Thursday, September 30, 2004

Is the rest of America seeing what I am?

The Republicans, starting with W, of course, are trying to spin things their usual way--just keep saying John Kerry flip-flops and can't be trusted, rather than truly addressing the issues.

John Kerry showed that he is smart and strong. W tried to make it sound like he vacillated on the war in Iraq. Kerry said clearly what the real point is--W decided to piss off our allies and go it alone (except he didn't go at all, our troops did).

Whether the war in Iraq was right or wrong, there is no excuse for refusing to build a coalition. There's no excuse for not working with the UN. Our allies didn't tell us to take a hike. They told us that they wanted to give a last chance for the inspectors to do their jobs before committing to action that was certain to get thousands of people, ours and theirs, killed.

Whatever the national view of tonight's debate, I think Bush has to worry. This should have been the high point for the President, since he now has to look forward to domestic issues in the upcoming debates--not a good subject for this President.

This President needs to be replaced. I just hope enough of my fellow Americans agree!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ooh, baby!

I was driving back from a meeting a little while ago, not paying too much attention to the radio, when I heard some mention of something/someone possibly "going to blow." They also said something about the possibility of an eruption. Of course, I was intrigued.

So what was this about? Perhaps a secret video of Jude Law and Dean Cain going at it? Sadly, no.

Rather, it seems that good old Mount St. Helens may be getting ready to go off again. As interesting as this is (and I admit I'll be glued to the TV if an eruption does occur), I was really hoping for a Jude-Dean connection.

Now, for our serious moment, I have to note that just yesterday I saw a news report, stating that the "experts" considered the possibility of an eruption remote. Now they've raised their status level for the volcano to "Level 3" (apparently, the second highest level--the Code Orange of volcanoes). So it seems that volcanologists and meteorologists have about the same level of accuracy (and/or guesswork!).

I wonder what these guys get paid. If it's good money, I think I'll go apply my best thoughtful look to some seismograph printouts and then declare my opinion of whether St. Helens will blow (or, for that matter, whether Jude and Dean will hop into the sack). :)

Oh, one last thing. On an unrelated note (except that I think he should be made to sit on top of St. Helens if it's going to erupt), this man is a prime example of why we need a new President. Otherwise, more like him will be federal judges for years to come! Just imagine it, a Supreme Court packed with the likes of Scalia.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Perspective is everything (even for hurricanes, it seems)

When I was a kid, we had a few hurricanes make it all the way up here to Long Island without falling apart. I was so excited when that happened. A hurricane! Wow!

I've always found the power of nature fascinating. Whether it was hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes or any of the other manifestations of nature's power, each of which amply demonstrates human insignificance, I found it all amazing.

So the opportunity to experience the howling winds and pummeling rain of a hurricane was a treat. Storm surge right here at our beaches? Wow!

Of course, I grew up in a house where learning was strongly encouraged, and science was an important field. We were... you know... Jews. ;)

During one of the hurricanes, the eye went right over us. My Dad took me in the back yard as the eye passed over. We discussed the mechanics of the hurricane and how this oasis of calm existed in the middle of such a violent storm.

As a kid, there was no downside to hurricanes.

Now, as an adult, I approach hurricanes from a different perspective. I recognize the fragility of human life. I also recognize the fragility of the roof on my house and possess a healthy respect for the 3% "windstorm deductible" the fucking insurance company has on homeowner's coverage these days.

I still like hurricanes, just from a distance. Also, my emotions are mixed, depending upon where they go. For example, given Virginia's latest hate-inspired anti-gay legislation, I'd have a hard time shedding a tear if a Category 5 storm made a beeline for the Virginia statehouse. ;)

Ah, yes, life changes things. It's all about your perspective.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

A little family get-together

Today, my brother, Charlie, threw a party at his house. In the space of three days, my sister-in-law, her grandmother and my other brother, Al, had birthdays (my brother Al's was today).

So Charlie had a barbecue and invited me (and Marc, of course), our brother, as well as my sister-in-law's family and some friends of theirs.

In addition to my brother Charlie, his wife and son, our hosts included the lovely Rudy...

(In case anyone cares, Rudy is a female dog, despite the (usually) male name. Yet another long story.)

Rudy was a fine host, although she occasionally needed to take a break to run around the yard and bark when she spotted a squirrel running along the telephone line behind the house.

It was a lovely fall day, and I had a nice time, relaxing with my family. We're a smaller family after the sad events of earlier this year, but life is going on. The kids are growing, and we're enjoying these good days as much as we can.

I guess that's what the focus needs to be--the good things. Life can be hard, but it has its sweet moments as well. Those sweet moments need to be cherished, for they are really some of the best things in life.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

That glow is what?

We were up very early today. When I went outside, I saw this unusual orange glow off to the east, near the horizon. It was pretty, but it still raised some questions. So I asked Marc about it. He said it was the sun "rising". Hmmm. I just thought the sun came on sometime before I got up every day. I guess not.

No, I'm not a morning person. :)

So, did I do anything special for Yom Kippur? Yes, I took pictures of some of God's creatures as they played in my yard...

The girls play rough (ruff?), but they never hurt each other. This is one of the nice things about living in the suburbs--room for the kids to run in the yard. In this picture, they're actually running pretty fast, as Bernice messes with Mandy.

This is Bernice, as she surveys her yard. I don't think she's had her own picture on the blog yet, so here she is! Bernice is our eldest or, as we often call her, the "Senior Dog". Even so, the others rarely respect her rank and seniority. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Dances with Wolves Dogs

I was just wondering if I'm the only one who, from time to time, dances with his dogs. It usually starts with one of them standing up on me, paws on my chest. Then I will grab those paws and sing a little song and begin dancing.

I've noticed that dogs have interesting dancing traditions. For example, Bernice, our Doberman-Shepherd mix, likes to bite my hands while we dance. Mandy, on the other hand, will sometimes growl--no doubt, in an effort to harmonize with my off-key singing. :)

I also have adapted certain songs for canine use and re-worded them to fit one or another of the kids. Examples include:

Bernice (who has "Bernel Dog" as one of her nicknames--a longish story)

Love is a Bernel Dog
(to the tune of Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield)


She's a Retriever
(to the tune of The Monkees' I'm a Believer)

"...then I saw her face,
now she's a retriever,
without a trace
of doubt in my mind..."

Dodger (our newest dog--although he's been here three years)

New Dog Dance
(to the tune of The Pointer Sisters' Neutron Dance)

Let me tell you, when I grab his paws and start dancing him around the living room, singing, "I'm just burning, doing the new dog dance," I can just feel the love oozing out of him. He gets a warm, loving look on his face that says he's trying to decide which is worse, this humiliating dancing and terrible singing or being back on the streets in Brooklyn starved half to death. :)

Our poor pups. They put up with such silliness. I just wonder if other dog owners tend to be as insane as me!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A slow boil

Something that I've known for a long time, something of which I was reminded yesterday, is, for some reason, really irritating me now.

Yesterday, I donated blood. I've done this on many occasions. Each time, they ask many questions. One of the questions for which an affirmative answer will cause the blood collectors to deem a man's blood unfit for transfusion is, since 1977, have you had sex with another man, even once?

In other words, all of us fags are likely to be diseased and dangerous. Sorry, but that's an unbelievable load of bullshit.

I know...not think, KNOW...that my blood is free of HIV. I was tested back when I was at the same risk that any dating man, straight or gay, has to worry about. I was tested after entering the monogamous relationship that I've been in for years.

There is far more chance of the average unmarried (perhaps even married, too) straight man transmitting a dread disease through a blood donation than there is of me transmitting one... as I'm sure many gay men could say, too, despite what others seem to think.

Even so, I am branded, as is every other gay man. We're dangerous and diseased. I won't let this narrow view keep me from helping, but it still pisses me off.

Oh, and how do I answer that question? Take a guess!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

So I was sitting there eating my curds and whey...

I know what you're saying. "Whey? No whey!"

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Now, without further ado, let me introduce Sammy...

Sammy lives in our back yard. He's somewhat shy but still manages to be friendly. As you can see, he smiled for this picture.

Really, he's quite nice. :)

One last note: my thanks to the lovely proprietor of Only in the South End for showing me how to post a picture in a small format and have it so people can click on it to show the larger version. I know that's probably simple stuff to most of you, but I didn't know how to do it. So, thanks!!!

This shouldn't be so difficult

As we reach the final stages of cleaning out the old family home (which Marc and I are going to extensively renovate before moving in), we find ourselves left with a lot of furniture for which we have no need. So we've been trying to give it away to charity.

I started with Goodwill Industries. They help people trying to get a fresh start in life, so it seemed like a noble use for all of this stuff. The problem is that they don't pick up furniture. If I'd like to rent a truck and bring it to them, they'd be happy to pick through it and take whatever they deem suitable.

Excuse me? They've got to be kidding. I really want to see these things go to good use, but why must they make it so difficult?

Others have online lists of what they'll take. One of them rejects all beds and mattresses. I understand their concern. I work in a hospital, and I know bad things can lurk in fabrics. We have a special case, however.

So I called this particular charity--one that specializes in placing homeless people in new living quarters--and explained that my Mom had purchased a new mattress and box spring right before she died. The thing still has the tags on it! It's brand new.

Nope. They wouldn't budge. If I'd like to buy them new mattresses, etc., right from a manufacturer, they'd take that. This set, however, they refuse to take.

Have all of these charities become so bureaucratic and short-sighted that they are rejecting gifts that could be helping the people they purport to serve? It would seem so.

There are all too many places in this world where people are lucky if they have any shelter at all. Some of those places are right here in the United States. People are living under highway overpasses or trying to survive on the street, and I can't get anyone to take several pieces of good, solid, useable furniture. Where have we gone wrong? This is truly depressing.

I don't want to put these things at the curb for the town to pick up. Granted, many pieces will be taken by people looking for free stuff (actually, town pickups usually are small, because the large amount that goes to the curb gets picked over before they get there... and we live in a nice area!*), but some of it will wind up in the town dump. That's just a waste, and I hate to see it happen.


*If we lived in/near a more run-down area, I'd be happier about people picking over the stuff at the curb. However, these people aren't people in need. No, they're just looking for free stuff. How noble of them. If they gave more and horded less, maybe life would be better for everyone!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Doggie contempt

See this? This is a look of either 1) contempt, and/or 2) one of grudging tolerance.

It's amazing how these things develop. I should note that Mandy, the star of today's entry, is lying on my couch!!! This is the same Mandy whose entire life (except for a brief post-whelping stay at North Shore Animal League) has been spent under my roof, eating food provided by me (and/or Marc), enjoying toys provided by us.

Even so, I point a camera at her, and her eyes say, "fucking paparazzi... can I have no peace?"

Such a hard life. I wish we could trade places! :)


(The above URL is there deliberately. I'm trying something new. Since I'm not savvy enough with HTML to post a picture that you can click on and get a bigger version, I'm putting the blog-size one up with a link to a big version... not that there's really a need for a big version in this case. I'm just giving it a try. If anyone wants to give me some HTML training, I'm willing to learn!)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Chocolate, Thai food & blue drinks

Yesterday, we decided to focus our efforts on saying Happy Birthday to Charlie in an appropriate manner. Since he was going to be working last night, that limited our options.

We began our time in Manhattan by visiting the Rockefeller Center location of La Maison du Chocolat. After acquiring an appropriate gift, we walked a bit, wandering into a street fair we didn't even know was going on. Now, we had heard that the Feast of San Gennaro was going on, but that was down in Little Italy. I have no idea what this was about, but it's always fun to be able to walk in the middle of closed streets in Manhattan. That alone, walking in the street with no risk of being run over, is exciting for a New Yorker!

After a little time there, we headed for the subway (yes, I put in a link for the subway; I'm link-happy today... so sue me! :) ), so we could get down to Greenwich Village for dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Lemongrass Grill. We had unsuccessfully tried to eat there a few weeks ago, so it was especially pleasing to pay a visit this time. After some great appetizers and big plates of Pad Thai, we tore into a small box of chocolates we bought for ourselves at La Maison du Chocolat (the big box was for Charlie, and that remained safely in the bag). :)

After thoroughly gorging ourselves on Thai food and chocolate, we noted that we still had a fair amount of time until Charlie started his shift at Townhouse. So we decided that we'd go for a leisurely stroll to the subway over at Astor Place. Now, a slow stroll for me means something different when compared to a slow stroll for Marc and Jeff (they're both several inches taller than me). Even so, it was a nice walk.

On the way, we stopped at a new clothing store (it was so new that they were still doing construction in there) so Marc and Jeff could buy sweaters to cope with the sudden plunge in temperature. For my part, I was happy in my short sleeves. I love cool, fall weather (even if it's a few days early)!

Eventually, after a walk of about, oh, I'd say, 863 miles (I may be slightly off in my estimate), we reached the subway station. We hopped on a train crammed with repulsively straight jock-acting Yankees fans. Apparently, there had been a game, and these people were on their way home.

Jocks can be fun to look at, but the appeal usually disappears when they speak. This was the case last night. Actually, there wasn't much to look at in this group, but it wouldn't have mattered. The moronic blather we had to endure would have been like verbal salt peter, even if they all were gorgeous.

Speaking of gorgeous, a short post-subway walk found us at Townhouse, where we were well cared for by Charlie's colleagues. One of these men, Juan-Carlos, was celebrating his birthday, as well. It may have been a special day for him, but just looking at him made it a special day for us.

We'd actually met Juan-Carlos on prior visits, but this evening had us sitting at his bar for some time, getting a very nice opportunity to admire his stunning good looks and beautiful smile. Being attached is a good thing for me, as it keeps me from making a fool of myself. Were I single, there's little doubt I'd be trying to get to know Juan-Carlos better, and, at least at this point in my life, I think the boy is out of my league. So there's another benefit of married life! :)

I started with a Malibu rum & Coke. Then I asked Greg, another of the bartenders (and not hard to look at either!), for a drink suggestion. His idea for me was a Long Island Iced Tea. After he poured the four main liquors into it, he asked if I'd like it to be blue for something different. I said that would be okay, so he finished it off with Blue Curacao.

This made for a fine drink, but we had a problem. We had timed our arrival to coincide with when we expected Charlie to start his shift, 9pm. The problem came when we didn't see Charlie and asked Greg where he was. "He doesn't start until ten." Ah, so that explained it. Even so, we planned to have a few drinks with Charlie. If we had to drink until he got there and then drink more, that could get to be unpretty! We hadn't planned to get trashed... so we carefully nursed those second drinks.

Meanwhile, to steal/paraphrase a line from M*A*S*H, Charlie, having taken a tramp in the woods, was lying in a ditch at the edge of town. Well, not quite, but he had grabbed a car service to get to work, only to find that the driver didn't know how to find East 58th Street!!!

This is one of the perils of life in New York. It seems that there's some sort of program run by the US Immigration Department that issues visas to people in foreign countries, together in a package with a New York driver's license and a job with a taxi or limo company. They land at JFK Airport and hop into a car for their first shift!

So Charlie fell victim to someone who was to drive him to work while he, the driver, was getting to see Manhattan for the first time in his life (or so it seemed)!!! This caused Charlie to arrive, somewhat frazzled (but still lovely, of course), around 10:30.

We exchanged kisses with Charlie--a moment that will occupy my fantasies for weeks (hey, Charlie, am I making you blush? or at least roll your eyes?)--and gave him his gift. As I explained to him, we'd have opted for a sexual gift, but we were afraid it would create too much of a scene in the bar. ;)

Even after his arrival in the bar, Charlie couldn't get any peace. At first, he was running his ass off at the back bar (it was very busy). Then they decided that they needed him at the front bar. Of course, we followed him. He kindly provided us with more to drink, as his treat. We stayed for a while and enjoyed a lovely time chatting with him between his serving other customers.

I couldn't possibly put Charlie's charm into words. If you haven't met him, you'll just have to use your imagination. What we really need to do next time is get together with him when he's not working, so he can relax and have some fun!

All in all, it was a nice evening. The main message was successfully delivered: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARLIE!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Fun at the expense of a dear friend

Now, what can be more wholesome than teasing someone you love? So, with the help of the Internet, I stumbled upon some fun information and will now use it, at the expense of someone of whom I am very fond.

Someone many of us know and love has school information online. This appears to be a description posted by friends of his when he was in high school.

So what does this newly found information say? I'll show you:

"Spike", despite being an "A" student seems to be on a roll of stale jokes, dating back to birth. Where he dosen't joke however is the Computer Room, the Art Room, the classroom, and of course at the hairdresser.

Spike? Oh, this is good! I can guess where the nickname came from, but my guess takes away from how butch it sounds. :)

No, I won't say who it is. Of course, if he wants to out himself, he can do so.

One other way to find out--just hang out with us when the blogger boys go for drinks. There's little chance that I will be able to resist using the nickname for him, especially after I have had a few drinks. ;)

I'm ready for retirement!

I really don't understand people who don't have enough to do when they retire. I see them. I've met them. I just don't get it.

Sure, some people have health issues that keep them from being active, but I don't mean them. I mean people who are perfectly healthy but will tell you that they lack for things to do.

There are so many ways to fill the days! On days off, even without planning anything, I have plenty to do. The nice part is that I can do it at my own pace.

With just the littlest bit of thought, I can find fun, interesting ways to fill my time. Between my hobbies and all of the places to go (which, I'll grant, is easier in New York than in many other areas), I'd never lack for things to do.

Now if I could just work out the money thing. Lacking personal wealth, I have to do that nasty thing--going to work.

Speaking of that, what's the deal with Lotto? I've played it lots of times, but they have yet to give me millions of dollars. I play $1 for each regular Lotto game (here in NY, as in many other places, they also have megamillions, daily lottery games, etc., but I just play the one game). Still, no millions. What a ripoff! ;)

I actually agree with Marc (that it's a "tax on people who can't do the math"), but I have to play. It's my Dad's fault. He never played and never would...but it's still his fault (I guess I can explain that in another post). :)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

A modest legislative proposal

Earlier today, Patrick sent an e-mail, proposing that the usual suspects go out for drinks.

Of course, this is Rosh Hashanah. Now, I'm not the most observant Jew--obviously, if I'm posting to my blog today--but I can't really go out drinking on such a holy day. So I propose the following new program/legislation:

No Jew Left Behind

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, join me in proclaiming that we will stand together to defend the rights of Jews everywhere to go out and get drunk with their friends. The days of haphazard binge scheduling must come to an end! The cruel days when we leave gay Jews home, sobbing over their lack of liquor, must be a thing of the past! Say it, people! Say it loud! We will leave no Jew behind (or "no Jew's behind" for Jewish bottom boys...but that's probably a different program)!


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

L'Shana Tova!

As we begin Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest times in the Jewish calendar, we enter a new year. Considering what my family and I have endured in the year just ending, I hope and pray that the year to come will be better for us. It can hardly be worse.

For my friends and loved ones--in fact, for anyone who reads this--I pray for a healthy, happy year; a year filled with many good things and as little heartache as possible. Most of all, I pray for peace.

At this time of year, we of the Jewish faith pray that those we care about be inscribed in the book of life for a good year. Therefore, I will close with...

May you and yours be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

So many men...

This evening, I had a meeting in Manhattan. This meeting was held at the BMW Building on West 57th. Would you believe they don't give you a BMW to take with you just for visiting? What's the deal with that?

Anyhow, trips into Manhattan have a lovely side benefit--all of the gorgeous men to look at! I don't know what the deal is, and it's not like there aren't hotties out here (and in just about every other place), but the number of hotties per square mile (or even square block) in Manhattan is beyond belief.

I tell ya, when I'm elected king, I'll never have a free moment. It'll all be taken up with the men from Manhattan I'll have my servants round up and bring to me for days and nights of passion! ;) Yes, I'll share with Marc. After all, he'll be my queen! Actually, he's already... oh, never mind. I'm already in enough trouble when he reads this (I love you, sweetie!). *snicker*

Monday, September 13, 2004

Woe is I

Setting: This evening at our house.

Me: "Let's make love."

Marc: "I have a headache."


Me: "This is what we've come to? After all these years, all you can offer is, 'Not tonight, dear, I have a headache'?"

Marc: "No. I really have a headache! And I didn't say, 'not tonight', just not now."

Well, I guess, "not now" isn't so bad, but I really was worried for a minute there! A headache... if he's starts being that un-original, I'm in big trouble! :)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

We had a gay old time

Today, we had a full day planned. We were going to see Broadway on Broadway, then to a movie and then out for drinks. So Marc and I got up at what I consider an unspeakably early hour for a Sunday and headed into Manhattan where we met up with our friend Jeff.

Things started in Times Square, where the stage was set for Broadway on Broadway and thousands of people crowded into the closed streets. Before the show ever started, I saw one thing that I found interesting: two British bobbies in full uniform, mingling with New York police officers. Apparently, they were in New York on some kind of exchange program. I'd read about these things, but I never saw British officers in uniform on New York streets.

Of course, there's a clear opportunity for learning and an exchange of knowledge in this arrangement. I'm looking forward to the day when I hear New York City Police Officers using phrases like "quite right, old chap." On the other hand, things in Britain might require some adjustment after the first formal ceremony for the Queen when their Officers are heard to respond to questions with "Fuckin' A!"

Well, they can use something new, being so stuffy at times. :)

Now, about Broadway on Broadway. It's a sampling of tunes from various Broadway shows, some new and some long-established, performed by each show's cast members. It drew a nice crowd; not huge by New York standards, but pretty big for any regular town (about 50,000 people). Here's a cellphone picture from our vantage point:

The selections in this year's event were the following:

"My Darlin' Eileen" from Wonderful Town
"For Good" from Wicked
"I Wanna Be a Producer" from The Producers
"All I Ask of You" from The Phantom of the Opera
"Shadowlands" from The Lion King
"What You Own" from Rent
"SOS" from Mamma Mia!
"Astonishing" from Little Women
"Run and Tell That" from Hairspray
"Life After Life" from Dracula, the Musical
"All I Care About" from Chicago
"Once Upon a Time" from Brooklyn, the Musical
"Shakalaka Baby" from Bombay Dreams
"A Change in Me" from Beauty and the Beast
"It Sucks to Be Me" from Avenue Q
...and a dance was performed from Forever Tango

Some numbers were certainly better than others, but I'll save my opinions for another time, except for one. I think we'll be seeing Brooklyn, the Musical when it opens. We definitely were impressed by that performance.

After the B on B festivities ended, we grabbed a cab and headed to the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas to see the new movie Testosterone. It received some pretty bad reviews, but we thought it was okay. Not amazing, but okay. Of course, the lovely boys in it made it much more palatable than other "okay" movies. Add to that a nice, if brief, shot of the penis of Antonio Sabato, Jr., and the movie became a real winner. ;) Speaking of that, the boy's good looks are matched by a lovely piece of meat, from what I could see in that quick shot. As for the movie itself, as I said, not bad, although the events in the movie were described by one of my movie-going companions as "too fucked up for words."

After the movie, we headed to the West Village...

There, we went to an old favorite bar, The Monster...

It's a nice bar, but the crowd seems to have gotten older since our last visit. I have nothing against an older crowd, but it was old enough for me to feel out of place. While there, Jeff's new friend/boyfriend (Jeff's still trying to decide where it's going), Steve, joined us, so we had the pleasure of meeting him. After a little while and a single drink, Marc and I said goodbye and headed home, so Marc could make dinner and I could vacuum and do some laundry. We took the subway back up to Penn Station...

...and then the Long Island Rail Road back home.

Oh, one last note: to our various friends whom we invited to join us for Broadway on Broadway but still declined, don't worry. We won't report you and put your FAG Cards* at risk, despite the shocking manner in which you failed to flock to Broadway on Broadway. ;)



FAG Card
A flat, rectangular, laminated document, issued to members in good standing of the Federation of American Gayboys, the national licensing body for male homosexuals. Failure to adhere to the standards and by-laws of FAG can result in suspension or revocation of homosexual licensure. (Examples of violations include demonstrated dislike of show tunes, failure to respect Broadway show-related events, inability to coordinate clothing colors, etc.)


Post-script (10:54pm): MAK tells me he never got my text-messaged invitation to join us, so that explains his otherwise shocking disregard of FAG standards. ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Ain't married life grand?

(Foreword: I know what day it is. I was working at a hospital in NYC when IT happened, but life goes on. So many others are blogging about the date, and there's nothing new for me to add. So I remember our losses, and then I will let life go on. Now, on with this blog entry...)

First, in case any Republican-Conservative types stumbled on my blog, let me translate the title of this entry, so they'll understand it:

Ain't "Over nine years together, more committed than most married straight couples and loving each other more than life itself but can't be married because we're gay" life grand?

Now to really offend the R-Cs. :)

So today is a slow-to-start kind of Saturday. We have things to do, but we also puttered around the house. Okay, I puttered and Marc mowed the lawn. Anyhow, after he showered, we wound up making out. That led to something known by a number (hint: it's a number close to 70). This then led to a "see who can hold out longer" contest--not that we actually said that to each other. It's just one of those unspoken things...and such a fun thing, too!

Yes, "can't be married" life is grand. Hey, W, we're still out here, living our lives and paying our taxes (and doing things that you don't want to think about but can't help yourself). :P

Kiss my ass, and the rest of your bigoted friends.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Woo hoo!

First, let me say that my good luck with cute medical people continues. Until getting an update from my doctor (and, therefore, lacking medical news), I was considering titling this entry "A Vu to a Thrill".

Why? Well, today, Dr. Vu, a young Asian resident (as in doctor-resident who is Asian, not someone living in Asia), stuck his needle in me. Well, it hurt, as such things can, but his cute face and lovely smile made it all worth it.

Okay, enough of my silliness, let me get to the really important stuff!

Today's visit was for yet another thallium heart scan. Now, I had already had an echocardiogram, a stress test and a thallium heart scan.

I was told that the prior tests showed too little blood flow to part of my heart. Not one of the key parts (in other words, I wasn't in need of immediate surgery or anything like that), but it still wasn't a good thing and might need something done. One possibility was that this was a first indication of coronary artery disease. Another possibility was that I had once had a "silent" heart attack.

Now, my doctor told me not to jump to any conclusions, because we still had to do another test. Also, he reminded me that, aside from being overweight, I had absolutely no risk factors for heart disease. My cholesterol levels have always been excellent, my family history doesn't fit with it, my pressure is good, I don't smoke, etc.

Even so, when they say the test could be wrong (in this case, that what they found could be an "artifact"--in other words, a false reading), I know enough not to bet the ranch on it. I'd rather face the hard facts, if that's what's needed.

So what did today's test show? The problem on the prior test WAS AN ARTIFACT!!! :) The area of my heart where they thought I wasn't getting enough blood, an area that they thought might not be working right, is, in fact, getting all of the blood it needs and is pumping just fine.

They have ruled out my having ever had a heart attack of any type. Also, while they may want to play it safe and do an angiogram (and I understand this, as we want to be as safe as possible and make sure I'm 100% healthy), they're now unsure of whether it's even worth the effort.

I can't begin to say how relieved I am. My heart is healthy and pumping away--in fact, I have reason to believe it's pumping as I type this very entry (such a good heart it is)! :)


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Stress test of the Lambs

Sometimes a little thing will only bother me a little at first but will build inside me as I think about it.

During yesterday's stress test procedure, they had to shave little spots on my chest to place electrodes. Okay. I mean, it still itches, but okay, if that's what they need to do. That's not what bothered me.

What bothered me is that the person heading up the procedure turned to Evan, the cute med student who was there to learn, and said, "sometimes you need shave their chests if they're hairy."

I know, I know. So what? Well, excuse me, but if you're working on me at the time, you could at least say, "if the patient..." or state it in some less impersonal way. "We're shaving spots on Jess' chest, so the electrodes stick." For that matter, I'd be tickled if they used my last name, but that level of manners has all but disappeared. So...

"They"? Am I an object now? Trust me, it was cold. Not nice bedside manner. It reminded me of one thing in particular--a scene from The Silence of the Lambs...

"It rubs the lotion on its body..."

Lovely. Just lovely.

Oh, one last thing. "Evan the med student", if you happen to read this (which is about a one in a bazillion chance, I know), be sure to say hi. I'm sure Marc would like to meet you as well. We could say thanks in some appropriate way for you being so nice to me yesterday! ;)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Such fun!

Life can be so interesting (and frightening). A few weeks ago, I wasn't feeling well.

As a precaution, my doctor decided to do an echocardiogram. While it appeared that there was nothing cardiac involved with my feeling sick, he wanted to play it safe.

Well, my sick feelings had nothing to do with my heart. That was the good news.

The bad news (or maybe it's good news, since it has been found) is that there may be something else wrong.

Now, my obesity aside, I have no risk factors for heart disease. My cholesterol is low, the balance is good, my "cardiac enzymes" are negative, my blood pressure is good, etc. Yes, kids, you can be 38 years old and fat and still be in good health. Granted, being fat is certainly a risk, but I'm working on losing weight anyhow.

My doctor and the cardiologists who are now picking over me can't put their fingers on why anything should be wrong. Still, there it is--something doesn't look right in all of these tests.

The echocardiogram showed something troubling, so today I went for a stress test, as well as something where they inject radioactive dye into my blood and then use a giant machine that looks kinda CAT-scanish (but moves around a lot) to see how my blood is moving.

So they seem to be confirming what they saw with the echo. It seems that the "apex" of my heart (somewhere near the bottom, actually, which is interesting considering the word apex) isn't showing good blood flow.

The good news is that the main chambers of my heart are pumping just fine. So they don't think I'm in imminent danger ("Just one last stand, General Custer. Then you can go home.").

What's scary is that they have no real handle on why this is happening. It doesn't fit with being obesity-related, because it's just this one area (and besides, the cholesterol and such are low, as I mentioned, so there shouldn't be buildup), it doesn't fit with much of anything else they've found. Actually, there's nothing else they've found.

It could be a congenital defect that has been hiding there all my life. Since all other tests show my heart functioning well (and always have), there's no way to know. One concern would be that some other coronary artery disease could be lurking, so there are more tests in my future.

The funny thing is that my little episode of a few weeks ago has turned out to be a good thing. Whatever the outcome, it's best to know of these things and deal with them if they need treatment. So, even though this actually has nothing to do with my illness of a few weeks back, it was that very episode that sent me down this road. I guess, considering that it did, it's just as well that it all happened.

So why I am I so worried?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Megaphones and machineguns

We got lots of things done today, but aggravation was literally around every corner. It seems that there is a large portion of the population that doesn't get behind the wheel, except for holidays and weekends. When they do, look out!

Today, being a holiday with nice weather, got them all out. So we had the joys of people making right turns from the left lane, people looking for an address--not by using a map or asking directions but, rather, by driving 15mph in a 40 zone--and every other brilliant driver who isn't out during a normal day.

So I've decided that I need some extra options in my next car. For one thing, I need some kind of public address system, so I can freely express opinions like, "hey, dumbass, get out of the way! If you don't know where you're going, get off the road and figure it out, instead of wasting everyone else's time!"

Selfish pricks.

See? I'm a lifelong New Yorker, and I'm very laid back about driving! :)

Now, for some people, like those who cut me off so they can do brilliant things like suddenly deciding to cut over to an exit or make a right turn when they're in the left lane, I need something a little more impactful. (Oh, and let's not forget people who run red lights/stop signs, which seems to be accepted freely these days, those who weave in and out of traffic at high speeds... well, the list goes on and on.)

For those who really push my buttons, I will need the "machineguns option package" in my next vehicle. Seriously, I used to say that I wanted fifty-caliber machineguns in my car, but I suppose that's a bit much.

Thirty-caliber should be fine! Maybe forward-mounted twin thirties, and I'll need some sort of eye-controlled targeting to pick off the weaving ones with precision.

I really think this is a small thing to ask, especially since the DMV keeps ignoring my lists--is it so much to ask them to revoke the licenses and registrations of people whose plate numbers I take the time to mail in? I don't think so!

So I need to take action!

One last idea: if Scotty ever gets the transporter working again, cute boys who drive like idiots will be spared the machineguns. Instead, they will beamed directly to a holding pen where they can wait for an opportunity to earn their freedom. ;)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A day of sadness, fun, sadness

Yet another day of hard choices at Mom's house (what to save, what to let go, etc.) took a turn for the better when we got home and fired up the barbecue. With a hearty serving of health food (burgers & franks) hot off the grill, my mood picked right up. With Marc's sauteed squash and his cucumber salad, it was a lovely meal.

Then, lacking anything else to watch on TV, we put on the Jerry Lewis telethon. To be perfectly honest, we first switched it on to see if Jerry looked any better than last year.

So we've now had it on for about three quarters of an hour, and what have we just watched? A tribute to Mattie Stepanek, the 13-year-old boy who was famous for writing poetry. It's very noble that they are taking time for "Remembering Mattie Stepanek".

One could see this as a cheap attempt to raise more money, but, unlike so many other efforts to rake in cash, this one seems on target. The poor boy died of muscular dystrophy, so it's appropriate that he is remembered this way.

Even so, I guess I can kiss my lightheartedness goodbye for the evening. sigh

Oh well. Maybe I can go look at the pictures of Koji Murofushi on Wayne's blog for a little pick-me-up. Okay, so this will be about the tenth time looking at them today. What can I say? Wayne has good taste.

Yet another lovely evening

After a relatively uneventful day, Marc, Jeff (visiting this weekend and again generously helping with cleaning out my Mom's house) and I were joined by Matt and John. By the way, that link is to Matt's new blog.

I have to give Matt credit. After years in the tech workforce, he has gone back to school to pursue a career that he will find more rewarding and fulfilling. He's becoming an RN. It's really great, and he has started a whole new blog as he starts this new phase of his life (his old blog was The Ideal Rhombus).

So Matt and John took the train to Mineola where we picked them up. Then we stopped at DSW Shoe Warehouse in Carle Place, so Matt could get some shoes for his nursing training (he needed white rubber-soled shoes). I wasn't planning on getting anything, but they had a nice pair of sneakers in my size, so I walked away with something after all.

After that, we headed to Huntington and had dinner at a favorite restaurant, 34 New Street. It's a great place. The food is excellent, and the prices are very reasonable.

More important than the fine food was the excellent company. We had a wonderful time. So far, it really has been an excellent break from work. Of course, they've been calling from work with questions and problems, but not enough to ruin my fun.

I already know Tuesday will bring some serious stress for me, so I'm doing my best to revel in this fun and relaxation.

Who keeps ringing that (Falun) Gong?

No one told me that the Falun Gong had invaded Manhattan, but it seems to have happened. Just when we've gotten rid of the infestation of Republican delegates, I can't go anywhere without tripping over a Falun Gong representative.

For anyone who's never heard of the Falun Gong, I got this description from a website set up on behalf of the movement: "Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that includes exercise and meditation." The website says it has no religious affiliation, but I had thought it was in some way a Christian sect. Also, one of their representatives told me all about local "churches", so there's some piece of the puzzle missing here.

So what's going on in NYC these days? Thursday night, in the midst of my near-drunkenness, Marc and I were riding the subway to the Village. A young woman--a frighteningly stereotypical Chinese immigrant--was handing out information. She appeared almost desperate for someone to listen to her pitch.

Now, here's the thing: I'm a happy drunk. I wasn't quite drunk, but I was sufficiently toasted to be in quite a friendly mood. So I decided to act interested. Well, she sat down, told me some about the Falun Gong and showed me where I could attend church with them. (I didn't bother telling her that I was incurably Jewish. Why ruin her fun?)

I could see Marc, who was sitting to my right as Ms. FG was on my left, looking at me like I was insane to even be speaking to this person.

When we reached our stop, I took my Falun Dafa Reader and went on to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Fast forward one day. We're walking through Union Square, on our way to dinner. This time, there was no way to avoid the FG pitch. There was a huge Falun Gong display (for lack of a better word) set up in the square, and there were lots of Falun Gong people handing out information.

For a persecuted group from China, they look like they're flourishing around here! Good for them, I suppose. From what tiny little bit I know about them, they seem like a decent enough group. That said, just leave me alone. If I want to convert to your religion, practice, group, etc., I'll give you a call. Unless, of course, I'm drunk. Then you may feel free to tell me all about it. Just don't expect me to give a shit once I sober up! :)

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Two in a row!

Not too bad. Marc and I just finished our second day of recreational activities, including two nights in a row of going out for drinks in Manhattan.

I know... big deal! Well, it has been a while since we relaxed and got out this much. We even have something planned for tomorrow night (dinner with two old, dear friends), so we will continue the fun.

Today, we went to see a show--a matinee of Golda's Balcony. It was an interesting, entertaining show. Not the usual sappy Broadway fare that we've been exposed to on a regular basis over the past several years. Don't get me wrong. There are some excellent shows on Broadway, but some of the recent ones are, well... how shall I put this? Something polite and delicate is called for. Oh yes, I know just the word: crap!

Not only were many not worth the eighty to one hundred dollars (or more) each ticket cost, but quite a number weren't worth the price of a movie ticket (not to mention the time out of my life)! Even when we went on discounted tickets, many of the shows were disappointments.

On the other hand, Golda's Balcony was a fine show. It was thoughtful and interesting. Others could take a lesson from this show. It has a cast of one. Nothing moves or flies about on stage (Phantom and its silly chandelier ccertainly could take a lesson), but it is compelling and the whole show goes by very quickly.

Maybe this could start a new trend for shows. Instead of having lots of effects or costume changes, they could follow this show's lead and have an actual STORY! (Yes, I know, I'm a dreamer.)

So, after the show, we headed downtown to Chinatown. Were we in search of something Chinese worth eating? No, actually, we were continuing our efforts at planning the perfect remodeling project by visiting a number of lighting stores. Among them were Lighting by Gregory and New Generation Lighting.

We looked at all different styles of lighting (pendants, track systems, sconces and so on) before running out of time. We were limited, as we had a dinner engagement.

We were meeting my ex-boss. Today was her last day. She's moving on to a new chapter in her life, after many years in the healthcare HR business. She has lots of exciting things planned, and we wanted to take her out to celebrate. So we met up at the excellent Union Square Cafe.

After a wonderful time and an excellent meal (and a standing invitation from my friend and ex-boss to visit her and her husband in Puerto Rico, where they have a home and are opening a business), we said our goodbyes and went for another subway ride.

This time, our destination was the Townhouse Bar. We met our friend Jeff for drinks and had a lovely time with him and our friend/bartender Charlie. Charlie doesn't know it, but I am planning to have a second husband (it's a sort of a gay Mormon thing--if that could happen; of course, I'm not a Mormon, so what do I know?). Actually, this would be a surprise to Marc (my partner of 9+ years), as well.

Okay, if I can't have a second husband, then I need to ask a question: Charlie, would you have my baby? Or, if you prefer, I could have yours! ;)

(Oh boy, am I ever going to be in trouble after that!) :)

Hey, the man is gorgeous and charming as can be. So I can't be faulted! :) Just watching him work, moving, as has been noted by others, like a jungle cat behind the bar is a lot to resist! Like I said, it's not my fault. He's a gay siren, drawing me in with his song. :)

Needless to say, it was a full, satisfying day!

Friday, September 03, 2004

I’m not so think as you drunk I am!

Last night, Marc and I joined several friends at Barrage for some “quick drinks.” Aside from seeing folks we already knew and loved, we got to meet some people we'd only met or heard about online (I'd list them here, but I'm afraid of forgetting someone!). All of the folks, new and old, were lovely to spend time with.

As for the drinks, I started with a couple of Malibu Rum & Cokes and then progressed to something they called the “Pearl Necklace”. Now, what gay boy could turn away a drink with a name like that? I forget the other ingredients, but I know it had a lot of vodka in it.

Thanks to a round generously bought by Bob, I even had an extra one of these lovely drinks after having decided I’d had enough. (Of course, Bob didn't know I was done, and it was very nice of him to buy another round for us. My mistake was drinking every drop of it!)

What’s eye-opening is how easily I can get nearly-drunk. As I’m sure I told a number of people last night at Barrage, I felt like a complete lightweight. Thinking back to my college days (a period that, sadly, is getting to be so many years ago that I should stop comparing myself to me in those days), the amount I drank last night would have just given me a bit of a buzz.

Instead, both Marc and I were really feeling the EtOH last night. I suppose that's good in a way. If I wanted to get a buzz, at least I could do it more cost effectively now. :)

So Marc and I made an exit from Barrage around 10:15, having decided that we wanted to go get some Thai food at Lemongrass Grill in the Village. Unfortunately, they were closing up when we got there. So we made our way across the street to Bleecker Street Pizza and had a couple of slices.

Then we began our trek home. I must say, I have never, in all my years as a New Yorker, seen so many police officers in one place as I did in Penn Station last night. Fortunately, they had very little to do, as did we at that point, and we made it home in one piece.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band

As anyone who has talked to me about my parents knows, I had wonderful parents. I was very lucky to have such wonderful parents! Still, some lessons just didn't take. It's not a lack of good examples from them. I just think some things don't fit with my circumstances.

I grew up in nice, middle class surroundings. We never were spoiled, but we didn't want for any of life's necessities either. Also, my parents managed to put me and both of my brothers through college and graduate school. Now, I worked while I was in college (and for years before, actually), but I can't, by any stretch, claim to have put myself through. What I made and put toward my expenses was a pittance compared to what my parents spent.

The point is that they did okay. They worked their butts off--my Dad worked way too hard for most of his life. They were also careful with money. They were generous to me, my brothers and many others in their lives, but they didn't spend frivolously.

Hand in hand with this sensibility was my Dad's desire that nothing go to waste. I think this may have been common to Depression-era babies! Also, he took pleasure in little tasks on Sundays. He enjoyed chopping wood in the yard, cleaning the gutters, etc.

So, as we clean out my Mom's house (the task that seems to go on forever--but actually should be done soon, and then we can finish my grandmother's place), I have been finding little reminders of my Dad's projects.

One example is this...

Here's a close-up of his work...

So what's the deal? Well, the laundry baskets would break over time. These were basic plastic baskets. My Mom wouldn't spend a lot on something as basic as that.

When they broke, they could have been replaced easily enough. It's not that we couldn't afford new ones, but that wasn't the point. My Dad saw things like this as a challenge.

So, as you can see from these pictures, he'd take a broken basket downstairs, drill strategically placed holes and wire them back together. Every time the basket broke in another place, it was time for a repair.

I'd venture to say that the wire he put into the basket was worth more than the basket itself cost! More to the point, my Dad's time was sure worth a lot more than a new laundry basket. Of course, he wouldn't see it that way. He got satisfaction from these little projects, and there's where the disconnect happens. That's just not something I would do.

In my house, a broken laundry basket is a gift for the trash guys. I just don't get that same satisfaction from such projects. That probably is a mark against me, but I can live with myself! :)

This should be interesting

Thanks to some kind of Blogger server error something-or-other, this is my second time writing this entry. So you're getting the short version!

I try not to spend much time on politics here, because I fear it would become a rant. The current President is not my cup of tea, to say the least, and his administration gives me fits.

The real point is that there's a bit of news that W isn't going to want to get a lot of play... and I am hoping it becomes the story for a while. In case you haven't heard, there is a man named Ben Barnes who was Lieutenant Governor of Texas back when W ducked Vietnam service in the National Guard and didn't even manage to show up and do his duty in the Guard.

Barnes recently said he was "very ashamed" of his role in this. Now, according to Salon, Mr. Barnes will be telling his story on 60 Minutes. Okay, let's see how W's handlers spin this one.