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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…

by Bruce | Link | React!

July 15th, 2009

The Wrong Lederhosen

I have this quirky sense of humor that (I think) alternately charms and appalls my friends.  The problem with being a nerd is you never quite know for sure when you’ve taken it too far until your friends are giving you that Oh Do Grow Up look again.  There is some subtle social sensibility you are missing, which prevents you from stumbling across the line from smart and funny into dumb and annoying. 

I have to admit…I was tempted when I saw This.  Oh…very tempted…

Novelty Bavarian Lederhosen With Yodeling Frankfurter Controls: Hurry!

 

Each 6-inch tall plastic pair of Bavarian Remote Control Lederhosen is activated by an infrared remote control knockwurst.  Press the button and the self propelled Lederhosen hops around and sings a merry yodel.

 

You can have your very own Bavarian Remote Control Lederhosen for $19.49.  Requires two AAA batteries.  Knockwurst remote control operates your Lederhosen to within 10 feet.

 

He’d probably never speak to me again…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Wrong Lederhosen

November 28th, 2008

What Was That King Said About Shallow Understanding Again…?

He was talking about race relations of course, but you can see it apply all across the spectrum of human relationships:  "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will…"

No kidding.  I’m fifty-five years old now.  My walk through life has taken me in many different directions, down many paths I would not have expected.  Paths that even today some people who have known me for ages have never heard me talk about. Most of old high school friends know very little about the life I’ve lead lately.  The friends I’ve made in the 80s and 90s mostly know very little about the life I led as a kid.  My co-worker friends know little about my home life.  My gay friends don’t really know my straight friends, and vice versa.  The two main branches of my family tree live on different coasts, and don’t much like each other.  Mom’s side sees less and less of me as their religiosity grows more and more hardened.  My brother and I talk often, but he is not here to actually see the life I lead, or take part in any of it.  It’s not that I live separate lives.  I live only one.  But it is very broadbanded.  My walk has taken me many places.

I appreciate the fact that no one friend has ever been with me throughout the whole of that walk.  It is the central grief of my life, that I have had no partner in love to share much of the walk with.  I am fifty-five years old now, and any lover I manage to gain now, will only be there to walk with me through the last few bits of it.  I’ll never have that one great lifelong love.  It’s too late.  The closest I could get to it now, is if I manage to make a lover out of someone from my past, who happens to come back into my life all of a sudden.  Which I am pretty sure won’t happen. 

So I can appreciate how some folks I see on a semi-regular basis here in Washington-Baltimore won’t know, can’t possibly know, all there is to my story.  But some of it must surely become pretty goddamned obvious after a few years of hanging out with me.  Let alone a couple decades.  But apparently…not.

Understand that central grief of my life, if you understand nothing else about me, and handle it with care if I choose to let you see it.  Because when that happens, Understand This, I am Not looking for a shoulder to cry on.  If I let you see that grief it’s because, only because, I trust you.  It’s a big part of me, that grief.  I don’t want it there…I hate it…it has drained so much of the energy out of me over the decades.  So much that I could have been, and now never will be.  It still drains me a little, every day.  I don’t want it there…I hate it.  But there it is.  We place our hearts in our friend’s hands.  Mine has a great big wound on it that never heals, and never will until the day comes, if it ever does, that I find that intimate other.  If I give you my heart you will see it there…it’s impossible for me to hide.  And I shouldn’t have to hide it from a friend anyway.  Just…handle it with care.  It’s bigger, deeper, and a hell of a lot more painful then it looks.  You poke it, and you won’t like what happens next.

I get it that not everyone in this world wants the soulmate.  Really I do.  I get that the quick easy fuck, and the shacking up with someone you don’t really like all that much, simply because you just don’t want to go home to an empty house every night, isn’t just a phenomena of the urban gay subculture, but all of humanity.  You need to get that I am not that.  For years, seriously, ever since I was a teenager coming off of my first high school crush, I regarded casual sex as cheap and the people that pursued it shallow.  Well…I grew up.  I came to realize that my temperament in love and sex and the whole dating and mating game were not everyone’s.  I came to realize that you can’t judge people by the kind of sex they have, but by how well they treat one another.  Should have been an easy thing for a gay man to grasp, but it took me a while.  But at last I got there.

But some people seem to think growing up means not simply learning to acknowledge and respect other gay folks lifestyles, but living them too, as if my own romantic needs and desires are childish things, fairy tales, that sensible gay adults leave behind.  If that’s the case, then I’m not the one who needs to grow up.  You are.  I learned the world is bigger then the limits of my own understanding, larger then the reach my own desires.  You can learn it too.  And learn this while you’re at it: people who need the lover and do not need and do not want the fuck buddy are a legitimate part of that world.  Your mileage may vary.  Fine.  I am not you.  And that’s okay.  Let’s hear it for diversity.

No, I will not trick.

No, I will not hang out in meat market bars. 

No, I will not "broaden my interests".  There is nothing wrong with my interests.  You’d know that, if you’d ever bothered to understand what my interests really are, instead of assuming what they are by whatever jerks my head around.  I am looking for a lover, not a fuck buddy.  If I was looking for the fuck buddy then maybe what turns my head would be a good indicator.  It’s not.

No, I will not accept being single as my state in life.  The day I finally accept that I have no chance whatsoever in finding that one great love of my life, is the day I put a gun to my head.  Stop asking me to accept it, or stop pretending to like me as a person.  Pick one.

And stop blaming me for my own singleness!  I Have tried to find that intimate other, that companion of my heart.  As I recall, I sent a certain someone who seemed to have a hard time wrapping his head around this, a several page letter detailing how hard I’ve tried ever since I was a teenager.  And what I got back was a Fisked response that basically ignored every fucking thing I said in that letter, and kept right on blaming me for my own singleness.  The fact is, if you’d care to look beyond your own great good fortune, at just our own little crowd, that finding and keeping that one great love is a goddamned hard thing.  Most people are lucky to get even one chance at it.  Let alone two. 

Which is why we all need friends.  Friends who care.  And I don’t mean care in merely a rhetorical or theoretical sense.  Friends who actually care enough to help.  Shouting out to a drowning man from the safety of the shore, directions to a store that sells life preservers, isn’t helping. 

I don’t expect my friends to set me up with dates.  And especially not if they think it’s asking too much to expect to actually have a love that engages you body and soul, heart and mind.  And extra especially if they think I’m not attractive enough to actually have a chance of finding what I am looking for.  And extra-extra especially if they have a completely fucked-up idea of what it is that I am looking for in the first place.  I don’t expect it.  But if something comes along, and you see a chance to do something like that for a friend, then why the hell wouldn’t you?  That’s what I just don’t understand.  Why wouldn’t you?  I’ve actually done that sort of thing in the past for some of my heterosexual friends.  Hell…heterosexuals do that for each other all the fucking time.  If I wanted to get bitter about how indifferent gay culture is I could easily right now.  But I know better then to judge all gay people by the indifference of some.

And when something just fucking drops into your lap, and you just let it float away like a dead leaf in the autumn wind, am I really being a hardass if I see that as a sign that your friendship was a hell of lot shallower then I’d thought it was?  I thought we were friends.  I don’t just say that word to everyone I know.  Friends.  I put my heart into your hands, hopes and dreams and wounds and all, and you let it drop on the floor.  Is it my fault that it broke?  Maybe.  If it was my fault I put my heart there in the first place.  Should I have known better?

I don’t think of myself as a particularly high maintenance friend.  But I have my tender spots and in my defense I practically wear some of them on my sleeve.  You had to know what you were doing to me when you did that.  Or you’ve just been so goddamned lucky in your own love life it’s so completely so utterly blinded you to how hard it is for others, that you thought it wasn’t any big deal.  Or maybe you just decided on your own that it wasn’t right for me.  Would have been nice to have had the chance to decide that for myself. 

A chance.  That’s all I ask of my friends, is when a chance comes along, they let me have it.  Maybe nothing at all comes of it.  Fine.  At least I had another chance, and it’s seeing the occasional chance still coming my way that keeps me going at my age.  A chance.  It fell into your lap.  And instead of letting me have it, you kept it, and let it slowly wither into nothing.  It’s gone now.  Gone.  And I’m left wondering what the fuck you were thinking when you let that happen.  I suppose now you’re sorry you even told me about it to begin with.  Of course the thing to be sorry about is you told me, not that you let it die.

I am not angry.  I’m sad.  But life, and the one great grief in my own, go on.  I’ve been dealing with the big grief for decades now.  I can deal with this.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on What Was That King Said About Shallow Understanding Again…?

September 28th, 2008

Cross-Cultural Friendships…

Reader Chris left a comment to This Post the other day, about his own experiences making friends of German visitors.  I can relate.  The landscape is full of landmines…but its rewarding.

I made friends, briefly, with a British kid some years back.  We were both working in a custom plastic shop, and he knew a family in the apartment complex I lived in, so we had some points of contact between us.  The kid, Paul, who was so goddamned cute, first told me the joke about how England and America were two nations separated by a common language.  And it’s true.  You really couldn’t assume that even words we both shared in our language meant the same things.  Once, when he cut himself at the shop, and asked for a ‘patch’, all the good old boys at the shop laughed their butts off.  ‘Patch’ is the word they use for what we referred to as a ‘bandage’ over on this side of the Big Pond.  And ‘torch’ for ‘flashlight’.  And so on.  But beyond the meaning of words, there were dozens of little cultural differences all the good old boys could not have cared less about, when they weren’t laughing at them, but which I tried hard to pay attention to, because he was cute, and because he was decent and good-hearted, and I really wanted to be his friend.

You have to work at it.  But it’s worthwhile.  There are landmines and you have to be careful.  Even if you speak the same language.  Especially if.  Where the language barrier exists you kind of know you they’re there.  But even where you’re both speaking the same tongue you have to take care to reach across the fence.  The key is trust.  You have to hold it like a precious thing, and always take the extra step to keep it.  Paul and I lost touch after he went back to England.  But I hope he still thinks of me from time to time.  He opened my eyes a tad to some of the British stereotypes I grew up with.  Swear to God I can’t even watch Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins anymore since I knew Paul.  It’s so…embarrassing. 

I so very much want to be the friend to my crush from my high school days that I was too shy to be back then.  I think its coming along.  I hope it is.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to see him later next month.  Maybe not.  But I’ll keep trying.  He means a lot to me.  So I try to learn this and that of his culture and background.  It’s worthwhile, even if we remain mostly apart.  It’s opened my eyes to a bit more of the world, and that’s always a good thing.

I ordered some books on German history and culture from Amazon.  I’m going to read through them when they come.  Even if it doesn’t bring us closer together, it’s having a broadening effect on me.  This poor angry world could use more of that in all of us.  If I could change one thing about the American educational system it would be this: every kid would have to spend a year abroad…somewhere…before graduating.  My countrymen are a bit too insular.  We need to see more of the world first hand while we’re still young.  Maybe we’d be better neighbors if we did.

Actually…I tried mayonnaise on my fries just the other day.  They were…delicious.

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

September 2nd, 2008

Being Friends With A German

It takes work.  You have to be patient, and you have to have a lot of resolve.  Nerves of steel actually.  When he says he’s going to have some free time in two weeks to chat with you, what you need to understand is that’s a sign of affection. 

There’s a humorous list going around the web here and there titled, You Know You’re German If   What’s interesting about this list is that it’s been written, passed around and added to, by Germans.  There are various versions of it floating around, and I would highly recommend anyone aspiring to be friends with a German to study them carefully.  Let it be said they know how to laugh at themselves.  Here’s a few items that absolutely apply to a certain someone I know…

-You feel like a fish out of water in unstructured organizations and foreign countries.

-Being spontaneous is at 3 weeks notice.

-The concept of small talk still puzzles you.

So…two years ago, after almost thirty-five years of searching for him, I finally found my old high school crush again.  This is the guy who is the object of my affections in my comic series A Coming Out Story.  And because I’m still in the middle of telling that story, there are a few major plot points I don’t want to give away (although I guess I just now did give one away…the fact that we haven’t seen each other since my high school days…).  So I have to be vague about some of this.  And also, I don’t want to embarrass him by naming him here.  But just so you know, we’ve been chatting ever since, on the phone, and via email and post cards. 

Post cards, largely because it took me over a year to get him to give me an email address.  And that was because, as he said, he is "more into nature then technology".  Or…according to the list…

-You separate your trash into more than five different bins.

-You have gotten splinters from environmentally friendly toilet paper.

-You’re the only one recycling not just bottles and cans but also light bulbs, water filters, batteries, printer cartridges 

-You complain about people that just sit in their car with the engine running

But most American kids of my baby boomer generation actually don’t use personal computers all that much as adults now either.  A Pew Foundation study some time ago put the figure at somewhat less then fifty percent of my generation who use computers on a regular basis.  His job doesn’t require him to sit down to one everyday, and apparently he hasn’t much use for them in his home life either.  I get the sense he doesn’t much touch one other then for the occasional emails he sends my way.

Thing was…back in high school, when I learned that both his parents were German, I wasn’t sure if that was how he identified himself.  He was born in Brazil actually, and came here to the U.S. when he was still very young.  He spent both his middle school and high school years here, attending the same high school I did.  Back then, he seemed to identify more as Brazilian then German.  For the longest time I thought he was your usual light skinned Brazilian, with a family tree that maybe went back to Portugal or maybe Spain.  In high school he spoke English very well, with only the very slightest hint of an accent that I could never quite place.  I figured his native language was probably Portuguese.  He was also in the Spanish Honor Society back then.  When I found out from one of the other kids about his German heritage I was surprised.  He never told me.  But there may have been a reason for that. 

When I finally located him again, I still wasn’t sure how he identified.  He’s spent most of his life now here in the U.S.  But he still goes by this Brazilian nickname he always did back in high school.  So as he and I began to chat once more after all these years, I kept wondering.  I wasn’t sure how to go about asking him.  The thing about cross-cultural relationships is they’re so damn full of landmines.  The last thing I wanted to do was offend him in some way, or perhaps bring up old memories he didn’t want to revisit.  I knew next to nothing about his family life, because he always politely deflected my attempts to ask him about any of it back when we were kids…which I respected back then despite my intense curiosity, because I was completely twitterpated and if he didn’t want to talk about it I wasn’t going there.

Back when I was a kid, I had this very fragmented view of Germans and Germany.  There was all the World War II history I grew up learning.  The rise of Hitler and fascism in Europe.  When I first saw newsreel footage of a Nazi book burning, it completely shocked me.  I was such a little bookworm back then.  The sight of piles of books burning struck me as an attack on the human identity.  Then came the newsreel footage of the death camps. 

On TV and in the movies, Germans were either cold, calculating, weaselly Nazis who loved to torture people or big fat buffoons with a stereotypical Hollywood German accent.  It was either…

  

…or…

So that was what my history classes and Hollywood were teaching me about Germans.  But in my day to day world there was all the good stuff that came from Germany.  When I was a teenager one of my uncles came down for a visit driving his new Mercedes-Benz 220D.  I’ve written about that before, and how that car completely blew away everything I thought I understood about what a good car was.  Mercedes-Benz instantly became my new dream car then.  And when I got the camera bug, I quickly learned that some of the best photography equipment came from Germany.  Carl Zeiss lenses…Leica cameras…  When I was 17 I splurged a month’s pay from the burger joint I was working at to buy a lovely Rodenstock lens for my enlarger.  I was both overjoyed and appalled at the results.  Overjoyed because my prints took on an absolutely razor edged sharpness under that lens.  It was magnificent.  Appalled because that damn lens revealed every tiny flaw in my negatives.  That lens told me I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought I was.  But that was okay…it meant I could grow.  And I did.

Back before high school, mom bought an absolutely lovely German made cabinet hi-fi.  It was built from solid mahogany and not only did it sound as good as it looked, it had a radio with FM stations and Shortwave too!  I became utterly fascinated back then with that short wave radio and would listen to it for hours, tuning in BBC, Radio Netherlands, Radio Johannesburg and so on…  This was before there was an Internet…before cell phones…before 24 hour cable news…back in the days when my world effectively ended at the horizon.  With that shortwave radio I could hear the world speaking beyond the horizon.  I never found any English language German broadcasts, but because of that short wave radio I grew up with the knowledge that there was a world out there beyond our boarders, and that it was fun to listen to.

So on the one hand, there was Hollywood’s German, and the German of my history class lessons…and on the other there was the Germany that made the best cars and radios and hi-fi and camera equipment.  I’d heard they drink their beer warm, but I never liked beer to begin with.  I heard they were obsessive about organization and record keeping.  I heard there was this really neat highway over in Germany where there were no speed limits.  But I never really thought about or questioned any of what I knew, or thought I knew, about Germans.  It was all just floating there in the background.  And then there was the guy I massively crushed on back in high school.  He was so damn beautiful.  But also hard working, decent, good-hearted.  But he always accentuated his Brazilian birthplace.  So maybe he really wasn’t all that much German.  For years I wondered about it, never really thinking about what I actually did and did not know about Germans.

So I found him again, and annoyingly, the completely twitterpated high school boy came rushing back out of me, like I was still 17, and I found I Still couldn’t ask him so many things I’d wished I had over the years.  But we talked and talked over the months, and as we did I began to get the sense that his German heritage had come more to the foreground over the intervening years.  Then last Christmas he sent me a card with a lovely handwritten Christmas greeting…first in German and then in English. 

You have to picture this: There I am, sitting down reading this lovely little Christmas card he sent me, and suddenly every stupid, ignorant German stereotype I ever grew up with came rushing back to me and laughed in my face.  All the stupid Nazi jokes…all the cardboard Hollywood Germans I ever saw on TV…  I felt so embarrassed. 

And I had an idea then why he presented more as Brazilian then German back in school.  He probably got teased a lot for being German back then.  The more I pictured it, the more I heard myself as a kid laughing and re-telling all the German jokes I learned from the other kids and I just felt so ashamed.

Is this how straight folks feel when someone close to them comes out as gay?  Now I can’t even watch my all time favorite movie, Casablanca, without cringing the moment Major Strasser comes on screen. 

So I’ve been making an effort to learn more about the German folk and their culture.  But mostly their ways.  I pay attention to what English language German newspapers and magazines there are online.  Spiegel ran a series a couple years back, The Germans Explained, for Americans and other foreigners visiting Germany for the 2006 winter Olympics.  It’s an interesting read.  This from the article titled, Brutally Honest, Have You Gained Weight?

Personal invitations of all kinds are to be taken at face value. "We’re having a party, please do come," means "We’re having a party, please do come," and not "We feel rude not inviting you in front of these other people, but surely you’ll have the grace not to show up." Similarly, "Come over to my house and we’ll have tea," means that you should start planning a date and time for that pleasant event. It is not to be confused with the Anglo-American "We should get together sometime," which means "I hope I never see you again."

Yes means yes and no means no. If you ask whether you can share someone’s table (or borrow a pen, or get a ride) and that person says yes, that’s the end of it. Even if the person does not smile or tell you to go right ahead, you do not have to ask again. Germans will be perplexed when you insist: "Are you sure? I won’t be bothering you, will I? I’ll just take this little corner and be done in a minute." For heavens sakes, they said yes already, and it’s not like you’re asking them to donate a kidney. Just sit down. 

And this from German Men: Hunky, Handsome, Wimpy and Weak

“I never, ever got involved in sport,” said Winston Churchill wisely. Not so, Sporty German Male. Oh no, he loves it. Running around Hamburg’s Alster when you fancy going shoe shopping, or forcing you to go Nordic Walking on a Sunday morning when you’d still rather be under your duvet stuffing yourself with scrambled eggs, Sporty German Male laughs in the face of blubber, Wiener Schnitzel and chips.

My one brief encounter with Sporty German Male included a doomed mini-break to Mallorca. Stretched out by the swimming pool in my bikini, I asked: “Do I look fat in this?” Sporty German Male looked confused. “Of course not, Liebling,” he said. “If you were fat, my sweetness, you would not be here!"

I browse the online forums here and there where they gather, and at least a little English is spoken.  And I’m finding that I’m actually coming to like them.  I’m making a few tentative steps at learning German…mostly so I can read it.  I doubt I’ll ever be in a place where I hear it spoken a lot, and without that there’s just about no possibility of me really learning the language very well.  If I can just learn it a bit I’ll be satisfied.  Then I can hear them speaking in their own voices.

-You call an afternoon stroll "Nordic Walking".

-You always fold your Tetra Pak before you throw it in the appropriate bin.

-You eat a cold dinner at 6pm.

-You can tell at least one Manta joke.

-Your childhood diet consisted of Alete and Zwieback. Your college diet consisted of Miracoli and Döner.

-You have your ‘feierabend’ at 1730hrs – the world can burn down.

-You expect chocolate in your shoes on December 6th.

In the meantime I am trying hard to be the friend to him I was too shy to be back when we were both kids (there goes another plot point…).  If he was another American kid, and he told me that in two weeks he’d have time for a chat, I’d think what he was really telling me was to bug off.  But he’s German, he has always called when he said he would, and what you have to see in that isn’t that he’s pushing me off for two weeks but that he’s making time for me.  Over and over again in the past two years I’ve run smack into his "time management", and no kidding, that’s exactly how he refers to it.  I’ve found in conversation with him that he’s got his life organized in a way I would find absolutely suffocating.  But that seems to be a German thing, it’s where his comfort zone is, and if I want to be his friend I have to adjust to it.  It’s work.  I have to be patient.  But I have a lot of resolve.  And the signs look good.  Very good actually.  Here I am after three and a half decades crashing back into his well organized world and he makes time for me. 

[Edited a bit since this morning…]

   

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

July 12th, 2008

For A Friend…

Hey nineteen
Thats ‘retha franklin
She don’t remember
The queen of soul
Its hard times befallen
The sole survivors
She thinks I’m crazy
But I’m just growing old
Hey nineteen
No we got nothing in common
No we cant talk at all
Please take me along
When you slide on down

Toto…maybe Kansas wasn’t so bad after all…

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

April 27th, 2008

True Friends

A couple of very dear friends tried to do something for me over the weekend that I’ve tried to do a time or two for other friends, mostly straight, but which nobody has ever bothered to do for me before.  I can’t go into detail now…maybe some day soon…but I’ve never felt so loved.  And even though they didn’t quite manage to pull it off just the fact that they did it it made me feel more alive now, more connected with the life I have, and the things I’ve managed to accomplish for myself, then I have since I was in my twenties.  Seriously.  I’ve been a sleep walker for most of the last half of my life it seems.  I feel somewhat awakened now.  More…real.

Life is sweet.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on True Friends

March 16th, 2008

It Is Still Real.

I’ve had this blissful smile on my face ever since Friday afternoon.  Certain friends of mine know exactly why, but I’ll only go into it in a general way here; party because I have to respect someone else’s privacy, but also because this touches on the story I’m telling in my cartoon series, A Coming Out Story, and I don’t want to give away too much of what happens.  And…I seem to be still in the process of writing the ending anyway…

But I just have to share because I feel so good, and after posting some of those dire blogs recently I thought some of you should know that its not all Nacht und Nebel with me

The summer of 1972, after I graduated, I went back to Woodward High School to see my English teacher, and show her a film that I’d worked on that summer with some friends. The script for it had been my last English assignment, and I thought she’d like to see the finished film.  When I walked into her classroom I saw a certain someone walking out the door, and realized to my surprise that he was taking summer school. 

He was class of ’73 and there was just no way he was taking English during the summer because he’d failed it during the year.  He was such an academic overachiever.  So I just assumed he was taking some advanced course to build up grade points for college.  It didn’t dawn on me then that he was taking summer school so he could graduate early.  And even had I known that, I wouldn’t have guessed what was coming.  We chatted briefly and then he smiled at me and said, "It was real." Then he walked out the classroom door.  It seemed odd, but I figured I’d see him again later.  There was the rest of that summer still ahead of us.  A few weeks later the family had moved away and their house was empty.  I never heard his voice again for thirty-five years.

I found him again a couple years ago, and we’ve chatted now and then, semi-regularly, by phone and postal mail, and our chats have been friendly and sometimes we stray off onto many different topics along the way and it’s always been fun talking to him again after all these years.  But it wasn’t until yesterday that I heard something in his voice I hadn’t heard since we were both kids in high school.  I’d left him voice mail asking, very tentatively, if he was the guy who posted those angry notes on my blog some weeks ago, while I was down in Key West.  I won’t go into the reasons why I thought it might have been him now, but my thinking was that if it wasn’t him he’d just laugh it off.  No.  What I got was concern that I’d thought he was angry at me.

There is a moment of discovery in all friendships, including even those which redevelop after many years of absence, when you see there really is something there, that affection is real after all and you’re not just projecting your own feelings onto someone else because you wish it was.  The rest of the conversation was about this and that.  It was private and I’m not going into it, but it wasn’t very deep; just the kind of casual talk friends have among themselves.  But the tone of caring never left his voice.

Wahre freund.  It is Still real.  Life is good.

  
 

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

February 4th, 2008

Weekend With Friends In The Virginia Wineries

Me and some friends, sampling the Virginia vintage over the weekend…

 

They suggested a trip to some wineries in Northern Virginia last Saturday and I took them up on it.  It’s part of my initiation rites into middle-age yuppydom now that I have the Mercedes.  No, I have not cut my hair.  Are you kidding?  It’s tied in a ponytail which is not visible there.  I ended up taking home two bottles of really nice dessert wine, charmingly labeled "Moonstone".  Then we all drove to Harper’s Ferry and wandered around for a bit. I hadn’t been to Harper’s Ferry since the middle 70s.  Any excuse to drive Traveler somewhere.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Weekend With Friends In The Virginia Wineries

August 22nd, 2007

Woodward Class of 72 Reunion This November

The Class of 72 Reunion Committee is working on plans for a 35th year reunion sometime this November.  I’m on the committee, and I’ll be posting regular notices and forwarding reunion committee updates here between now and November in hopes that either another classmate will see it, or someone who knows someone…(etc, etc…).  Rounding up our stray cats is a bit like detective work. 

Mostly right now we need contact info.  Send email to reunion@woodwardclassof72.com if you’re interested, or know someone who is, or if you have any contact information you think might be helpful.  If you think you know of other good places to post this notice send that to me.  Thanks!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Woodward Class of 72 Reunion This November

July 3rd, 2007

Jim Capozzola Has Passed Away. My World Has Grown Smaller Again…

Oh no…

James Capozzola, 1962-2007

My friend Jim died this evening.

Jim, one of the founders of the political blogosphere, started the Rittenhouse Review a week or two before Duncan Black started Eschaton.

He was my fairy blogfather. He showed me how to install a sitemeter, he gave me tips for building readership, and advised me to “pick a fight with a blogger who’s much better known – you can’t believe how well it works.” (I never took his advice, though.) He even paid to have the ugly banner ad removed from the top of my first site.

More than that, Jim was extraordinarily generous. A master networker, he insisted on introducing all of his friends to each other and they, in turn, became friends. “See?” he’d say. “I told you you’d hit it off.” In turn, I introduced him to the sweet potato fries and the chocolate bread pudding at Silk City.

Rittenhouse Review was one of the first progressive blogs I started reading regularly.  Through his blog Jim introduced me to many others in the progressive blog sphere who I now regard as daily necessities.  Atrios, and Fred Clark’s Slacktivist to name two.  Jim was kind enough to put my little blog on his blogroll one day, and he emailed me some questions about why I was blogging, and would I mind being put on his blogger mailing list.  I was just thrilled to have the attention.  I quickly began to thoroughly enjoy Jim’s online company.  Jim was a really good hearted man, and he had a curious, restless, hungry mind.  His blog posts, which ranged far and wide across any topic that interested him only gave you a hint of it.  I remember one day Jim emailed me out of the blue and asked if I could take some photos of a couple specific Christian Scientist temples in the Washington Baltimore area.  He said he was doing research for a book on their architectural styles.  Susie notes in her blog post…

Jim spoke God knows how many languages. I once met him for lunch when he walked in wearing a Walkman. This intrigued me, because he never, ever listened to popular music. “What are you listening to?” I said, pulling at the headphones.

“I’m teaching myself Dutch,” he said, almost apologetically.

Then one day, just as Susie mentions in the post above, Jim invited me to Philadelphia to meet his other blogger friends.  That was when I got to meet Duncan Black (Atrios) and Fred Clark, and many other really nice folks…and of course Jim himself.  It was a treat.  You hear it over and over again how some people are much quieter and more soft spoken in person then they are online.  That was true to a degree with Jim, but also he was if anything, more intense in person then you saw on his blog.  You really saw that restless curiosity about…well…everything…when you met him in person.  It was wonderful for an evening, just to behold it.

So we’ve lost another good person in the blog world this summer and I am heartbroken.  I hadn’t heard from Jim in ages and I just assumed he’d lost interest in blogging because that hungry mind of his had wandered elsewhere.  I had no idea he was sick.  I should have pinged him a time or two this past year and I didn’t, and now I can’t.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

June 27th, 2007

Hello? Hello??

One thing that keeps attracting my attention when I’m looking at my server logs are the number of folks who hit my site after doing a search on my name.  I realize that I’m not the only Bruce Garrett in the world, but it’s frustraiting sometimes just wondering if any of them are old friends who were just randomly searching on my name just for kicks and grins.

Hey…if you knew me once upon a time…drop me a line sometime and say ‘Hi’.  Let me know how you’re doing.  Okay?  I still think of my old friends quite often and I’d love to hear from you.  Well…most of you. 

And…especially you tigapaw.  Yeah…you.  Wave back sometime.  Please.  It would make my day.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Hello? Hello??

February 17th, 2007

Happy…Happy…
Looks like Peterson Toscano has been a busy guy lately.  Last Monday a piece in the NY Times on reparative therapy in NYC quoted him.  Then on Wednesday Susan Campbell in The Hartford Courant wrote a column that mentioned him. The newest February 26 edition of People Magazine had a two page story about the ex-gay movement, and in it they quoted him and told some of his story.   Then on Tuesday Feb 20 he’ll be appearing on the Montel Williams Show.   He says they asked him to be the guest on their podcast for the program. There’s more at the site http://www.montelshow.com/. He goes back to the Montel Show at the end of the month to tape another segment.  Then there is the Interview in Portland Mercury.
 
Hope he has some time for a little cake…
 
 
by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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