Could Come In Handy
Maybe I’ll ask a certain someone who serves bier to tourists in Florida to buy me one of these, since he says I’m a drama queen…
Get me one with a travel case I can put next to the Mercedes’ first aid kit, for when I go visit.
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January 29th, 2015
Could Come In Handy
Maybe I’ll ask a certain someone who serves bier to tourists in Florida to buy me one of these, since he says I’m a drama queen…
Get me one with a travel case I can put next to the Mercedes’ first aid kit, for when I go visit.
January 26th, 2015
Cute Little Bird
No…it is not Portuguese for Thomas…
January 24th, 2015
No porn…porn is obvious and I don’t do obvious…just your basic male nude figure study, plus another in our series of beautiful longhaired guys that wear glasses reading books while naked.
I sketch on layout paper because it’s easier to draw and re-draw over and layer other scraps of layout paper over it and strongarm the lines around until I get them where I think they’re good. I have no college level or above formal training..am a self taught, hunt and peck kinda draftsman. So smudges and foundational pencil lines are all visible. These are just things I’ve been doodling at the drafting table this week…something to keep my mind from gnawing over Valentine’s Day coming soon. Not sure and don’t particularly care whether I’m assuaging grief or wallowing in it.
Maybe I’ll make one of these into a finished work someday. What I’d like to do is get my oil paints back out and start working in that medium again. But I have very little heart in anything I can do creatively this time of year. It hurts too much to look inside. I try to distract myself with simple little sketches but everything keeps coming back to that empty place inside and I have to step away from it.
NSFW below the break.
January 20th, 2015
I Don’t Like Displays Of Heterosexuality Either. Especially When Homosexuals Are Doing It Too.
The other day Billy Crystal, whose stereotypical gay character on Soap was supposed to represent some sort of big gay TV breakthrough, was seen bellyaching that now there’s Too Much gay visibility on TV…
But of course making it feel like an everyday kind of thing is exactly what gay people in the audience back then, who had to listen to that laughter in their own lives if they were lucky, and outright hostility and violence when they weren’t, would have loved to see happen. And now that it is, some people who we may have thought were with us on that, are showing us once again that it’s one thing to talk the talk and another to actually mean it.
And he’s shocked, shocked, to find himself getting static for it now…
No matter what it is… No matter what it is… No matter what it is… What it is would be gay Billy. That’s what it is. And we don’t have a lifestyle, we have lives.
How often have I heard this standard excuse whenever someone bellyaching about the visibility of gay sexuality gets called out for being prejudiced. Oh no…I am against heterosexual public displays too. Yeah, right, so why didn’t anyone hear you complaining about that before now? Why was it only when the TV starting singing a few gay stanzas of the same fucking song it’s been singing about heterosexuality for decades did you decide to start yapping about it?
Let me hazard a guess…because sexuality on the TV screen didn’t bother you until the gays started acting like they had something to be proud of in that department too.
No matter what it is.
Never mind. There is a bigger issue here and thankfully that Think Progress article touches on it. The essential homophobia of the big Hollywood studios needs open acknowledgement and discussion, and not just in retrospect, because that is why gay visibility is next to nil in a Hollywood product and even when it happens, even when they toss us a scrap off the table, is cheap, stereotyped, and nearly always sexually emasculated. This really needs emphasising: the studio heads would rather not offend the heartland bigots, not because they are afraid for their ratings and profits, but because they share the cheapshit prejudices of those heartland bigots.
Let’s talk about shoving sexuality in faces Crystal…Hollywood has been shoving a vision of a world without gays in the faces of gay people for generations without any shred of concern for the effect it has had on us, on our families or or the communities we live and work in. Oh yes, there have been the usual homosexual psychopaths and pathetic limp wristed faggots, but as Vito Russo famously said, “There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” And even today Hollywood Still tip-toes around our very existence, giving us castrated gay-vague characters at best, cheapshit toss away stereotypes at worst, and they think they’re brave for doing even that much. This is long after other entertainment media have acknowledged and embraced us as a part of the audience.
You want to see three-dimensional, fully realized human gay characters, pick up a book, a comic book, go see a live performance of a play, or listen to some pop music. In Hollywood John Wayne is still rolling in his grave and retrograde attitudes like Crystal’s are just the part that gets said in public, and in private what Truman Capote once said is still true today: a faggot is the homosexual gentleman who just left the room.
Let me add a personal note, because February and Valentine’s Day are coming soon and this is absolutely the worst time of the year for me, Bruce Garrett, one lonely sixty-one year old gay man whose love life looks in retrospect as though it was doomed the moment I hit puberty. I’ll get around to my annual Valentine’s Day venting about that later, or if you feel like taking a stroll through an empty wasteland you can go read some of the posts I’ve written about trying to find a boyfriend in a world that wants people like me to not exist.
Some days you find yourself getting really angry at something and you know that most other people probably think you’re taking it too much to heart. Hey, come On, it’s just some guy who was on Hollywood Squares once… But entire generations of gay people had their love lives throttled because of homophobia and the enforced invisibility that came with it. The closet was a place you both put yourself into, and were put into. And in there your heart slowly withered and died, tastefully out of sight, so that others didn’t have to see the sewer they made of their own souls for doing that to their neighbors. What should have been one of life’s most perfect joys was taken from some of us and turned it into ashes. And even today, even now, for so many of us but especially those of us who were just coming of age when Stonewall happened, that’s all there is now. Ashes. And the knowledge that it didn’t have to be, that there was never anything wrong with us, only adds to the grief…and the anger.
Don’t like it when gay sexuality is shoved in your face Crystal? Hahahahahaha… Live for a few hours with the empty place inside of me where there should have been love and joy and peace and contentment Crystal, and then with the tens of thousands of others like me who had to grow up with your ignorant bar stool prejudices suffocating our hopes and dreams. So you played gay on TV did you? Ever wonder why your fellow actors who are gay are Still scared to death to touch those rolls? Ever wonder why gay kids are Still killing themselves? Ever wonder why the parents of gay kids are Still forcing them into ex-gay therapy? Try a mirror. Then look at your name, along with all the others in the industry you spent your life working in, written on the bottomless misery that taught audiences to cheer and applaud when a man kills another man and be shocked and offended when a man loves another man.
[Edited a tad for clarity…]
January 14th, 2015
The Militant Hurricane Bolt Agenda
The table is running out of dominos. South Dakota’s constitutional amendment reserving marriage to heterosexual couples only was struck down the other day by a federal judge…
Well this didn’t sit well with Bob Ellis over at The American Clarion, owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005, 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, political reporter and commentator and founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance…
…a point he really drives home with the following illustration:
Never mind shop class, you start to wonder after a while if the sex education classes in certain parts of the country would actually benefit from a trip to the hardware store. Because when the dimwit you’re arguing with starts reaching for the nuts and bolts to prove their point about sex it’s a safe bet they’re not much of a do it yourselfer.
Hey look…it screws in the wall…and then another a screw goes into it. Hardware bisexuality! Or…versatility of you like. Pissst…Hey Bob…if you think the militant homosexual agenda is a threat to our very existence, you really need to investigate the militant hurricane bolt agenda. Seriously. This is probably why they have hurricanes in places that allow this.
January 13th, 2015
Second NOx Sensor Replaced…
Got Spirit back from the dealer yesterday evening. In addition to the check engine light work they also did my usual between services oil change (I change the crankcase oil in all my cars at least twice as often as the factory recommends) and adjusted the emergency brake. I noted in the loaner car I got, a 2015 ‘C’ class, that emergency brakes are now electronic push button controlled. What could possibly go wrong?
Again I’m told it was the NOx sensor, but now I’m told there are actually two of them and so this time they replaced the other one. Fine. Let’s have no more of this now, at least for another 70k miles. K?
So now I’m seriously thinking about buying another extended warranty when the current one expires. The next extended warranty on offer would be a 100k plus one and I’m told, the dealership will offer one then. But a 100k plus warranty can’t be anything but expensive. I won’t be needing it until late this year at the earliest, but I’m already thinking I probably need to start a new pot of savings Now just to pay for it. I’ll have to look hard at the cost/benefit. A Mercedes diesel sedan is not supposed to cause trouble if you take care of it and do the maintenance, even after it’s got hundreds of thousands of miles on it. That’s no blue sky exaggeration, that’s the actual history of these vehicles. They make taxi cabs out of them elsewhere in the world. And I’ve met other Mercedes diesel owners who’ve put nearly half a million miles on their cars and were still in love with them.
But the new cars are vastly more complex than those older models too. Case in point, the emissions control system in mine that got all hysterical on me in Oklahoma and Texas while I was in the middle of my Christmas road trip. One factor in the legendary longevity of older Mercedes diesels is very likely how simple they are mechanically. Superbly engineered yes. Built like a bank vault yes. But still simple compared to the same gasoline powered versions, and way more so than the car I have now when you factor in things like the twin turbochargers that give it a surprising (for a diesel) capacity for sudden acceleration, plus all the various computer controlled subsystems. This is what I worry about going forward.
January 11th, 2015
I’m spending the weekend here at Casa del Garrett with a loaner car from Valley Motors, a Very Nice new model Mercedes-Benz ‘C’ class, while Spirit is once again having a check engine light issue worked on, that dogged me back and forth across the country last month. That was a road trip I took to the ancestral Garrett lands in Oceano California, to spend the holidays with my empty nest brother. Check Engine in Spirit, my Mercedes, means there is a problem with the emissions control system. Thing is, that should have been fixed a couple months ago when my dealer installed a new NOx detector after the last Check Engine light event.
Back home, surfing the web and Facebook, I chanced across the following article…
The work currently being done on Spirit is completely covered…which is good considering it would cost me about a thousand bucks total if it wasn’t. Add that to the $950 the last NOx detector work would have cost. But this is what you are paying for when you get that work done at an authorized factory trained service center. These cars are Not Cheap, not simply because they are luxury cars but because they are engineered to a higher standard, and that costs money.
The article I linked to is mostly about body work, but it really applies to everything about cost of maintenance and repair for a Mercedes-Benz: the parts are expensive, because Daimler specifications are higher, tolerances lower. Even down to the wiper blades and oil and air filters. I’ve seen side-by-side comparisons of Mercedes OEM parts and good quality third party parts and it really leaps out at you. It’s not even close. Everything about these cars is more substantial. Everything. This means maintenance and repairs can seem atrociously expensive. But it isn’t just throwing money at it for the sake of showing off how much money you have to throw:
This is what we who love these cars value them for. This is what was true back in 1971 when my uncle drove to visit us in his brand new Mercedes-Benz 220D, and it’s what I’m counting on being true now: that spending money on this car is a long term investment in a vehicle engineered like no other, that is solid and substantial, safe and utterly reliable, that I can drive to and from the grocery store or to and from California whenever I want to and not worry about it falling apart because it was made to fall apart so you’d have to go buy another. That was Detroit’s model. That is not the Mercedes way. The Mercedes way is to build a better car first, then add the bells and whistles on top of that. And that is how it feels to drive Spirit. I read a user on one of the Mercedes-Benz forums I frequent, describe his ‘E’ class diesel as feeling as solid as a locomotive, yet nimble and sure footed on the curves. That’s it. That’s the experience you get driving one of these cars.
But… They really screwed it up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I would not own any Mercedes-Benz product made between 1997 and 2007. It’s the worst of both worlds: expensive cars that break down more than they should and require expensive parts to repair. I’ll give them this: it seems every German car maker had the same problems during that time frame. So every time a problem arises, you wonder if this is just a random event, or the beginning of a downhill slide. And I can’t afford a downhill slide on a car that’s this expensive to repair.
I have two years and 20k left on the warranty. I bought an extended warranty…which I’m grateful for now given the cost of the work that’s suddenly had to be done. Figure by the end of this year I’ll be over the 100k mark given how many miles I put on a car. So this second Check Engine fail is worrisome enough that I’m considering ditching the car if it needs another 1k+ repair before the warranty runs out, and just go with a cheaper ride. I’m fast approaching a time in my life when living on retirement funds and social security makes any sort of high dollar spending very problematic. I don’t mind paying a premium for regular maintenance, so long as that buys me a car I don’t have to worry about between maintenance. But it has to do that or I can’t justify it…
…even to own the car of my dreams, the car I’ve wanted ever since I was a teenager.
In 2008, when the new models designed under then new CEO Dieter Zetsche (one of the few CEOs today who I greatly admire) started hitting the showrooms, Daimler began running a series of ads, admitting to past failures to live up to the standard they’d set for themselves, and promising to do better. The slogan was, “Because we promised you a Mercedes-Benz”. I’m holding them to that promise. So is the kid I once was, and he does not forget a broken promise.
January 10th, 2015
Letting Go Of Pooh Bear
Adorable little Winnie The Pooh plush toy I’ve had in the house ever since I moved here got placed into one of those donation bins for adoption, hopefully to go to some needy kid who will give it a lot of love.
It was something I’d bought as a gift for Keith over a decade ago. Keith was the closest thing I’d ever had to a boyfriend, but that turned out to be more in my mind and heart than in his. He had a fondness for the characters in the A. A. Milne stories and I’d bought him some little Disney statuettes before. There was one of Tigger teaching Eeyore how to smile he liked. Sixteen years ago I saw the stuffed bear in a Disney gift shop at White Marsh and I knew he’d like it. I brought it back home to give to him on his birthday later that year. Several days after I bought him Keith told me he while we were chatting on AOL Messenger that was seeing someone else he’d met on AOL Messenger, and that other guy was moving from New York to Hilton Head so they could live together.
So Pooh stayed on the top of one of my bookcases ever since, moving eventually from the apartment in Cockeysville to Casa del Garrett here in Baltimore, but never really ever doing much except sitting there waiting for someone to give him some love. Every time I looked up at him I thought I needed to let him go to someplace where he would be loved as he was meant to be, but somehow I couldn’t let him go. Until today. It takes me that long. I hope he finds a good home.
January 9th, 2015
It Stinks For A Little While, And Then It’s Gone…
This, concerning the reality show My Husband’s Not Gay, came across my Facebook stream just now…
I listened to someone compare it to farting once. In retrospect I’ve wondered if he wasn’t telling me he’d become asexual since we were both teenagers. Oh well…most Disney characters are after all…
December 10th, 2014
Staring Into The Pit…
I link to Andrew Sullivan reluctantly, Very reluctantly, but I have to give credit where it’s due too. This livestreaming he did on the torture report is very good, the outrage in it genuine and worth sharing. You should feel that outrage too.
“The barbarism was the very opposite from a few bad apples at the bottom of the pile, as they tried to persuade us at Abu Ghraib. The bad apples were at the very top of the chain of command, rotting this country’s reputation and honor from the top down. And those begin with Bush and Cheney and Tenet. They are now wanted men. And they will go abroad again – at their legal peril. And so America becomes a legal sanctuary for war criminals. As long as they are our war criminals.”
Like a lot of Americans, I believe in that liberty and justice for all stuff, and government of the people, by the people and for the people, and I want so much to be proud of the way my country embodies those principles. Civilization stands or falls on them. But it is not always so. Just ask the native Americans, just ask the sons and daughters of the slaves, just ask the peaceful protestors of any decade who felt the club and the boot. Mary Renault, at the end of her novel about the poet Simonides, wrote “In all men evil is sleeping; the good man is he who will not awaken it, in himself or in other men.” That sense we often feel among us, of American exceptionalism, ought rightly to impart a sense of obligation, as something every generation is called to live up to, because we are human after all, and with the potential for great good comes the potential for great evil. But too often powerful evil people manage to turn that sense of ourselves and our purpose into cheap bar stool nationalism, an excuse to congratulate ourselves as we look the other way at the evil done in our name, in the name of our country. They need to be held accountable. Or history will hold us accountable, and laugh at all the times we waved our flag as if it stood for anything more than a place on a map.
December 4th, 2014
What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love And Understanding? Let Me Explain…
This came across my Twitter stream today…
I remember watching a broadcast of the Emmy awards when I was a kid. I Spy had only been on for one season but one of the production crew, not sure who now, won an award for the work he’d done on the show and on the podium after accepting his little statue said he wanted to thank the producer. “Sheldon Leonard”, he said, “has a lot of guts.”
I had no idea what he was talking about and I was 13 years old so I let it slide. It wasn’t until many years later, when I read about how some local TV station owners in some parts of the country would reliably get up in arms whenever a show wasn’t sufficiently respectful to race bigots, that I saw what he was talking about. Basically in 1965, by casting a black man, Bill Cosby, as one of the two series leads, he was thumbing his nose at a lot of TV station owners, who between them represented a lot of potential audience.
My generation thought we’d lived to see the day our country put all that behind us. We were wrong. Horribly, laughably, wrong. All that peace love and understanding stuff we believed in didn’t amount to crap. The bitter rage of the gutter only deepened, and bided its time.
I think some part of me did eventually see it, about a decade or so ago, when I first read about towns that buried their community swimming pools, rather than allow blacks to use them too. I remember being stunned. You buried…the whole goddamned pool?? We failed to understand the power…and the potent venom…of race hatred. We failed to appreciate how hate alone can sustain the hater for decades, for generations all carefully taught. And now it is all coming back. We achieved nothing. We were irrelevant.
December 1st, 2014
A Lifetime Spent Searching…Hoping…Waiting…
This came across my Twitter stream the other day…
Well I’m happy for her. There’s little enough love in this world. I’m sixty-one years old myself, and I’m still waiting…
November 30th, 2014
Those Simpler Times When We Were All Digging Fallout Shelters
My Facebook stream had one of those those Do You Remember When things aimed at boomers like myself and the slightly older. I sat through it, the usual stuff about how things were for us when we were all kids, Do You Remember When Telephones Had Dials…Saturday Mornings Were For Cartoons…You Got Your Schoolwork On Mimeographed Pages… ending with the usual If You Remember This Then You Lived In Simpler Times Consider Yourself Lucky…blah blah blah…
Yeah it was simpler…for us. We were kids. We were simpler back then. Probably not so simple a time for all the grownups leading us in our duck and cover drills though, and sitting through the random tests of the emergency broadcast system on the TV.
November 19th, 2014
You should read this by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
This entire episode probably grieves him and other black Americans worse than it does me, but I am put into a very dark place by it. I deeply respected this man, not simply as an entertainer but as a moralist.
Coates talks here about an article he wrote for The Atlantic that was published 2008, after following Cosby around the country for a couple years as he lectured the black community on morality. He writes that Cosby, “…was not speaking as a man sent to assure a group that racism did not exist, but as a man who sincerely believed that black people, through the ethic of “twice as good,” could overcome. That is the core of respectability politics. Its appeal is broad in both black and white America, and everywhere Cosby went he was greeted with rapturous applause.”
Perhaps there’s an answer in there, better than the cynical one; that when all is said and done, humans are no damn good. That’s almost where I wanted to go when it finally hit me that he really did these things.
Bad enough that white racists are going to be pointing at this as though it were proof of every filthy lie about black people they can imagine. Worse that everyone might take it as further proof that humans in general are no damn good. When someone you once idealized as an example of the better things within us turns out to be…this…it leaves you a little emptier inside, a little less reluctant to give up on the human race. But misanthropy is just another way of giving up, of taking the easy way out when you discover life is harder than you thought.
I was this same kid Coates talks about himself being. I have not been raped, but I have had the same experience with bullies he did. Maybe this is what gives the outcast boy a greater sense of sympathy with the fear women have to constantly live with…
I know that feeling well. And this is why the accusations ring true to some of us, even in the absence of proof…
And this is why it is so excruciatingly hard for some of us to accept…
I didn’t pay that much attention to Cosby’s moral sermons at the black community, because it felt like listening in on a family argument that really wasn’t any of my business. White Americans have their own house to clean up and that other Americans have their issues is neither reason nor excuse for ours. When Cosby’s moralizing to his black neighbors did cross my mind I felt torn. “Twice as good” isn’t fair, isn’t right, is proof if it’s anything of the pernicious failure of white middle America to look at the stranger’s face and see ourselves. But I believed in the principle right enough, if not “twice as good”, then good at the very least: that to change your world you must become the change you wish to see. Set an example. You can preach at people until you are blue in the face and it just goes in one ear and out the other.
And there’s the problem. Cosby went on a moral crusade. I stayed out of it, because I am white, and we have our own house to get in order. But how many times have gay people seen this behavior? And I despair whenever I hear gay people conclude because of it, that morality is nothing more than the bigot’s scold, a weapon the powerful use to keep the rest of us down. Morality is our friend. Right and wrong really do exist as objective concepts. Otherwise, why care about what Cosby did. A lot of people, a lot of the same sort of people, drape themselves in moral robes like they drape themselves in the flag. Patriotism isn’t the last refuge of a scoundrel, religion and morality are. Remember this: often, very often, people will go on moral crusades so they don’t have to look at the wreck they’ve made of their own inner lives. The true moralist preaches by example.
November 17th, 2014
The Complementary Nature Of Prejudice And Ignorance
You wonder some days if some people even bother listening to themselves…
Here it is again in another form: Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. That’s what Francis is saying there if he’s holding that up as a reason why same-sex couples ought not to be allowed equal access to marriage. He’s saying that homosexual relationships can’t, by their very nature, aspire to permanent commitment, solidarity, fidelity, and fruitful love. He’s saying that the deepest longings of the homosexual’s heart are actually quite shallow. They can’t aspire to marriage because they don’t have what it takes. Because homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.
If that’s not what he meant, then why say it in front of an audience that includes some of the worst bigots in the United States. He’s telling them he shares their belief in the essential emptiness of the homosexual’s soul. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex… And if that’s the case, then this man will simply continue his flock’s long jihad on the deepest longings of the human heart after all, reassuring himself as they always do, that the knife isn’t actually cutting hearts capable of bleeding. And as they always do, he’ll continue to blame the pushback on modernism…
Oh it’s facts now is it? Here’s one: same-sex couples share the same longings as opposite-sex couples, because they are as human as anyone else. Gay people have the same human heart, and it is moved by love in the same way. That is a fact. You’d see it if you could see the people for the homosexuals: and yet, it moves.
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