Bruce Garrett Cartoon
The Cartoon Gallery

A Coming Out Story
A Coming Out Story

My Photo Galleries
New and Improved!

Past Web Logs
The Story So Far archives

My Amazon.Com Wish List

My Myspace Profile

Bruce Garrett's Profile
Bruce Garrett's Facebook profile


Blogs I Read!
Alicublog

Wayne Besen

Box Turtle Bulletin

Daily Kos

Mike Daisy's Blog

The Disney Blog

Disney Gossip

Brad DeLong

Dispatches From The Culture Wars

Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

Envisioning The American Dream

Eschaton

Ex-Gay Watch

Hullabaloo

Joe. My. God

Made In Brazil

Peterson Toscano

Progress City USA

Slacktivist

Slacktiverse

SLOG

Fear the wrath of Sparky!

Truth Wins Out Blog

Wil Wheaton



Gone But Not Forgotten

The Rittenhouse Review

Steve Gilliard's News Blog

Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site



Great Cartoon Sites!

Howard Cruse Central

Tripping Over You
Tripping Over You

XKCD

Commando Cody Monthly

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade




Other News & Commentary

Amtrak In The Heartland

Corridor Capital

Railway Age

Maryland Weather Blog

Foot's Forecast

All Facts & Opinions

Baltimore Crime

Cursor

HinesSight

Page One Q
(GLBT News)


Michelangelo Signorile

The Smirking Chimp

Talking Points Memo

Truth Wins Out

The Raw Story

Slashdot




International News & Views

BBC

NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)

Mexico Daily

The Local (Sweden)




News & Views from Germany

Spiegel Online

The Local

Deutsche Welle

Young Germany




Fun Stuff

It's not news. It's FARK

Plan 59

Pleasant Family Shopping

Discount Stores of the 60s

Retrospace

Photos of the Forgotten

Boom-Pop!

Comics With Problems

HMK Mystery Streams




Mercedes Love!

Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz TV

Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America

MBCA - Greater Washington Section

BenzInsider

Mercedes-Benz Blog

BenzWorld Forum

June 10th, 2020

From Our Department Of Imponderable Things

Continuing my Facebook Memories from my Disney World Vacation of 2015…this final snapshot flew by this morning…

At least this blog doesn’t throw the past back in my face unless I go looking for it. How do things go from all warm smiles and cheerful carefree conversation to mutually assured friendship destruction in just under a year?

I appreciate that I can be intense and hard to handle from time to time, but by 2015 he’d already know that and we were still good. I have close friends who know me from our grade school days and they’re all use to me. I get exuberant. I get moody. I get quiet. I will talk your ears off. Yeah I chatted with him a bunch in email. But he always answered back. He seemed to like hearing from me. Like when I passed him technical details of the German diesel emissions scandal, or that Youtube of a couple guys drinking German beer laced with helium. He loved it. I geek out about things that interest me. But they interested him too. We had so many mutual interests. Space. Technology. Current events…we were on the same page there. Sometimes he’d tell me to just get to the point. Everybody tells me that. I don’t just explain things, I tell stories. Discovery is the joy of life. The journey is the point too. I wear my heart on my sleeve. He’d seen all that since high school. He saw sides of me that nobody else sees. He knew me. Either he was faking it, and every smile he ever gave me, or something really got to him that spring in 2016.

I can’t believe he was faking it. None of my theories add up. He just blew up at me. And I did too because it wasn’t fair. And that was that. I’ll probably never know what it was. Maybe if he’d told me what it was I would have stayed home that time and let it pass and we’d still be talking. Maybe. But it’s probably for the best.

That’s a really small comfort zone you have there.

 


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on From Our Department Of Imponderable Things
June 9th, 2020

How To Experience Driving While Black In America Even If You’re Not

Get a standard poodle…

I have not told this story before. I worry how it will be received. I don’t know the right language to express it other than my own thoughts and feelings. This post is not for people of color because they already know it. This is for white people living in suburbs and small towns who think this is a big city problem and “It’s not my town.”

Before moving to New York City, I drove every where. I got pulled over 3 times in 15 years; two speeding tickets and an illegal left hand turn.

The first year I was back in Michigan, I got pulled over 5 times. Each time it was for impeding traffic and I did not get a ticket.

Read her story. She got pulled over five times in one year, for bullshit traffic offences. Sometimes the cop walked up to her car and unbuckled his holster. One cop kept his hand on his gun the entire time, even after he realized she didn’t have a black man in the car with her. It was her poodle, Merlin.

She notes in her blog post that John Steinbeck told of a similar experience of mistaken identity in his travelog, Travels With Charley. I first read Travels when I was a young boy, and it lit a fire in me for the open road. But it also told me a few things about my country that frightened me. Steinbeck drove through the south just as the black civil rights movement was gaining steam. The Warren Supreme Court had ordered schools to desegregate and the outrage in the south was already turning bloody. Occasionally people there would mistake Charley for a black man riding with him…

I went through Beaumont at night, or rather in the dark well after midnight. The blue fingered man who filled my gas tank looked in at Charley and said, “Hey, it’s a dog! I thought you had a nigger in there.” And he laughed delightedly. It was the first of many repetitions. At least twenty times I heard it – “Thought you had a nigger in there.” It was an unusual joke – always fresh – and never Negro or even Nigra, always Nigger or rather Niggah. That word seemed terribly important, a kind of safety word to cling to lest some structure collapse.

-John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley In Search Of America

Not all poodles are toy size. I had a neighbor once who had a Standard poodle and I saw him walking it every now and then down our streets. They have a noble, regal poise and walk. Some dogs just know they’re royalty. Like Charley, hers would have been sitting upright in the passenger seat, because to slouch is beneath some dogs. And she got pulled over five times in a year for bullshit traffic violations because the cop thought she was riding with a black man. And sometimes they unsnapped their gun holsters as they approached the car. And one even kept his hand on his gun the entire time, even after he realized her passenger was her dog. And that had never happened to her before.

Since Merlin died, I have not been pulled over once.

If you want to know what it’s like driving while black in the land of the free and the home of the brave, buy yourself a “Standard” poodle (yes, that is the type) and drive around with it in the car. Fair warning though…you might get shot.

 


Posted In: Life Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)
June 8th, 2020

Memories Of Standing On The Outside Of The Comfort Zone Looking In

Facebook tossed this memory from today, 2015 in my face just now. I was visiting Walt Disney World and I had to vent…

Some days I visit he’s being a jerk and doesn’t want to talk to me. Others, like last night, he’s all warm smiles and cheerful eyes and just can’t stop talking and we stay long past park closing time and I’m walking on air all the way back to my room. But then it’s always why can’t we spend some time together outside the park and his comfort zone won’t allow it.

So either way I have to struggle to get my vacation started back up again. If he’s grouchy then I’m miserable and just want to go home. I’ve called vacations off early when it’s been that. If he’s full of sunshine and smiles then I feel like I’ve hit the high point of my trip and why bother staying. There’s that back to the reality of things after the visit let-down to climb back out of somehow. I have to remind myself I need the break regardless.

This morning I’ll hit the grocery store for some perishables I couldn’t bring down with me, and more ice tea, and maybe something from the liquor store so I’m not always paying Disney prices for alcohol. Then spend the rest of the week chilling out, maybe working some more on A Coming Out Story (I brought my drawing things). But I’m in a state now I really have no words for, or at any rate words I’m willing to speak. He said something to me that lifted me out of myself in a way only someone who really gets you can. And it took a load off my psyche certain other gay someone’s I know weighed me down with for years.

It was all about how I don’t interact well with people. Too shy, too self absorbed, blah, blah, blah, your photography has no people in it, blah, blah, blah… Biergarten is “Octoberfest” seating, which means you get seated at a table with other random guests and you’re expected to talk and share a good time together. This time I was seated with a group that seemed really stand-offish. They just gave off chilly vibes. But after a while I got them talking about where they’re from and what they do, and of course when they found out I work at Space Telescope and on Hubble and James Webb they got all interested in that. And by the end of the night we were all chatting happily.

And after they left he and I were chatting and he noticed too how chilly that group was initially. He’s worked this line of business for so long now he can probably read a table the second he walks up to it. Then he said he’d always seen me open people up and that I was good at it and that I was always getting everyone talking and having a good time no matter how chilly the table seemed at first.

Well…yeah… One thing is you always know you’re with other Disney people here…so that’s something. It’s not like you’re in some random bar with bad mood people. We’re all Disney people here. And that Disney kid just comes out of me here. It’s a kind of freedom to be that kid I once was I never really appreciated I was missing before I started coming here. But I’m not the hopelessly detached single certain other people somehow managed to convince me I am either. I’m not that…so how did I get to thinking of myself like that? He just pulled that out of me with a few words and the look on his face when he said it.

He does that. It’s when someone shows you things about yourself you didn’t know, but should have known, that makes it serious. And…it’s been like that since we were teenagers. When he’s not in a touchy mood, it’s still like that.

But we never got the chance other kids did. And now he has his comfort zone, and I need to get on with my vacation. Somehow.

It was around this time that I’d figured out that if I told him in advance I was coming down he wouldn’t have anything to do with me, but if I just showed up it was all smiles and happy face and good times. Something just less than a year later we had nuclear war…I’d told him I was coming down and he lied about being on a ski trip and I shouldn’t bother and I came down anyway and he was so stand-offish even the new servers there noticed something was wrong with him. Afterward he sent me a nastygram telling me never to speak to him again and I blew up because I hadn’t done anything wrong or said anything to him I hadn’t said dozens of times before…and it was all over, and with it every memory I ever had about it being good…wonderful even. It’s amazing what tricks memory can play on you. If it wasn’t for these occasional Facebook memories I wouldn’t remember it ever being good with him now, not even back in high school. But it was. I wasn’t twitterpated for no reason. He felt it too. But whereas it lifted me out of myself, erased every shred of guilt or shame I might have had, it must have done the opposite to him.

…which set a pattern for the rest of my life. Because I would always fall for the nice boys…the ones I might have met in a better world at a church social, or coffee house. But in the world I grew up in all those nice boys were terrified. They didn’t want their families to hate them, they didn’t want God to hate them.

I’ve made my allegiances, I have to stay in my comfort zone…

So it goes. I reckon. I should get back to work on A Coming Out Story now that Facebook gave me that. But everything from back in the day is bad now. I finally found the guy I wrote about in this blog post (link) and he didn’t win his race. His life took a really bad turn through no fault of his and discovering that is really heartbreaking. And now this Facebook memory is something else to tap me on the shoulder, and whisper in my ear that everything is pointless.

In my senior years I’m basically just walking forward on auto pilot, going through the motions because what else is there to do…


Posted In: Life
Tags: , , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Memories Of Standing On The Outside Of The Comfort Zone Looking In
June 7th, 2020

Remembering What’s Important In Life

Saw this on Twitter just now…

 

It’s good to remember the important things in life during these stressful days. Or to paraphrase a certain someone who swears he never reads this blog, when you’re on your deathbed it won’t be all the times you had sex you’ll remember, but all the people who helped you dump that slave owner’s statue in the river next to where his ships once docked…


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Remembering What’s Important In Life
June 5th, 2020

The Path With Heart In A Time Of Darkness

There are moments lately I feel like a prisoner in my own house; not the one I’m paying a fixed mortgage on, but the house within, the one with the endless mortgage. It’s been quite a year so far, if I start counting from the month of my heart attack. The doctor who wheeled me into the operating room for my angioplasty said I seemed very calm for someone who’d just been told he was having a heart attack. I said that now at least I knew what was happening. The thing of it is, knowledge doesn’t always make you feel better, but at least it brings an inward steadiness. Now you have a reference point. An island of calm in a landscape of uncertainty.

I apologize to friends who may be thinking that I’m withdrawing lately. I’m probably still in a state of shock. Finding out what happened to a friend from my teen years has knocked me for a loop in a way even mom’s death did not. In the normal course of life you expect to outlive your parents, deep dark grief though it is when it comes. To loose track of a friend, carefree, smart, good hearted, beautiful, for decades, only to find them lost to mental illness, and homelessness shakes the few certainties you managed to hold on to in your old age. Something taps you on the shoulder and whispers in your ear, “Everything is pointless.”

Yes it is. But no it isn’t. Don Juan said, “All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.” The subtle truth you learn is that while the path with heart can be a joyful journey, joy does not erase the darkness any more than knowledge does. But at least there is calm.

I have managed to be one with all the paths I’ve followed since I was a teenage boy. I am still. I have my art. I have my tools. I am one with my path. But paths don’t always make it plain where they go. You hope for the best, you walk forward expectantly, always with your eyes wide open. But it’s the path you follow because that is the path with heart. You try to keep in mind that it goes nowhere. Even so, you are somewhere. Eric Sevareid said Hillary climbed the mountain not because it was there, but because he was.


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Path With Heart In A Time Of Darkness
May 28th, 2020

The Cartoon That Was Not, About The Loves That Were Not…

…and the life that was not.

I’m going through some Google Docs looking for something and stumble across this script for a cartoon was going to do for my 60th birthday. I managed to get a few pencil sketches done but never finished it. For some reason.

This riffs off a running gag in Tim Barela’s wonderful gay comic strip Leonard and Larry…which he described once as a kind of gay Our Miss Brooks. Every tenth year Larry had a birthday all his anxieties about getting old surfaced in a dream that he was having his birthday party while laying in a coffin with a birthday cake on it and his friends making catty jokes about his getting old. Picasso said a mediocre artist copies and a great artist steals. So I stole the idea (with proper acknowledgement). But the only thing I managed to finish was the script. Probably for the best…

Here it is. As Joe Friday and my own Sargeant Stoneface would say, The names have been changed to protect the innocent. And especially the not so innocent!


The Big Six-O!
(Slightly Anonymised) 

SCENE: My birthday party.  a’La Leonard & Larry, I’m in a casket with the lid open and a birthday cake on the bottom half lid that reads Happy 60th.  Surrounding me are my three loves. We shall call them CRUSH1, CRUSH2 and CRUSH3.

PANEL 1: (Most of the following panels are as above.)

ME: I really appreciate the party you guys, and this coffin’s a swell gag, but I have to admit the margarita embalming fluid bottles was a brilliant touch.

CRUSH2: I liked the asperen bottles labeled “For Headaches Due To Lovestruck Bruce”.

CRUSH3: That was 1’s idea.


PANEL 2:

ME: (off panel) Ha, ha… Yes, very funny…

CRUSH1: (to the others) Drove me crazy back in high school watching him try to work up the nerve to tell me he had a crush on me.

CRUSH2: (rolling his eyes) I had to deal with Overly Attached Gayfriend.

CRUSH3: Tell me about it. He actually thought we were boyfriends just because I let him sleep with me a few times.

 

PANEL 3: Closeup on Crush2 and Crush3

CRUSH2: Sparks didn’t fly eh?

CRUSH3: (Looking morosely down at his drink) Let’s just say I went Ex-Gay for six years.

 

PANEL 4: Closeup on me and Crush1

CRUSH1: (Smiling, gesturing to me while looking at the others off panel) Quick, tell NARTH! We’ve found the cure for homosexuality!

ME: (Frowning) Ha, Ha.  Very Funny.

 

PANEL 5:

ME: Can I get out now?

CRUSH1: Not on your life.  We’re selling you off as a collector’s item. 

CRUSH2: (gesturing to the ages) The gay man that never had a boyfriend. Too young to be liberated in 1971, too old to marry anyone in 2013.

CRUSH3: You’re a museum piece.

 

PANEL 6:

ME: You sold me to a museum?

CRUSH2: Museum?  Are you kidding?  We sold you to Disney World.

CRUSH3: You’re going to be a prop in the Haunted Mansion queue.

CRUSH1: I’ll stop by every now and then before my shift to dust you off.

 

PANEL 7:

ME: I’m dreaming all this aren’t I?  This is all about my anxieties over getting old isn’t it…and you guys are here representing the three chances for love Vonnegut spoke of…

CRUSH1: We prefer to think of ourselves as your three strikes.

 

PANEL 8:

ME: This is going to turn into a nightmare now isn’t it?

CRUSH1: You’re not asleep dear, you’re hallucinating.

CRUSH2: You drank half that bottle of tequila all by yourself and when you sober up again you’re going to feel like you’re 160.

 

With Apologies to Tim Barela and Larry Evans…

 


Posted In: Art Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Cartoon That Was Not, About The Loves That Were Not…
May 27th, 2020

Larry Kramer

This came in the news today…

Larry Kramer, Playwright and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84

He worked hard to shock the country into dealing with AIDS as a public-health emergency. But his confrontational approach could sometimes overshadow his achievements.

Larry Kramer got a lot of static for his novel, Faggots, first published in 1978, but the line in it about how “The fucking we’re getting’s not worth the fucking we’re getting” is one I treasure for it’s righteous anger. Sexual liberation was good and necessary, but insufficient while politicians and the media continued to vilify us, and the system continued it’s relentless persecution of us. We were consigned to the gutter, the poetry of our lives and loves erased as though everything about us was perversion and pornography. Heterosexuals got prom night, the happily ever after story. We got the public toilets and bathhouses. Heterosexuals got an ideal to strive for in love and in life. We got a relentless torrent of vitriol and hate, so that we should hate ourselves at least as much if not more than they hated us. When Kramer wrote Faggots, too many people were too willing to accept sexual liberation as enough. But the fucking we were getting was not worth the fucking we were getting. 

Our struggle was for wholeness. Activist and media critic Vito Russo once said it was, “…an old stereotype, that homosexuality has to do only with sex while heterosexuality is multifaceted and embraces love and romance.” And it was a common complaint back then, that by simply living our lives openly we were flaunting “it”. If I heard it once I heard it hundreds of times in the media, in letters to the editor, to my face that they didn’t care what we did in the bedroom as long as we didn’t flaunt “it” in public. But it wasn’t what we did in the bedroom that mattered to any of them, because obviously we weren’t actually having sex in public.

“It” was the holding of hands, the public declaration of love and romance, that our essential humanity, and our human needs of companionship and the longing for more than simply sexual intimacy, but body and soul communion…”It” was the public visibility that our desires and needs were little different from anyone else’s…that we did exist and that we were human beings that outraged the bigots. Because of course it did. The hated other cannot be allowed to be human. We had to be monsters, so that sticking their knives in our hearts could not be a crime against humanity.

Our struggle was for wholeness. Larry Kramer was a fierce warrior for that wholeness. He will be missed. ACT-UP, the AIDS activist organization Kramer founded, said today, “We are all orphans now.” But we carry on. We persist. For the honor and the dignity of our lives, and our loves.


Posted In: Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Larry Kramer
May 24th, 2020

Well Since I Can’t Go Anywhere This Holiday Weekend…

…I might as well do some lawn work. Especially since the rainy spring has made it hard to get it done previously. Gets the grass and weeds growing though…

So I took care of my tiny backyard in lieu of going to Ocean City NJ or somewhere…like Walt Disney World which is closed now except for maybe Disney Springs. But Florida is a hot spot I don’t want to get into for the foreseeable future. Still don’t think I’m putting any flowers or garden lights out this season because going to the lawn and garden stores just for that seems a frivolous reason to catch the virus So the best I can do for the outside of my house this year is just basic maintenance which I can do without going to the store. I sharpened the lawn mower blades a couple weeks ago, and did some repairs to the Ryobi weed whacker. At least I can keep things from looking like an abandoned house.

Standing on my deck, exhausted but pleased with the results, I had a sudden strong urge for a cigar. First really strong urge I’ve had since just before the heart attack. I’ve actually been surprised I haven’t been periodically getting those urges, but I reckon cigars just aren’t as addictive as cigarettes. No I didn’t.

Haven’t smoked one since the first week of October last year. I am well aware of the stress they put on my cardiovascular system…at least the smooth strong ones I’ve always enjoyed. It was a package deal with the pleasant nicotine buzz I got. I could feel my veins constricting. So I knew perfectly well what I was doing to myself. But I needed that nicotine buzz from time to time in my stressed out life. I’m actually surprised my psyche hasn’t demanded more of that since the heart attack. But just now it did and I didn’t. My psyche demands a lot of things of me that I either can’t or won’t give it, or infinitely defer it. Another trip to California for instance, right this minute for instance.


Posted In: Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Well Since I Can’t Go Anywhere This Holiday Weekend…
May 18th, 2020

Some Days The Only Way You Know You’re Alive Is By How Much It Hurts…

The more I read about schizophrenia the more I just want to curl up into a ball, cry my eyes out for a few hours, then go retire to some Ted Kaczynski cabin in the deep woods where I have no connection to the rest of the world and I don’t have to know what has happened to anyone I ever knew or felt anything for…in friendship or love…and I can imagine they all have wonderful lives and they’re having that happily ever after.

Don’t even bother asking me why I don’t believe in an almighty god anymore. But I still believe in love. It’s a real thing. I can tell by how badly it hurts.

So many things this human race needs to find a solution to, a cure for… Schizophrenia. Cancer. Cardiovascular disease. HIV. Loneliness. Death… We still have our work cut out for us…


Posted In: Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Some Days The Only Way You Know You’re Alive Is By How Much It Hurts…
May 17th, 2020

The Closet Is An Evil Place

…and not just for the ones in it.

My guilty pleasure during quarantine (or lockdown if you prefer) is watching re-runs of Forensic Files. It’s basically a procedural crime solving series that mixes documentary footage with sometimes disturbing reenactments. If I take anything away from it, besides the fact that the science is such now I don’t see how anything can think they’ll get away with murder, it’s how often women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It’s pretty sickening.

Occasionally, very occasionally, the victim is gay. Since their murder is being profiled on this series, you know in advance the killer will be caught and sent to prison. That relieves some of my stress watching one of these episodes. Once upon a time I and another user maintained a news section on our local gay BBS, and I saw a torrent of stories flash across the wire services about gay bashings and murders that happened here and there all across the country, nearly all of which never made the local newspapers or news broadcasts. We were the dirty secret best not talked about in family newspapers. Which was why we were so diligent about maintaining our BBS news section: back then there were very few ways of knowing what was happening to us. I’ve told the story before about how back in June 1977 I had to start up my shortwave radio and listen to the BBC to find out what the results were of Anita Bryant’s campaign to overturn gay equality laws in Dade County Florida, because none of the national or local news broadcasts even bothered to say one word about it.

So the other day I’m watching Forensic Files and see the episode Cop Out, about the murder of Jesse Valencia, a gay college student, by an older man, a police officer no less, who’d essentially been using him for sex. The cop met the kid after (I think) a traffic stop. Or maybe it was a loud party. The ticket he wrote for the kid was a piece of evidence used after the cop said he’d never met the kid and didn’t know him. It was a mutual thing until the boy found out the cop was married. He was young, proud, out, and he decided to break it off. And the cop killed him for it. The speculation, and that’s all it could have been, was he threatened to out the cop if he didn’t stop coming around, and that’s what provoked the murder. That’s the obvious motive…I can see why a lot of people might assume that was it…but I think seeing that self respecting pride in the kid telling him to go away because he didn’t want to be involved with a married man was what did it.

The forensic evidence against the cop was slight, but they nailed him. To this day he denies killing the kid, despite the fact of his body hair being found on the kid’s body, in the kid’s blood. 

Kids…don’t get involved with an older closeted gay person. Step by step they will try to drag you into their closet too. And if you refuse you may end up being a sacrifice to the empty mask the closet makes them wear every moment of their day.

 

Jesse Valencia


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Closet Is An Evil Place
May 7th, 2020

It’s In The Wiring

When I was a young man, and out to myself and mostly comfortable with it, I was invited to go on a motorcycle ride with a friend’s girlfriend, to see her father’s place. It would be, so she said, of interest to an artist such as myself. And so it was. She was rightly proud of him, but also a tad reluctant to let people meet him. He was of the sort of random creative genius whose artwork could not be contained. He’d made himself a house inside an old airplane hanger the interior of which seemed like an art museum. A haphazard yet fascinating art museum.

‘C’ invited me on a drive to see him on her BMW motorcycle. It was only the second motorcycle I’d ever taken a ride on, the first one being her boyfriend’s Harley. Her boyfriend and I were pals going back to when we were both teenagers and by that time he’d let me have lots of rides on his hog. I loved it. Plus, the design of the seats on a hog were such that the passenger on the back rode a tad higher than the driver, allowing you a better view.

‘C’s BMW had a seat that left the passenger staring into the back of the driver’s helmet unless you were taller, which I wasn’t. I got on and she started out and I put my hands on her hips because that was the only place I had to keep a grip on. She didn’t seem to mind.

As I said, by then I was out to myself, had been for years, and fairly comfortable with the idea of being sexually attracted to men. I knew at some deep down level that it wasn’t a matter of being afraid of women like the couch psychiatrists said. I wasn’t afraid of them, I was never sexually abused, nobody turned me homosexual. I simply had no interest. Women were not on my radar the way guys were. Some guys. Cute sexy guys (see my recent art posts). I wasn’t repelled, I just had no interest.

And just then all I wanted was to make sure I wouldn’t fall off the back of ‘C’s BMW. So I reached around and held onto her hips. It was the first time I’d really put my hands on and held onto a woman in my own age group. I had plenty of hugs from mom, and maybe though I don’t recall some of my other older female family and the other church women. This was a young women who, had I been a heterosexual male, I should have found myself attracted to, at least to some degree. She was lithe, physically fit, beautiful according to my left brain. My friend was head over heels in love with her.

My hands instantly discovered how soft and…well…squishy her body was. And my instantaneous reflex deep down inside was along the lines of Oh, that’s…odd…

This was a fairly outdoorsy, athletic young woman. And yet her body was…soft. Well defined, shapely even, according to my left brain anyway. You wouldn’t look at her and see anything overweight about her. But her body was…soft. Which I understood to be how it was with women. Logically I supposed this was something that excited heterosexual males about a woman’s body. But that was the first time I’d actually felt it. And it seemed strange. By then I’d had my hands on the hips of her boyfriend, ‘B’ many times while riding with him. For a short time I even had a crush on him. But if he wasn’t a perfect Kinsey 0 he was close to it. 

I remembered something much later after our ride…how ‘B’ had given me a ride on his hog one hot summer day. We had on our helmets, jeans and light summer shirts. His was opened in the front. Suddenly he told me to hang on, because he was going to punch it…something he knew I loved. That Harley might not have been race track material, but it had massive amounts of torque. When you got those flywheels going and banged it up a gear it was stunning. So I reached around and this one time my hands connected with the bare flesh over his stomach, felt the muscle under his skin, and instantly this electric sexual thrill shot right through me.

I never told him.

But there it is. In a nutshell, the difference between a male body and a female’s. It’s not just genitalia. It’s the physical totality of it. One is exciting. The other is…meh. That isn’t something you learn like a bad habit. It is how you’re wired.

When I was a teenager this was something the heterosexual majority didn’t seem to want to know. But we knew. To a more limited degree I knew the moment I came out to myself, while crushing on a male classmate. It was how I was wired. Nothing else made sense to me. And if you’re ever wondering why the secular and religious right have been on a scorched earth culture war against science and education, here’s a data point about that…

Dr. Richard Friedman, Who Debunked Homosexuality Myth, Dies at 79

In an important book, he challenged the widely held Freudian notion that same-sex attraction was curable, finding it instead rooted in biology.

We have been telling them this since Stonewall…those of us not so badly damaged we desperately sought out a cure for something that needed no cure. But science has been telling them this same something about us for decades now, that they’ve never wanted to hear: That human sexuality, let alone reality, doesn’t not care what their religious and moral dogmas say. It is what it is. And what it is, is older than the fish, let alone the mammals, let alone the primates, let alone us. We bear within us every waking moment of our day the living history of hundreds of millions of years of life on earth. And those ancient tides will pull and tug on his whether or not they make sense to the lives we live now. We can be our best, only when we honestly try to understand how those threads move within us. Only then can we learn how to honorably live with them.

His 1988 book, “Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective,” showed that sexual orientation was largely biological and presented a case that helped undermine the belief held by most Freudian analysts at the time that homosexuality was a pathology that could somehow be cured.

When the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird. We are not that different from our heterosexual neighbors. We can make our contribution to civilization. But we have to be allowed wholeness. Damaged humans, do damaged things. To themselves. To each other. 

There is nothing wrong with us. There was never anything wrong with us. Science has been telling them that for decades now, and that is one reason why science, reason and education became the number one enemies in their scorched earth culture wars. We were just the convenient scapegoats of men who hate existence, and beauty, and the awe and wonder of love and desire, and everything fine and noble a human can be, that they cannot. 


Posted In: Life Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: , , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on It’s In The Wiring
May 5th, 2020

Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine

This came across my Facebook news stream this morning. Of course Maryland couldn’t avoid being targeted by the right wing death cult…

Maryland governor sued by state lawmakers, pastors and businesses over stay-at-home orders

In the complaint (there’s a PDF link to it in the article) are two actual businesses, both recreational: Antietam Battlefield KOA and Adventure Park LLC. They have at least a plausible claim to economic damage. The others are preachers, one church member, a couple delegates, and one of those shadowy astroturfing groups that’s probably behind it all. The right wing billionaires behind it could probably afford to pay the preachers for missing their tithing plate money but would rather attack the idea that government has anything to do with securing the safety and welfare of the common man and woman. Government is for securing their prerogative to use the rest of us as they see fit.

The preachers have zero concern for their flocks and don’t seem to care at all if a percentage of them, particularly the older sicker ones die horribly.  That really says it all for their ersatz Christianity. Perhaps they need their collection plate money. But more likely it really is just simple tribal hatred of science and knowledge and those of us able to cope with this pandemic by using our brains. That is after all, the unforgivable sin.

I never really started paying attention to this reflex in the kook pews until I was older and more invested in the gay civil rights struggle. The science that said we were as normal as anyone else was the enemy. They built entire massive artifices of junk science to wave back at us. It took me a while to realize that providing a counter argument, even if it was completely nuts, wasn’t the point. Propaganda doesn’t merely serve to make people question what the facts really are, it exists to make people stop believing in facts altogether. The point was to erase the notion that any of us in the pews let alone the outside world could decide for ourselves what is and is not factual and true. It wasn’t just about Teh Gay, it was everything that challenged their authority over the hearts and minds of the people. This is appalling in any religious denomination, but especially so when it’s coming from a Baptist pulpit. But I suppose, not a Southern Baptist pulpit. If I saw this when I was a teenage boy I’d have turned atheist a lot quicker than I did.


Posted In: Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine
May 2nd, 2020

How To Draw Pictures Of Sexy Guys Wearing Glasses In X Easy Steps…(continued)

I think I’m pretty well done with the blue ink roughs on the figure. I had his body shape wrong due to putting the book in place before I’d finished with the rest of him and it confused me a tad. The solution was to put the book on its own layer I could switch off and on as I worked on drawing him.

 

Procreate has a nice perspective grid you can switch on and set vanishing points for. It’s going to help a lot as I draw the bookshelves he’s leaning against. 

Wow…the JPEG artifacts here are really annoying. But I’m just posting these to share my process with whoever stumbles onto this blog. When I post a finished piece I’ll use a better compression algorithm.  

Probably get the inks on the figure done, or close to it, tomorrow. I haven’t decided on a title for it yet.


Posted In: Art Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on How To Draw Pictures Of Sexy Guys Wearing Glasses In X Easy Steps…(continued)

Gay Country Music Is Finally A Thing…

…and it’s cutting me to ribbons.

 

 

No offence to the singer here, Ty Herndon, who came out last year and changed the pronouns of this song, which was a hit in its previous incarnation. It’s wonderful in so many ways. That he found the courage to come out and live an honest life. That he updated this song with the pronouns that reflect how his heart saw the song when it first came to him. That gay kids and adults can hear music that speaks directly to us. So long have I mentally flipped a pronoun or two while listening to pop music, to at least imagine it speaking to me.

But for reasons I won’t go into now…or maybe ever…this particular song is both wonderful and devastating. Now I need a drink…


Posted In: Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Gay Country Music Is Finally A Thing…

How To Draw Pictures Of Sexy Guys Wearing Glasses In X Easy Steps

Well…okay that How To Draw…thing is a bit of a running gag around here and this is a more serious attempt to to do some quality sexy sketching, and keep my mind occupied on something other than how quarantine is making it sadly obvious that I need a road trip Now and I Can’t Go Anywhere!

This one’s going to take a while like the last one did, because the plan here is he’s leaning up against a huge set of library shelves. Dozens and dozens of books. It’s the sort of drudge work I dislike because it gets so boring and I get impatient and then I get sloppy. So I’m trying also to consider this an exercise in artistic self discipline. 

I’m being a tad more Safe For Work here on these than I’ve occasionally been here on the website because I’m also sharing these to my Facebook page, and so they’ll probably show up in co-workers screens. They all know I’m gay, and my employer is fantastic about supporting their LGBT employees, nobody really cares. I’m just trying to stick to a line I’ve drawn about my sexy sketching for the time being so I can freely share. But deep down it’s also, maybe mostly, about my getting more comfortable being an out gay man.

You’d think by now that wouldn’t be an issue, but I came out to myself in the early 1970s, and it’s been a struggle all my life to simply give myself permission to be me. I gain a little more ground every year but it’s never the whole of it. Gay kids of my generation had to hide their desires. The adults we grew into have had to work and freeing themselves from that ball and chain ever since. My cartoon series A Coming Out Story is about the beginning of that struggle. I’m 66 now and it never has ended. I’m actually feeling proud of myself sharing these on Facebook with Everyone and shining a small light on this part of me unafraid (mostly). 

Also, it Is fun to walk up to the line and not go over it. I would much rather be teased than have my buttons pushed.

It’s too late for me to have the young adult life I should have had, that we all should have had. But I can at least nod to it from time to time, look back and relive the wonder of discovering the beauty of men.  Well…of a certain sexy to me type…


Posted In: Art Life
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on How To Draw Pictures Of Sexy Guys Wearing Glasses In X Easy Steps
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


What I'm Currently Reading...




What I'm Currently Watching...




What I'm Currently Listening To...




Comic Book I've Read Recently...



web
stats

This page and all original content copyright © 2015 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to: bruce@brucegarrett.com

This blog is powered by WordPress and is hosted at MomoWeb. Some custom design was done by Winters Web Works. Some embedded content was created with the help of Adobe Photoshop for MacOS and/or The Gimp. I proof with Firefox on either Windows, Linux or MacOS depending on which machine I happen to be running at the time.