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Archive for April, 2012

April 30th, 2012

Turning Kisses Into Pornography

Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin quotes a little Michael Heath

During my lifetime I have witnessed the descent from Playboy into the abyss of online porn…

Okay…That’s about all I need to read.  If you think the human, let alone the American fascination with pornography started with Playboy Michael, and the mass consumption therein, then you have been very grievously misinformed.  Google Tijuana Bible Mike.  No…that’s not a translation for Spanish speaking Christians.

My own fascination with pornography ended pretty soon after it began, when I eventually figured out (don’t laugh) that there is very little romance in it. The few porn magazines I bought back in the day all had images of guys being affectionate as well as sexual.  That was my turn on.  No matter how hot I thought the guys were, if it was just sex I got bored if not a tad turned off.  There had to be affection on display too.  The more affection the better.  But affection of that sort between males was a pretty radical thing to portray in any form back then, back room magazine rack or mainstream movie house.  In some ways, and in some venues, it still is.

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating because it really says it all.  Back in the day an old high school friend of mine told me about taking a college course on human sexuality.  The course, he said, included a number of films which you might expect to find in an Adult Entertainment store rather then in a university classroom.  And so naturally most of the college students who signed up for that course did so, according to my friend who probably did also, just to see those films.  What they didn’t bargain for was also having to watch a bunch of sex they didn’t much like.  This was after all, a course on human sexuality, not a course on pornography.  In addition to the hot young babes there was also footage of folks old enough to be their own parents having sex.  Then there were the sections on geriatric sex. You can imagine how well that went over with a bunch of college students.  But it was the section on gay male sex that bothered some the audience most of all.  And it wasn’t the sex specifically that offended them.  In fact, the sex really didn’t bother that group much at all.  According to my friend, when the gay male sex scenes came on screen the ignorant jock types in the class burst out laughing and mocked the couple.

But then images of that couple being affectionate with each other came on screen and the jock’s attitude changed.  Those scenes of that male couple being affectionate, kissing, holding hands, being in love, completely offended the jocks my friend said…far more, far, Far more, then watching them have sex did.

What pornography is, to my mind at least, is it just pushes your sexual buttons and nothing else.  That’s all it’s for.  That’s all it does.  Empty button pushing.  But that’s all some folks want it to be.  Oh well for them I guess.  What I discovered about myself, and had I not the freedom to at least look the stuff over I might not have figured this out about myself, is that I am about romance, affection, playful fun, when it comes to sex.  I like to be teased.  I like the friendly smile and the longing look.  And the kiss.  Especially the kiss.  I am not much about just having my buttons pushed for the sake of pushing them.  There has to be more.  There has to be love.  There has to be the kiss.  So what my little private collection of erotic art began to consist mostly of as I grew older, is that.  Sex yes, but not always that specifically and always in the context of romance.  Body and soul together.  I love that.  It turns me on.

Your mileage may vary.  That’s fine.  I’m pretty sure in any case that your definition of pornography Michael is almost certainly a lot broader then mine.  Anything having to do with same-sex couples even if it’s just a kiss probably counts as pornography in your book.  No…Especially if it’s just a kiss.  Because homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. But here’s the thing Michael…most of us just look the other way when we’re grossed out or disinterested.  When I found out there wasn’t much in pornography that interested me, at least of the hard core sort, I stopped looking. But you can’t for some reason.

Don’t you think that puts you in the same ugly peep show stall that the people you’re railing against are stuck in?  Well…except they seem to be enjoying themselves and you’re not.  And what is offending you most of all Michael, isn’t the sex gay couples are having.  It’s the affection.  It’s their joy.  It’s the kiss…isn’t it Michael.  You’re calling it “sodomy based marriage” now…it’s your new slogan that you seem to honestly think is a winner but it’s merely your way of turning kisses into pornography.  Because that’s how they seem to you.

You begin your email to supporters with a little rant about pornography, but it’s all about same-sex marriage with you, not pornography, not sexual decadence.  And that’s because it’s the kiss that offends you, not the sodomy.  Marriage is about love and devotion, about body and soul together as one, and same sex couples are fighting for access to marriage, because they love, because they are devoted, because they are one in body and soul.  And you see it don’t you.  Yes…yes you do.  And it bothers you massively doesn’t it.  And you can’t look away.  Why is that Michael?

Some might suggest that it’s because you’re a closet case yourself.  I honestly doubt that you are in that particular sort of closet.  There’s another, darker, colder one your sort lives their lives in.  There is a marvelous scene in Mary Renault’s The Fire From Heaven, where Alexander’s father Philip, punishing his son and his son’s lover for a transgression, knowing that the punishment of his lover will hurt Alexander more then his own punishment, thinks, “…between contempt and a deep secret envy…The man does not live that I could feel that for, or the woman either.” There you are Michael.  There’s why you can’t look away.  There’s why you need their kisses to be empty.  There’s why you hate them.


[Update…] After I cross posted this over to Truth Wins Out I checked out some of the other posts there and found This One from Evan Hurst concerning Peter LaBarbra’s post also referencing the rant of Coach Dave Daubenmire that I riffed on a few posts back.  Remarkably, it contained this image from an episode of Glee, tastefully censored to prevent cases of the vapors in the kook pews.  I’ve captured the full context from Pete’s site….just look at this would you…

…blocked for decency’s sake… Oh make my case for me why don’t you?  Christ almighty…Pete…listen…there is something seriously wrong with you.  If the image of two guys in love kissing is enough to motivate you to start up the image editor of your choice, load that image into it, and take the time to carefully black out (white out?) those two dear little pairs of lips locked like they were mashing genitals instead of kissing, you have problems. Seriously…get help.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Turning Kisses Into Pornography

There Is No Gender Pay Discrimination And Anyway Why Aren’t You In The Kitchen Woman??

This from Steve Benen on the Rachel Maddow blog…

The problem of ‘working from different facts’

If you didn’t catch “Meet the Press” yesterday, you missed a lively conversation about, among other things, women’s votes in 2012 and the policy controversies that have put women’s issues at the forefront of the political landscape.

As you’ll see in this clip, around the 5:20 mark, Rachel noted the pay disparity between men and women in this country, which prompted some unexpected pushback (and incessant interruptions) from Republican strategist Alex Castellanos.

Unexpected?  Like the incessant interruptions?  Golly it’s almost as if they wanted to just shut you up woman…

The angle to this to keep in mind is that the Republicans on the panel, Castellanos and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), simply reject the available facts on the wage gap. Despite ample evidence that shows women make less than men for the same work, Castellanos chooses to believe his own version of reality in which that’s not the case.

There’s simply no shared foundation of reality, which in turn shapes the policy debate in unproductive ways. The left sees gender-based pay disparity and looks for mechanisms to address the problem; the right rejects the existence of the disparity and sees no use for the solutions because, to them, there is no problem.

If I may…no. Just…no. You’re giving the right way too much credit for making a good faith argument here.

The problem isn’t that they don’t think gender pay disparity exists. They know damn well it exists.  They don’t think that’s a problem.  It is instead but a simple The Way God And Nature Intended Things To Be truth.  Women just don’t belong in the workplace, let alone the family planning clinic.  Giving them equal pay diminishes the rightful status of men and encourages women to abandon their role as child bearers and housekeepers.  That said, the right also knows that in this day and age, at least here in the decadent west if not in many areas of the righteous middle east, people are generally sickened by caveman attitudes toward women.  This is part of what they see as the decline of civilization.  It’s getting so men can’t drag their women around by the hair anymore! So rather then give people their honest reasons why discrimination against women is a good thing they’re spreading a line of propaganda to the effect that there is no discrimination.

Wage discrimination?  No such thing!  So nothing to see here people….move along…move along…

Now can we get back to preventing insurance from paying for contraception…?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on There Is No Gender Pay Discrimination And Anyway Why Aren’t You In The Kitchen Woman??

The Gutter Takes Offense

They’re saying Dan Savage has stirred up a hornet’s nest…

Dan Savage Speech Controversy: ‘It Gets Better’ Creator Offends Christian Students

Dan Savage offended some Christian teens when he told them “We can learn to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about gay people.”

After many students walked out of the speech, one of whom appeared to be crying, Savage said, “It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back.”

Right on cue the usual suspects wing up the noise machine…

Fox News reports that Savage’s comments upset the executive director of GOProud, a gay conservative group.

“Dan Savage should apologize for his comments and should apologize to the high school students in attendance whom he called ‘pansy-asses,’” Jimmy LaSalvia told Fox. “It is ironic that someone whose claim to fame is fighting bullying would resort to bullying tactics in attacking high school students who were offended by his outrageous remarks.”

There is so much to unpack here.  Firstly, the headline.  This is that right wing propaganda everyone has bought into over the years, that the only authentic Christians are the right wing bigots and everyone else is just faking it.  How many of the kids who stayed to hear what Savage had to say, regardless of what they thought of it, also identified as Christian?  We don’t get that information in any of the mainstream news stories I’ve seen on this.  No, no…it was Christians, capital ‘C’ who walked out and who Savage tossed a going away insult at.  Those were the only Christians in that auditorium that day.

Secondly, Savage didn’t stir up anything…that bubbling open sewer that calls itself the moral majority needs no stirring, it is always on the boil.  This incident wouldn’t look more like the usual case of right wing manufactured outrage if those kids were wearing t-shirts that said “We Are Here To Take Offense At Anything You Have To Say”.  I am expected to believe that none of the kids in that group who walked out knew who Dan Savage was or what his positions were on sex, gay sex, and the bible am I?  Right.  Pull the other one.

Suddenly it’s We’re Not The Bullies, Dan Savage Is The Bully, Because He Insulted Us!!! Yes.  Yes he did.  And a well earned insult it was too.  In the Twitter fury that followed, LOLGOP Tweeted: “I’ve not yet met one conservative Christian who is considering suicide because of bullying as thousands of LGBT youth do every day.”  Just so.  It is grotesque to watch the right wing noise machine compare Dan Savage’s crack about the kids walking out of his talk to what gay kids deal with every day of their lives, usually at the hands of kids like the ones who walked out.  This from The Christian Post:

The 17-year-old California student, whose name was not given, told CitizenLink’s Karla Dial that Savage said people using the Bible to justify their views on homosexuality being a sin often cite Leviticus and Romans in saying that “being gay is wrong.”

“Right after that, he said we can ignore all the ‘B.S.’ in the Bible,” the student told CitizenLink, which is affiliated with faith-based organization Focus on the Family.

The student said she suddenly reacted by blurting out “That’s bull!” before storming out of the auditorium along with several other students. Savage reportedly called the students pansies upon noticing their exit.

That passage in Leviticus Savage was telling them was BS, and which the student there is righteously affirming, calls for homosexuals to be put to death, adding “Their blood is upon them”.  Yes, we can throw death threats at our classmates and we’re just quoting the bible, but if you call us pansies you’re a bully.

Look at what this tells you about the mindset here.  It was a rash of gay kids killing themselves at the beginning of the previous school year that prompted Savage to start his “It Get’s Better” campaign, which has never gotten anything but raspberries from the wingers.  Yet now they rise in a righteous howl of anger at a small group of fundamentalist kids being called pansies.  Look at it.  No…really look at it.  These are people who just can’t figure out why tormenting gay kids to death would be such a big deal with anyone other then it’s some kind of political posturing. The way they see it we’re posturing so they get to posture too. That gay kids are being made so miserable by the torrent of hatred being directed at them that they want to kill themselves just doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal to the wingers.

And the reason for that is simple, obvious, and sickening.  The way the right wing sees it, if the kid is gay then being treated like human garbage is what they should expect.  Because they are.

Think I’m engaging in hyperbole there?  When did you ever see the kind of outrage on the right toward the tormenting of gay kids that you are seeing now being directed at Dan Savage after he called the fundamentalists who walked out of his talk “pansies”.  When have you ever heard a winger get upset at gay kids being called that?  Cut me a break.  They call gay people that and worse all the fucking time and they don’t particularly care if gay kids get called names or not.  Who is fighting tooth and nail to prevent anti-bullying campaigns from specifically protecting gay kids from being bullied?  The same people who are bellyaching about what Dan Savage said to a group of fundamentalists, that’s who.

How often do I have to see this before I’m allowed to call it what it is?  The way the right wing sees it, the way fundamentalist bigots see it, it is only natural to treat gay kids like human garbage.  Because they are.  God hates them.  My bible tells me so and if yours doesn’t you are not a Christian.  Make no mistake, the outrage here isn’t entirely manufactured, but if you think it’s out of sympathy for the kids Savage insulted you are still not getting it.  The problem isn’t that Dan Savage insulted a group of fundamentalist kids.  It’s that he told them to leave their gay peers alone, using language they routinely use against their gay peers.  He stood up for the gay kids.  There’s where the anger is coming from.

Brutalizing gay people is one of their most cherished religious sacraments.  You mess with that and you will hear the gutter scream like they are being crucified.

[Update…] “Theirs was not an act born of suffering. It was a proud show of disdain.” – Christian author John Shore.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Gutter Takes Offense

April 29th, 2012

Unamused Llama Is Still Unamused

Do not seat these two together at the same table.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Unamused Llama Is Still Unamused

Life In The Shining City On The Hill

Seen on Twitter: “Family of four sitting in the patio furniture section of Costco eating picnic lunch made up entirely of samples. #theamericandream”

I remember as a kid, listening to mom’s tales of the Great Depression.  Little did I know those stories would prepare me for life in 21st century America…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Life In The Shining City On The Hill

April 28th, 2012

Only Twelve More Years…

Sullivan posts

Tasneem Raja reports on brogramming, “a term that seeks to recast the geek identity with a competitive frat-house flavor”

Oh what a perfect match…frat boys and the computer nerds they used to beat up in grade school. Why has no one thought of this before now I ask you?

…apparently it’s real enough for social-media analytics company Klout: The high-flying Silicon Valley startup came under fire last month for displaying a recruitment poster at a Stanford career fair that asked: “Want to bro down and crush code? Klout is hiring.”

Brogramming.  Brogramming.

That daydream of mine to retire to Key West someday, spend the trailing edge of life lounging by the shore, under the starry night sky, with a margarita, and a cigar, whilst enjoying a bonfire of burning computer books, is looking better and better every year.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Only Twelve More Years…

April 27th, 2012

Never Taken A Stroll Through The Garden Of Heterosexuality Have You Hon…

Via Joe. My God., I see someone is having conniptions visualizing gay sex

“Permit me to clarify the definition. Sodomy is one MAN inserting his genitals into the mouth or anus of ANOTHER MAN. Say it again. Say it out loud so your ears hear it. Picture it in your mind. Picture Barney Frank and Elton John in action. Barney Frank putting his genitals into Elton John’s. That is what they want to tell us is normal…no wait…tell our children is normal. Into that ‘union’ they are asking permission to place children. Would you let them put YOUR grandchild into a sodomy-based family? Why would you let them do it to someone else’s child? Have normal people lost their minds?”

-Crackpot “Coach” Dave Daubenmire.

Normal people don’t obsess about the sex their neighbors are having Dave, particularly when it’s sex that turns them off.  You on the other hand, clearly can’t seem to get it out of your head.

You have issues Dave. Let me try to address one of them.  If you think opposite sex couples wouldn’t do anything that grosses you or “normal” people out then you really don’t know much about what other people are up to. Perhaps that’s for the best. All in all, I wish sometimes I didn’t know myself.

See Dave…when I was a young gay man, back in the early 1970s, there weren’t many places I could go to get my weekly copies of The Washington Blade or The Advocate. You may of course assume these are gay porn since they’re gay publications and we homosexuals don’t have lives, we just have sex. But they’re newspapers, classifieds and ads for various sexually graphic other publications notwithstanding. And being a young gay man living in a world which at that time was loath to admit that such as I even existed, I needed a source of news and information for my community.

Back then there were no gay publications to be found at the local bookstores and newsstands, let alone the public libraries. There was no Internet.  If you were a gay American back in the early 1970s and you wanted news and information concerning your community you didn’t have a lot of choice.  Luckily for me growing up in the Washington D.C. suburbs, there was Lambda Rising. But to get there I had to borrow mom’s car and drive downtown. The Metro subway system wouldn’t reach out to my suburban neighborhood for nearly a decade.

So I was always on the lookout for a place closer to home where I could find my gay newspapers. One day, running errands for mom, I drove past a small strip shopping center near Wheaton Plaza, and I glimpsed a sign: ADULT BOOKS.

Well we all know what “adult” means don’t we? So working up the nerve (and I must have driven around that block several times…) I parked the car nearby and strolled in. I think I had just turned 21 but I might have been only 20 and in any case in Maryland then I only needed to be over 18.

The bookstore was small, a tad rundown, but neatly organized.  There were a few customers inside.  The front area of the store was your usual newstand layout with various magazines and newspapers on the shelves.  As you moved toward the back you saw more and more straight skin magazines of the Playboy/Penthouse sort.  Your usual softcore men’s magazine stuff.  I don’t think Playgirl had yet started publishing.  There was a door in the back with a sign over it that said You Must Be 18 or Over To Enter and a nice older lady sitting at a counter beside it. It took me a few minutes of wandering close, pretending to look at the other magazines before I worked up the nerve to enter that door. I’m certain the old lady at the counter had seen first time customers doing that dance many, many times before and she wasn’t fooled. She knew where I was headed.

Oh look…another room…I think I’ll have a look inside… Inside the door was another room about the same size as the front one.  The light in there was a bit harsher and the shelves seemed starker somehow. Nearly all the titles were wrapped in plastic, presumably to make people pay to enjoy their contents.  But the covers…oh gosh…

As I said, I was 20, maybe 21 and I thought I knew everything there was to know about how to have sex.  Well…no.  As it turned out, there were Lots of other ways.  Lots and Lots and Lots of other ways.  Being a gay guy I felt somewhat enlightened and tolerant by the fact that the thought of heterosexuals getting it on really didn’t bother or gross me out.  But clearly what I had been imagining was only the Reader’s Digest version.  Here before my eyes was the unabridged, and little Baptist boy me was horrified.  No…I won’t go into details.  The details aren’t important.

Eventually I worked my way clear to the back where, in a corner, was the Much smaller gay section. Once more I beheld a universe of sexual possibilities I really had absolutely no interest in, and many of which to be perfectly honest grossed me out considerably.  But I must also honestly admit there were some magazines back there that definitely tweaked my interest. Unsurprisingly these were the ones that matched the imaginings of sex I’d had since my hormones started percolating. Some of the guys in them were beautiful. During later visits I would actually buy a few of these.  But that wasn’t my goal just then.  Mostly I just wanted to see if I could get my newspapers and be out of there.  And sure enough, right at the very bottom of one of those shelves, were copies of the Blade and The Advocate, and nearby, a couple gay softcore titles I’d never seen before.  Playboy could sit in the front, but gay softcore had to sit with the straight hard core porn because…well…it was gay after all.

I much preferred going to Lambda Rising, but for about the next decade, when I couldn’t get downtown, I made the trek to ADULT BOOKS and got my newspapers.

So…dig it Dave…for almost a decade I had to walk a gauntlet of heterosexual pornography just to get my damn newspapers.

I am so sorry for you.  I mean…a coach for goodness sakes…and here you are like a freshly minted teenage boy so fascinated, so completely preoccupied with sex, and yet blissfully naive about it all.  How did that happen to a guy your age?  The thought of one man having oral sex with another grosses you out does it?  I could tell you things that heterosexuals do that would curdle your milk Dave.  You poor sorry soul.  I have a suggestion.  Never…Never…order up one of those adults only channels next time you’re on the road without your wife.  You might have a heart attack.

by Bruce | Link | React! (5)

April 26th, 2012

I’ll Bet This Isn’t Funny Either

[New And Improved!]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I’ll Bet This Isn’t Funny Either

April 25th, 2012


I’ll endure a lot of things, but after I’ve worked so hard to earn a person’s trust a thin skin isn’t one of them.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Notice

April 24th, 2012

A Little Coffee And Embarrassment To Wake You Up In The Morning…

So I see Gideon Sundbäck, the inventor of “Hookless No. 2”, essentially the modern metal zipper, was born today. And everyone who hits Google this morning will learn that fact too. Well most everyone. There will be some out there just as discomposed about it all as I and never work up the nerve to pull on that zipper.

I sat there for several minutes staring at the Google doodle not sure what to do, looked around to make sure none of my office mates could see, then finally went ahead an unzipped it, slightly embarrassed about the whole thing. Laugh at me, I was raised in a Baptist household. I never touched the zipper on Sticky Fingers either when they were real ones, deeply embarrassed that I was even tempted by it.

[Update…] The Christian Science Monitor reports that the zipper had a hard time catching on and notes…

Despite the devices attributes, the public was not receptive,” writes fashion historian Ronald Knoth. “The pulpit decried, ‘The Hookless Fastener’ as ‘the Devils fingers,’ [because it made it easier] to remove clothing with autonomy.

Saw it coming did ya?  And so as the years went by, the sound of zippers unzipping began to play in the background of every adolescent’s daydreams…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Little Coffee And Embarrassment To Wake You Up In The Morning…

April 23rd, 2012

Some Days I Really Regret Not Going To Art School. And…Not Ever Having Had A Boyfriend…

As I often do, I posted the last couple sketches here onto my Facebook page with a brief explanation…

I’m finding suddenly that technical pencil and a graphite stick work pretty well for me on these sorts of sketches. If I tweak the contrast up in Photoshop they almost look inked but they aren’t. Just pencil and graphite drawn on layout paper, then scanned in.

The models for these are mostly taken from fashion spreads I find here and there online and in magazines, like Out, Details and GQ. I have a filing cabinet folder full of poses I tore out of magazines I use as a reference. When I get in the mood to do one of these sorts of sketches I dig up a pose I like, do a rough sketch of the body, then just add whatever face, hair and clothes to it that come to mind.

It’s probably not as good as sketching from life would be but it’s the best I can manage. If I had it to do all over again I’d move mountains to be able to afford art school.

A friend there responded that I could always hire a model. But that doesn’t fit into how I work on these.  When I do a political cartoon I do almost the entire thing in my head before I even touch pencil to paper.  I know with a pretty good certainly what I want to see on the paper when I begin drawing it out.  But these drawings of beautiful guys are more like daydreams.  As I said in the previous post, the wistful daydreams of a single guy, who has been single just about all his life.

I wouldn’t know where to even begin with a professional, or even an amateur model. What I have are file cabinet folder full of pages I’ve torn over the years from fashion spreads in magazines like Out, Details and GQ.  I use those as a reference when I sit down to a little sexy sketching.  I do a rough of the body in the photo, and then I work on it, firming up the lines, moving them a tad here and there to get the body shape I want.  I add face, hairstyle and clothes purely from my imagination. I have done this for so long now I have no idea how I would work with a model.

When I was a lot younger…about the age of the guys you see me drawing here, I had a small group of friends I would hang out with and I would snap photos of them. But I don’t have anyone that age in my local group of friends now, for pretty obvious reasons, and even if I did, they’d be of their own time and place and I strongly doubt I could talk any of them into dressing like they’d just stepped out of the 1970s. So those days are gone to me and with them I guess pretty much the last opportunities I would ever have to draw from life in a way that would be both helpful and inspiring. I might see spontaneous things and snap away with my camera, or if someone was patient enough, I’d ask them to pose. But that isn’t the life I have.  If I’d had a boyfriend I’d have probably driven him nuts by now with all my sudden requests to pose while we were out and about. But that wasn’t the life I had.

My art sketches, as you can plainly see, are mostly young twenty-somethings. If you look closely what you see is they’re from a time when I was that age too. I’m stuck. I think this is what happens when you don’t connect, miss out on that chance for first love. You get stuck in a passage of life you were always meant to move on from. That dating and mating thing is part of the maturity process and when you fail at it a part of you gets stuck in that younger mindset, that once upon a time frame. Yes, a part of you does go on to some sort of maturity. You get a job, you enter the workforce, you start earning a living on your own, and accumulate responsibilities in the normal course of life. And you learn to fulfill those responsibilities, be dependable, because others at your workplace depend on you. You earn trust, you manage your finances, you gain various kinds of life experience and it grows you inside. All but one life experience. All but one so very vital life experience. And so a part of you does not get that chance to grow.

And yes, it’s not a completely dire fate. Keeping that youthful mindset keeps a part of you inside awake that too many adults let go to sleep. You ask questions the middle age guy might shrug off. You stay curious, open to new ideas, willing to turn the box upside down, never mind think outside of it, just to see what happens when you do that. So many of my generational peers are still afraid of computers and the Internet and the new technologies, so afraid of being left behind, and to me the fact that the world is constantly changing before my eyes, growing, getting bigger, is the same feeling it always was back in grade school. Something I have learned from being stuck, is that there is no such thing as growing up…there is only growing.

And if you’ve gotten on with the business of life with your eyes open, both to the inner and outer world, then you know well that a younger lover would not get you unstuck. What I need is someone my own age, or nearby. Someone who remembers what the world was like when John Lennon was still alive, before personal computers, cell phones and the Internet. Before cable TV and twenty-four hour cable TV news and over the horizon line was a beautiful tempting mysterious other world only expensive long distance phone calls could penetrate before the six o:clock news or the morning newspaper. Back when cars had lots of chrome and the teachers passed out assignment papers that smelled of mimeograph fluid and Jimi Hendrx played on the radio, not Rush Limbaugh. I could be a kid again with that guy. I could find my way to the rest of growing up that I missed out on.

Maybe then my artwork would grow up a little too. Or go in some different direction that I would have never known or suspected was even there had I not, finally, found my lover, and had my eyes opened to things I’d only imagined before, but never really knew anything about.

[Edited a tad for clarity in a few spots…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Some Days I Really Regret Not Going To Art School. And…Not Ever Having Had A Boyfriend…

April 22nd, 2012

And Now, For Something Completely Sexy…

Here’s a little something for the (according to my server logs) fans of my sketches of cute guys in cutoffs. They’re just wistful daydreaming on my part…I had no idea anyone really liked these. But while I was on vacation my web site got Google hits from people specifically looking for my name and cutoffs. Wow. I may be no Tom of Finland (whose males I never found attractive but I was in awe of his skill with a pencil) but I could do worse then be known for drawing beautiful guys in cutoffs.

Normally you Google for images of nice looking guys in cutoffs and what you get are a lot of pictures of guys who really shouldn’t be wearing these at all, which people post as a way of ridiculing cutoffs…or at any rate, cutoffs on guys. Yes, yes…you need the physique for it…but lotsa guys have that and in any case the ridicule isn’t about guys who have no fashion common sense, it’s about reenforcing the male fear of looking too sexy below the waste because that’s teh gay.

When I was a young adult this look wasn’t uncommon even on straight guys (though admittedly straight guys didn’t usually wear them quite This short…) and I guess my emerging libido just glommed onto it. But damn I like this look and I reckon I’ll just keep drawing it…

If this means I’m stuck in the past so be it. As I said, these are just the random wistful daydreams of a single guy. If you like them then I’m happy. If you think they’re ridiculous then go away.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on And Now, For Something Completely Sexy…

April 11th, 2012

Message In A Bottle

Every now and then, like yesterday morning I run into a fellow American who has spent time in Germany.  When I tell them I want to visit there someday they all tell me I should definitely go.  They always say Germany is a really great place and their time there was just wonderful.  And if some of their time was spent in Bavaria, I always ask them what Bavaria is like compared to the rest of Germany.  And the first thing they always say about Bavaria is that it is a Very Conservative part of Germany.  Also, generally very expensive to live in.  But Very Conservative is always the first thing that comes to their minds, when it comes to Bavaria.  Not just conservative, but Very Conservative.

So I’m guessing it would probably be hard to be a gay kid there.  Or to be a gay kid whose family is from there.

On the other hand, it’s hard for gay kids here in the U.S. too, in some states.  The mostly rural conservative states anyway.  You see a lot of them who have fled to the more liberal, tolerant states or cities to get away.  But it’s hard to get away from your family.  Those kids, they always have the most difficult time of it, even when they’re out and proud and living in the gay ghettos.  What happens is they just learn to live with the stress of family relationships and move on with their lives.  Because one way or another it’s going to be hard.  Everyone who comes out of the closet does so knowing what is on the other side of that closet door.  So you might as well just be yourself.  You can’t please everyone.  But you can be real.

That’s something I learned ages ago, ironically well before I entered adolescence and found myself having to deal with being gay.  See…mom’s family positively hated dad, and dad’s family.  After my parents divorced when I was about two, mom moved me back across the country and I grew up here in Maryland instead of California (which I will probably go to my grave regretting except for the fact that I met you).  And since I had dad’s face, I got a lot of flack growing up just for being his son.  Stinking Rotten Good-For-Nothing Garrett Just Like Your Pap was grandma’s favorite name for me (where mom couldn’t hear it), even though I was a pretty well behaved kid.  But I had his face, and grandma hated dad, and I was handy.  So I caught the flack.  And gay people catch a lot of flack too, simply because we are handy.

So you see, when I turned seventeen and came out to myself I’d already had a childhood knowing that some people would hate me just for something I was and couldn’t help being.  But I knew I was loved too.  Mom never let me doubt that.  So much as it distressed me, I just learned to live with the fact that grandma and others just didn’t like me because I was my father’s son and I would never change that, and I got on with my life.  Mom loved me.  I knew I was loved.  I knew I could be loved.  That was all I needed to grow up on.

Here’s what gay people know: strangers can gay bash you, beat the living crap out of you, take your life from you, but only relatives can chew your heart up and spit it out.  What we learn from it is this: your family are the people who love you just as you are.  That’s the real family you have.  Everyone else is just a relative.

Just a fact.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Message In A Bottle

April 10th, 2012

And Just Who Exactly Are You Hiding From Mr. Zimmerman? No…It Isn’t Black People…

So Zimmerman is out of touch. Nobody could have predicted this obviously.  Here’s my two cents: What I have been seeing, admittedly from a distance and in second third and forth hand telling, is a man who is fundamentally stupid in some ways, has anger problems, but is remarkably quick witted.

Consider: if he shot that kid after he had him down on the ground and the kid was crying out for help, and then told the first witness on the scene that he was the one crying for help, that says a lot.  A very disturbing lot.  Stupid people can still be very quick witted like that.  Especially if they’ve had a lot of practice at it.  My hunch is he’s been good up until now at getting away with things.  And this time his lack of internal brakes finally took him into a very bad place and he’s out of his depth and now he’s afraid.

This is what I see…from a distance…second, third and forth hand…take it for what it’s worth: He was never hiding from black anger.  He knew what he did that day.  He knew.  It’s been replaying in an infinite loop over and over again in his thoughts.  What he did.  What could happen to him if people find out.  The public posturing is that he is afraid of black revenge.  No.  He has been in hiding all this time from the law.  It isn’t black anger he’s afraid of.  It’s the Florida gas chamber. Remote as that possibility may be in actuality, because let’s face it, the kid was black and this is Florida, it’s been looming over him ever since he pulled the trigger.  Pulled the trigger on a teenaged boy who was crying desperately for anyone to come help.  He knows what he did that night.

This sudden escape…his attorneys backing out…I’m guessing there is evidence out there that is terrifying him right now and that these lawyers just don’t want their names remembered in what is to come.

[Update…] I’m reading now that Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey may charge Zimmerman as early as today.  This is interesting:

Corey has indicated in recent weeks that she might not need a grand jury to bring charges against Zimmerman.

My hunch here since Zimmerman’s lawyers announced they lost contact with him has been that there is evidence out there that he hoped or trusted the Standford police would simply ignore once he claimed a “stand your ground” defense.  Then the shooting of Trayvon Martin became national news and that evidence is still out there and it is terrifying him.  I think Corey saying she did not need a grand jury to press charges is indicative that she has that evidence. Of course I could be spectacularly wrong about all of this.  Like everyone else in the nation (except Zimmerman and Corey) I know what I know many steps removed from the actual evidence.  But this seems to fit.  Also this from Zimmerman’s former lawyers:

Lawyers Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig on Tuesday expressed concern about Zimmerman’s emotional and physical well-being, saying he has taken actions without consulting them. They also said they do not know where Zimmerman is.

“You can stop looking in Florida,” Uhrig told reporters. “Look much further away than that.”

At a guess…he’s no longer in the country.  His father is a retired judge.  Be interesting to know if Zimmerman’s former lawyers had any talks with the father before they bailed.

[Update…]  I’m reading now that in Florida you can’t charge someone with first degree murder without a grand jury indictment.  So whatever Corey has, or thinks she does, it seems it’s not enough for that.

Thing is…she would know what a high hurtle she is facing because of “stand your ground.”  If it’s not a serious charge with evidence to back it up then it may as well be no charge at all.

[Update…] He’s in custody so I hear, which means he didn’t flee so far after all.  Why is lawyers lost contact with him and one of them said “look much further away” beats me.  But he has a new lawyer who I’m hearing was calling “stand your ground” a license to murder just a few days ago.  But a good lawyer defends their client regardless of personal belief or they don’t take that client on.  Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder, which as I understand it in Florida is you didn’t plan it, but you did it deliberately nonetheless.  I’ve heard nothing so far about the evidence she has.

I’m wondering what the autopsy showed.  I keep hearing that Trayvon Martin was found face down on the grass.  The witnesses say they saw, unclearly, two figures, one on top of the other and then there was a shot.  One witness, who was later “corrected” by the police says she saw Zimmerman on top and then heard two shots.  So did the autopsy show that Martin was shot in the back?  Was the bullet found?  Was it in the ground below Martin or somewhere else?  Did Corey spend all this time knowing the evidence at least supported second degree murder but trying to find evidence to support first degree murder and she decided she could not successfully prove that much?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on And Just Who Exactly Are You Hiding From Mr. Zimmerman? No…It Isn’t Black People…

April 8th, 2012

I Am Not Obsessed With Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex

Roy Edroso writes gleefully about the argument Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher are having about what it means to be a good Christian. I won’t go into detail about it here, you should just go read Roy’s post over at Alicublog. But (since I can’t post comments over there because the JS-Kit commenting engine he uses is just too goddamned cranky) I want to just take note of one thing that leaped out at me. This is Dreher speaking…

It’s interesting how so many liberal Christians accuse conservatives of being obsessed with sex, yet so much of their own writing and activism focuses on sex and sexuality, especially homosexuality.

In case you missed it, Dreher is saying right there that whenever you talk about Teh Gay you are talking about sex. Equal marriage rights for gay couples? Sex. Protecting gay people from discrimination in the workplace? Sex. Anti-bullying campaigns in the schools to protect gay kids? Sex. The horrific rise in anti-gay violence in recent years? Sex.

But no, he’s not obsessed with sex.  He’s a bigot who can’t see the people for the homosexuals. He is a man who simply cannot grasp that homosexuals might have lives too, apart from their bedroom shenanigans, just like the heterosexuals do. Heterosexuals have lives, homosexuals have sex.

Remember, this is the guy who wrote an entire post off of a news story about a man surviving the home invasion massacre that killed his entire family, to vent about how shocked he was to discover “a bisexual culture” in East Texas.  No he’s not obsessed with sex, he’s a bigot. His hated other is that ingrown hair, that burr under his saddle, that itch he just can’t scratch. Everything he reads that even remotely touches on gay people, even the massacre of an entire family, becomes a story about sex because that is all homosexuals amount to.  He is not obsessed with sex.  He’s obsessed with homosexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexuals.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I Am Not Obsessed With Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex

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