Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A friend of mine was in despair this morning from watching Morning Joe. Everything going on was getting to him. Here's what I said.

Recommendation 1: Stop watching Morning Joke. Mika is a vapid fool and I'm convinced that Zbigniew bangs his head against the wall every single morning wondering how he ended up with such an idiot for a daughter.

Scarborough himself has yet to explain the dead intern in his office.

Willy Geist is a phony masking his utter lack of intellectual ability behind sardonic-isms.

Recommendation 2: Yeah, we lost NY9. This sucks.
However, remember that while we lost 9, we won 26 and 29 last year, two upstate districts that had been Republican since the Civil War. Bigger wins. 9 was a thin margin, 26 and 29 were a good deal wider.

The Rs played the Israel card very well. Better than the Ds played the Medicare/Social Security card. They took it for granted and not without cause. Let that be a lesson.

Recommendation 3: Stop watching the Republican debates. You won't get anything out of it. None of those candidates are going to say anything particularly insightful.

The race is going to be Romney v Obama. It may or may not be a close race.
The race is going to be Perry v Obama. It will be a landslide victory for Obama and quite possibly hand the House back to Nancy Pelosi.

Unless either of those two things suddenly changes (always possible) there's just no reason to watch. Think of the reasoning as the same reasoning you use to not watch Jerry Springer. Why bring yourself down watching the worst of humanity?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Life is weird: A Memory

My grandmother died on September 7th, 2001. She had been living in a suburb of Pittsburgh ever since her third husband, a retired steel worker, had died decades earlier.

Being next of kin it fell on my brother and me to get down there and take care of things. My mother, who happened to be in NY that weekend drove the very large family van with us in it. The funny thing is that this was my father's mother who had died. But my mother, never one to pass up a road trip with her sons. Besides, she had a big van and we were going to need it. It's a long drive from New York City to McKeesport, PA.

To say that my grandmother was not well would be an understatement. Always somewhat emotionally immature as well as an alcoholic, she had left behind a small apartment piled wall to wall and knee high in Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes mailings and chintzy "consolation prizes". So when we arrived at her place on the morning of September 9th. We had a lot of work ahead of us.

It took us two days to get all the garbage out. On the morning of the 11th, we turned on the news as we got ready to leave the hotel and head to the apartment. There was a small campus fire at UP Pittsburgh. A dorm kitchen apparently. We watched the coverage of that, grabbed our free hotel coffee and headed over. One there, we packed up all the "consolation prizes" to take to the Goodwill in the next town. Deciding we needed to stop by the hotel on the way to the Goodwill to use the bathroom, we headed into the lobby, van loaded with stuff.

In the lobby, guests and staff were all gathered, watching the television. All I saw on screen was smoke. I thought to myself "Wow, that campus fire is out of control". I turned to a guy standing next to me and asked him what was going on. He told me that planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I stared at him in disbelief, my face probably for an instant communicating "fuck you, what's really going on?" But I saw he meant it.

We had to keep moving though. There was just too much that had to be done at grandma's to pause. So, after our bathroom break, we got back into the van to head to the Goodwill. The "Kill All Towelheads" signs were already up on pick up trucks that we drove, listening to the Today Show on the radio. As we commented to eachother on how we were already blowing it, the first tower fell. How my mother managed to stay on the road at that point, I'll never know.

It's a very odd experience listening to someone narrate a terrible event as it is happening. Matt Lauer's voice will forever have that echo for me. In a way, I'm grateful that I wasn't among the millions watching. Weird as it was, I think it was easier to process emotionally for me than seeing it would have been.

We unpacked at the Goodwill which was for all intents and purposes abandoned, and went back to town. We had to stop at the town funeral home to arrange grandma's cremation. On the way, we listened to the second tower falling.

When my brother and I returned to the van from the funeral home, our mother who had stayed in it to listen to the radio told us that another plane had just crashed in Shanksville, about 70 miles from us.

It seemed like the end of the world in that moment. The Twin Towers were one thing, the Pentagon part of the same thing...but a field in rural Pennsylvania? "What the fuck?" just doesn't even cover it.

We took a few moments to pull our heads back together and get back to grandma's apartment. We were finally going to be able to deal with her actual possessions. And start to figure out what to do with everything.

Much of it, oddly, was still in boxes though she'd lived in that apartment for 20 years. (I guess she needed the room for all the used PCH mailings). Taking the box nearest where I sat, I opened it carefully. It felt like it would be mostly paperwork and that seemed like the best place to start anyway.

When I opened the box right there at the top, was a plastic framed 3D photograph taken of the World Trade Center to commemorate the opening of the Twin Towers. My grandmother had kept it from her visit that summer of 1970.

I gasped. All the time it took to get through the detritus she had left behind...the events of the day and the first actual possession of my grandmother's I uncover was this.

Life is weird.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gaining Momentum Part I

It has to be said that I am often slow. Not in general, but certainly on a social level I’m like slow glass. It takes awhile for the light to pass through and reveal itself to me. Especially when it comes to relationships and sex.

I’ve written about this here before. I have a running joke that I could be in a dark corner/room/anyplace with a woman and she would be tearing my clothes off, covering me with passionate kisses and begging me to take her to bed/the wall/someplace/anyplace and in my head I’m thinking “I wonder if she likes me”.

Yeah, okay, that’s an exaggeration. I’m not quite that slow…but sometimes I’m close. Also that scenario rarely actually happens, when it does…I’m generally way more on the ball….so to speak.

But last April, when I attended MomentumCon (thanks very very hugely to my friend @dangerouslilly), I began to learn and realize I actually am and have been.

Let me explain, if you’ll be kind enough to indulge me and read on.

My whole early life, I’ve been giving myself hints about what my desires were and are. What I like, what I don’t like what I want. My subconscious would give me ways of thinking looking and thinking of things. But I wasn’t getting it. I think the reason for this is because I grew up in a fairly repressed household…you know, the classic “stop touching yourself” kind of thing when you’re a kid…subtle if unintentional parental messages of shame. You know the drill…It was the 60s and 70s and my parents were young and children of the 40s and 50s.

So I never asked myself certain questions and I managed as I grew older to squelch my darker ideas about sex and thus left them unexplored.

In my early teens I read books by gay men, knowing that I wasn’t attracted to men. I was fascinated by the sense of being “other”. I was mystified by this. Why was I so interested in the thinking of struggling gay men when I was clearly attracted to girls. I didn’t realize this then…but I was drawn to reading about people who struggled with self and societal acceptance. I think I was trying to tell myself that I had desires and attractions that I wasn’t accepting. It certainly was what I was doing. And since there were no ready books for me out there yet (Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty was completely out of my radar until I was in my 40s) Merle Miller was what I had to go on.

In college I became frustrated with the plethora of books on women sexuality and the absolute lack of books on male sexuality. Other than a book by Bernie Zilbergeld, I could find nothing. This is the very early 80s. No internet. And oddly, though I was in a very liberal college with lots of artists, I wasn’t encountering the kind of “dark play” that still crept in the back of my mind. In high school I would role play with my girlfriend, but she would only go so far and since I viewed myself as being unusual I simply let it go as far as she was comfortable and resigned myself to not going further.

I simply had no awareness of any other option and I think, being partially on the spectrum, or at least the way that I was on the spectrum, things just didn’t occur to me. So…suppression continued…it went on through my brief marriage and even further.

A couple of years after my separation from my wife, I discovered online role play…you know…the old Yahoo chat rooms. I just went early on to meet people but eventually learned there were people creating their own “worlds” and stories.

I was in my 30s and this is where things, still slowly, began to come alive...

To be continued

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cold Kraft

Yesterday we took my daughter up for the second semester of her Junior year in college. We go up as a family, my daughter, ex-wife B, her boyfriend/fiancee, F and me. F has a car that's a small station wagon and he's happy to make the drive.

F is a drummer and has been a musician for awhile and knows his stuff, but generally when it comes to certain kinds of music I tend to turn to my daughter as the young one more attuned to current or recent music.

So yesterday as we are heading north I get a tune stuck in my head. 8 notes that repeat several times...I'm sure it's a Coldplay tune, but the rest of it is gone...I hum the notes to my daughter who also finds it familiar but isn't sure it's Coldplay. F finds it familiar too anWd after a few minutes is sure it's a Kraftwerk song.

I tell F that I'm sure that's not it, because I heard it on a radio, and Kraftwerk, brilliant as they are, hasn't had anything play on a radio in a store in decades.

After awhile F blurts out "Computer Love" and I look it up on my iPhone and sure enough, there are those 8 notes...but it's not the song.

Eventually my brain kicks in...the song I'm thinking of is "Talk" and once we listen to both as iTunes samples I learn that Talk is indeed inspired by Computer Love.

Computer Love is a song that accurately depicts the loneliness that comes with being sort of obsessed with communicating through computer. Talk is a song about uncertainty in communication among other things.

Turns out there's a wiki page on this. Who knew? Well, apparently Wikipedia and I'm betting scores and scores of people. Sometimes my ignorance cracks me up.

We all learned something yesterday...and I got a tune unstuck in my head. FTW.

Here for your enjoyment, are both songs.

Computer Love by Kraftwerk. 1981.

Talk, by Coldplay. 2005. This is the official video and I love the retro science fiction theme.

Please enjoy.