend is now past. We made some extra cash - cleared some space in the basement and garage - definitely had the best "free" box in the neighborhood.
And the best part is that I never have to deal with those people again. Wheeee.
Friday, September 15, 2006
As a child, one of my favorite (and most annoying for others) possessions was a paperback book of elephant riddles and jokes.
Two of my favorites:
Q: Why do ducks have webbed feet?
A: To stamp out forest fires.
Q: Why do elephants have flat feet?
A: To stamp out burning ducks.
I am surrounded by flaming ducks today.
And it's waaaaayy too early to drink.
An old high-school chum sent me this little gem this morning:
Donald Rumsfeld briefed the president this morning. He told Bush that three Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.
To everyone's amazement, all of the color ran from Bush's face. Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost whimpering.
Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, "Just exactly how many is a brazillion?"
Keep those butts covered, ya'll.
Props to Stuart in my home state of Indiana for the humor!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Former Texas governor and fabulous human being Ann Richards has left us.
Dearest Ann - you helped us believe there could be both wit and compassion in a leader. You called a spade a spade and a Bush nitwit a Bush nitwit. You reminded us that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, backwards and in high heels. You lived hard, played hard and did it all with style and elan.
God speed, Ann - see you on the other side.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I found myself checking the Bravo TV site today in between conference calls to remind myself of the epic, soul-wrenching drama of last week's episode, ending with Vincent's elimination (where in California hell did they dig him up?)...and found myself getting excited at the prospect of seeing tonight's new episode.
WHO WILL LEAVE? WHO WILL STAY? OH MY GOD!
I've decided that I am simply into witnessing the randomness, weakness and insanity of my fellow man (or woman). It just makes me feel better about myself.
After all - what have been the defining Reality TV moments that have kept me coming back to these seemingly inane series?
- Watching Audra come completely unglued on "Boy Meets Boy." I tuned in every week, not so much to see who James would pick - but to see what kind of ungodly meltdown Audra would have when someone flipped on her crazy switch. It was like watching her wake up during surgery - every week.
- Just about the time I became disenchanted with "Queer Eye," Carson began to frequently get naked on the show, reminding me that even thin people can look terrible unclothed.
- On "Hell's Kitchen," I was fascinated by how many stupid people there are in the world who will allow themselves to be sworn at, degraded and humiliated before millions of viewers. I just wish someone would bitch-slap Gordon Ramsey - just once!
- On "Top Chef," I waited every week with baited breath to hear one of the contestants ask the smug brunette who both overacted and overestimated her importance , "...and just who the hell are YOU to judge ME, lady?!" (and why did you mug a hooker for her skirt?)
- Watching Malan's tearful and dazed exit on "Project Runway" as he confessed before God and the world that his mother had crumpled his early fashion drawings up and that he had never had any friends growing up. Maybe if you didn't come across like some smug-ass carp in a Liza Minnelli wig impersonating Charles Boyer, you might have some friends - okay?
Or Laura stabbing him with shears. It's all good.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
- First - to my brother-in-law. I apologize for dragging up the hysterical drinking stories about your extended family. I love them. And I love the fact that even the relatives over 90 can drink my butt under the table.
- I wish I had spent more time talking with each of you. But I was mingling - it's required.
- Gift ribbon cocktail hats are mandatory.
- Most of your edible gifts have already been consumed. It's ugly , but true.
- My friend Peter is a "must-have" at any party I will ever throw. He is always ready to jump in to help host, entertain, and engage my guests. And more importantly, he will always laugh at and help set up my barbs and zingers - and he always keeps my cocktail glass full.
- I love Peter.
- I wish our friends L& D never, ever had to go home. They're just so damned fun.
- I do look younger than my years, but then fat people don't wrinkle. And I moisturize.
- I had a freaking great time. Thank you all for that!
- I love you all.
- I got a lot of @#$% to say.
- My company blogs don't let me express my "real" opinions.
- My GLBT diversity database at work is a collection of whining losers, waiting around to be offended by something.
- And why the freak not?