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

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Ted Rall

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade

Friendly Hostility

Downstairs Apartment




Other News & Commentary

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

February 1st, 2017

No…The American Dream Will Not Go Silently Into The Night Mr. Bannon…

…it is bigger, richer, more urgently felt than you could ever know…

 

One thing I love about this ad is the open acknowledgement of how immigrants were treated even back then. It’s so refreshingly honest about our history compared to the rainbows and unicorns version I got back in early grade school. We were so proud of our little melting pot back then…back when we were competing with the Soviet Union for the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. Not so much anymore.

If a certain German someone and I were still on emailing terms I would have loved to share this with him. But now I’m not even sure he’d appreciate the sentiment in it. It’s one thing to be determined to follow your dreams. It’s another to be determined not to have any. But some of us still believe in our dreams…rough hewn and broken though they may be… Here’s to you Herr Busch. Here’s to you Herr Anheuser. Prost!

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 23rd, 2016

Understanding

Brought me to tears, this. Especially since the company that produced this ad, Kodak, has been such a big part of my life and they’re struggling now to hold on in this digital age (note that the filmmaker shot this in 35mm). They could have just kept silent but not only did they not do that, they went far beyond simply making a boilerplate statement of diversity: they showed us all a film about love. And now…when so many people need it so very much.

 

 

I think this may just be the best Christmas present ever. Thank you so much Kodak: from a gay guy who’s been an amateur/sometimes professional photographer since he was a teenager back in the 1960s-70s (who still loves his film cameras very much). I wish I could have grown up in the world your filmmaker shows us here…but I am glad that other gay kids will now…thanks to folks like you.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Understanding

September 12th, 2016

Magical Stabs From The Past…

Facebook likes to throw these little “See Your Memories” things onto your news page. They can be fun…like all those memories of past road trips…or they can be achingly bad…like the bleeding painful posts I left when Claudia got run over.  This one came up a few days ago…

first-disney

 

A certain someone who works there, whose nickname I will not speak (Hi!), had urged me to come down after I told him I wasn’t much interested in theme parks. We were having one of our hour+ long phone conversations. I was all about the road trip I told him. Just the year previously I’d written in a blog post “My favorite form of vacation is to just throw my maps and my cameras and my luggage in the car and just drive. I love taking long cross-country road trips.” “Come on man,” he said, “it’s your heritage. Baseball, Apple Pie and Mickey Mouse. What’s wrong with you?”

So it was that 7 years ago I checked in to Walt Disney World for the very first time. I wanted to see him again after all those years, but I was also very intensely curious about this second of the great Walt Disney theme parks Walt Disney created, or at least envisioned before cigarettes killed him: what eventually came to be was not the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow that he’d imagined.

Even so, it is huge…absolutely huge.  I was feeling overwhelmed the moment I drove through those Mickey Mouse gates. But I’d done my research, and bought tickets with the park hopper option so I could wander around like I knew I was going to want to. Several years later while at a private Gay Days party at Typhoon Lagoon I discovered how much fun the water parks are. I’ve had the deluxe annual pass ever since. Then three years ago I rented someone’s DVC points and stayed at Boardwalk and before that vacation was even over I’d joined DVC.

And so it was, and so it is. I’m old enough to remember watching Wonderful World of Color when Walt Disney was still alive, and the moment I walked into Epcot it all came back to me, and I’ve been returning every year since. For a while back in March (Hi Thomas!) I figured my stays there were at an end. But A Certain Someone was right after all…it is my heritage. And more than that…it’s my reminder of that future I looked toward back when I was a kid. I’d forgotten how much of that was crafted by Walt Disney. I’d forgotten how much of a Disney kid I really was.  He had one foot in Main Street USA and the other in Tomorrowland. People forget that about him. In a time when one of our two major parties turns itself into the party of white supremacy, threaten the foundations of the republic, and a Donald Trump can be in reach of sitting in the oval office with the nuclear button close by, I really need that reminder of the human status. 

 

 

I have a job now helping to build that future. And Reckon I will probably keep making the trip to Walt’s World for as long as I can.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Magical Stabs From The Past…

September 7th, 2016

Go Ahead And Stare Back Into Me…I Don’t Care…

Maybe the good in the world doesn’t outweigh the bad after all. But it’s still the good. It’s still worth believing in, still worth living for.

Maybe even more so.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Go Ahead And Stare Back Into Me…I Don’t Care…

August 11th, 2016

Morals

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

trump-loving-christians

Since the late 1970s, conservative Christian leaders have claimed their political engagement is about morality. They have claimed it is about character. They have claimed it is about values. They have claimed it is about biblical principles. Pious preachers, thunderous televangelists, and moralizing activists have sold America a bill of goods about their pure motivation for decades. But evidence indicates that evangelical political engagement is really about cultural influence, social dominance, and power.

Full article Here.

I was raised in a Baptist household. A Yankee Baptist household, as opposed to a Southern Baptist, but let’s not go into that now. The backstory is my dad was…not the best of examples for a young boy and the elders of mom’s side decided that the best thing for his spawn was that he go into the ministry for the sake of the stain on his immortal soul. And also possibly, as a rebuke to the father. Well, it didn’t take. Most of it. But something of the pulpit thumping fire and brimestone tent revivals I attended did. H.L. Mencken once said “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.” But for me it’s step up to the pulpit, spit on my hands, wave the Good Book high and start pounding and sweating.

In the USENET days I argued against the bigots from what I regarded as the moral high ground. Once as I began a sermon, one of them shot back at me that I really, Really didn’t want to get into an argument about morality and homosexuality. I told him that was exactly what I wanted. Then I cleaned his clock. Because: what Jonathan Merritt says here. It was all just a fake. A fraud. A pose to sucker in the rubes. To reassure themselves they weren’t just a bunch of bar stool bigots. We are decent moral people who object to your imposing your sinful lifestyle on the rest of us. But no…Al Capon had more moral scruples than any of them ever did.

If I could say just one thing to my people it would be this and I’m stealing now from a certain author who I also despise, but had a few good lines: Reason and morality are the only tools that can deliver us to that better tomorrow. And now we see, in their wholesale support of Trump, finally, unambiguously, that the right has dropped them. Because ultimately their claim to them was false: They were unwilling to pay the price, to walk the walk not just talk the talk. So they just swiped them out from under the rest of us. And we, t the extent we bear any blame at all, let them convince us that reason, and especially morality, were against us. We were unbiblical, unnatural, immoral sexual outlaws. Our sexuality was irrational, a defiance of the natural order, perverted and degenerate. Reason and morality said so. They said. And we listened. But listen to them now. Listen to them venerate Trump.

Reason and morality. They say that men do not change, the reveal themselves. And so they have. Reason and morality. They were the ones who had no right to bear those things.

Pick them up: you do.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Morals

March 19th, 2016

Love Them…Even If They’re Not Loving You Back Right At This Moment…

I looked out my bedroom window this morning to see a beat up car parked in the alley behind the house with a pressure washer hanging out of the trunk. The car looked abandoned so I went to check. Two older men were in the alley further up and the younger of the two (he looked to be in his forties) was cursing up a storm. These two and several others were working on a neighbor’s house further up the alley. She’s doing a big home remodeling job and these were her contractors.

Okay…fine…the car isn’t an abandoned junker, it’s just some guys doing work on one of the houses here. As I walk back to my backyard the younger guy follows me a short distance away, still cursing up a storm. He’s angry at the older man, who is apparently his father. So this is a father-son home improvement team. There seems to be discord in the company.

So he’s following me back to what I assume is his car, all the while complaining that dad doesn’t know crap, dad isn’t treating him right, dad never takes his side in an argument. Dad is old and cranky and set in his ways, he says to nobody in particular, and he doesn’t know crap and he never takes my side. I’m his son, he’s supposed to take my side every time.

Yes…he really says that. No, he’s not some entitled youngster he’s a middle aged guy and from the look of him life has been a long stretch of bad road. You would think by now he knows it doesn’t always work that way. I get back to my backyard gate and he looks at me and says, “Right? That’s how it’s suppose to work…right?”

And I look him in the eye and say, “My dad died robbing a bank.”

And immediately his tone changes. Hey I’m sorry mister…yeah we’ve had bad times too. Well maybe dad isn’t so bad after all, even if he is old and cranky and set in his ways. We part amicably, I wish him well.

Love your dad, even if he is old and cranky and set in his ways. You never know how its going to end.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Love Them…Even If They’re Not Loving You Back Right At This Moment…

January 6th, 2016

Some Days You Really Miss Rod Serling…(continued)

I think now my little Twilight Zone fantasy can be better. As I wrote it the other day it’s kinda obvious. What it needs is more of that humanity Serling and the writers he brought on board back in the day gave it. (and yes, I’ve been tweaking it ever since I put it up, but I think now I’ll just stop…). I think now that a better progression through the events of history would be if the men around Fearless Leader gradually began to see how wrong it was for them to appropriate the history of those events for themselves, and the tragedy of those who actually did come face to face with tyrannical state power, and as each change of scenery happens more and more of them begin to question what it was they were there to protest in the first place, and turn to the people they suddenly find themselves with and…apologize for comparing themselves to them.

And as they do this, fewer and fewer of them pass on to the next scene in history until the only one left is Fearless Leader, who never learns the lesson.

And maybe the last scene isn’t Tienanmen Square and instead of Sand Creek it’s that wildlife preserve but during the Indian Wars of the late 1800s and Fearless has been dropped in the middle of a roundup of the Indians who once lived there but were force marched out so the white land owners could move in. With the Union Soldiers is one of the old Land Barons mentioned at the beginning of the episode but he has his father’s face and he tells Fearless that they have to get off His land and Fearless says (not really getting that he looks like all the other Indians to this man) wait…not me…it’s our land…at which Land Baron shoots him…or the soldiers drag him off…and we get the closing narration…

standoff land history

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Some Days You Really Miss Rod Serling…(continued)

January 5th, 2016

Some Days You Really Miss Rod Serling

This came across my Facebook stream, in relation to the militia kooks occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon…

twilight zone oregon federal building standoff-sm

In case you haven’t read by now, the militia heros that declared themselves ready to occupy the cottage at the preserve by force of arms for years if necessary until the government ceded the land to them…didn’t bring with them any food…

19492266-standard

Internet ridicule has swiftly followed…

send snacks

Somewhere else I read they were also asking for socks.

This is all very good snark material, but that picture of Rod Serling got me to thinking about what he’d have possibly made of all this. The Twilight Zone wasn’t merely comic book weird tales and amazing stories. Within its otherworldly take, Serling took on the social, moral and political issues of his time, and because his stories were so good as to be timeless, ours as well. The more you watch those old black & white episodes, the more you appreciate what he managed to accomplish in the Hollywood system, and the more you miss him. If TV was a vast wasteland back then, it’s a toxic landfill now.

You can imagine it opening with the militia, (which Twitter quickly dubbed Y’all Qaeda) talking to reporters from the front door of the cottage. Perhaps the local sheriff steps forward to beg them to leave peacefully before anyone gets hurt. The townsfolk don’t want you here, we’re a peaceful law abiding community, the men you’re defending were found guilty of setting fires on public land by a jury of their peers. They could have killed those firemen and rangers. Please…just go…before anyone gets hurt. And the militia spokesman with the cameras rolling (this is late 1950s TV) just recites his boilerplate about freedom, tyranny and the lawless federal government taking our land and persecuting the ranchers. Waving his rifle in the air he says he and his men will occupy the land for as long as it takes and like the patriots who fought for America they too are willing to die for their cause if it comes to it. 

…at which point the camera might pan over to Rod Serling, who might say something along the lines of…

Meet [name of militia leader], American patriot, who with his men has just invaded a small wildlife sanctuary in a remote part of Oregon to defend freedom from the scarecrows contained within pamphlets and newspapers printed by extremist madmen. But tonight those scarecrows will step off the printed page and accept his challenge, because what he and his men don’t yet realize is the land they have occupied…is in the Twilight Zone.

The camera backs away from the militia news conference, and begins to pan over a gathered small crowd watching the proceedings. We hear the militia man arguing with the sheriff in the background, while various townsfolk express their opinion that they should leave before someone gets hurt. Others that they have a point, the federal government doesn’t seem to listen to the people anymore. Someone says they’d listen if more of us voted. Somebody else whispers that they’re not fighting for the ranchers, they’re fighting for the old land barons who owned everything here including the water, before the government cut them down to size. 

The camera comes back to the scene in front of the cottage. The sheriff warns the militiaman that the longer they stay the more likely someone will get hurt. The man repeats his claim that they are willing to die in the fight against tyranny.

The scene changes to night. The camera pans from armed watchmen outside to the interior of the house, where we see these guys are just playing soldier. They brought plenty of ammunition but nobody figured on food and the water to the cottage had been turned off for the winter. There is some argument about what to do next, but the leader is still in control. Unfortunately, he’s just a schoolyard bully in a grownup body. He has neither military experience nor common sense. They bed down for the night.

Then they wake up to find themselves in a Jewish ghetto surrounded by SS men. They have some weapons, but now there is a military force arrayed around them, not a small town sheriff and a few men.  Now we see what they’re really made of and none of them are even close to soldier material, nor martyr either: they’re cowards and it shows right away, first in the leader, who like all bullies collapses into a self pitying heap when confronted with anyone bigger and stronger. His men quickly follow. The Jews in the room with them look on in disgust. The soldiers outside begin firing.

They all die. Then they wake up again in teepees at Sand Creek surrounded by soldiers. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Then they wake up again and they’re in a southern black church during the civil rights days surrounded by a lynch mob led by the local sheriff. Again the cowardly behavior. Again the looks of disgust from the people in the church.

Then they wake up in a small house in ancient Rome, there is a makeshift cross on the wall…Roman centurions are outside. The men rend their togas and try to wave white surrender flags out the windows while the Christians inside look on in disgust. The centurions  break down the door, charge inside with their short Roman swords…

…and they wake up in Tiananmen Square…

…at which point the camera pans over to Rod Serling, who might look into the camera and say something along the lines of…

Every tyrant is a thief and every thief a potential tyrant, and the items of value for their taking are more than simply money and land, but also culture, history, and valor. These things, intangible though they are, contain the sum of all wealth and human nobility that ever was and will ever be, and while they may be stolen and worn for a time, they can only be lived by the those who have earned them. A word of warning to anyone who would cast themselves in the role of martyr in the defense of liberty: you might just get an audition…in the Twilight Zone…

Of course, Rod Serling would write a better story and better words to speak to the camera than I could ever put in his mouth. But a kid who grew up in the black & white TV days can still imagine what it would have been like.

ammon-bundy-bw

 

tiananmen_square-bw 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Some Days You Really Miss Rod Serling

December 24th, 2015

Age And Wisdom

Regards Kentucky’s new governor, that quote of H.L Mencken’s about democracy being based on the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard kept coming back to mind. Whilst looking it up I stumbled upon this one…

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
-H. L. Mencken

Yeah. About that. There’s this beautiful quote of Issac Newton…that I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. The wisdom there is this: that even if you take care to walk though your life with your eyes open and your mind curious, you will still only see what was there for you to see. And that portion is very small.

Don Juan (I’m showing my generational age group now) said that the second foe was Clarity, and that to defeat it you had to keep in mind that your knowledge was merely a light in the path before you, and you do not see what is on either side of that path. Jacob Bronowski said that all knowledge is bound within an area of uncertainty and we must treat what we know with humility. As people get older, myself included, they tend to put great stock in their accumulated life experiences. But you have to be careful. Yes, it was real. But it was only the smoother pebbles and prettier shells you found. There was a greater ocean around you that you will never know.

That doesn’t mean your life experiences are worthless. It was real. It was wonderful. But you need to keep in mind that it was only a part of the whole. And that greater part is huge. Infinite practically. You learned a lot. Treasure it. Pass it on. But remember: the ocean remains.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Age And Wisdom

September 24th, 2015

Notes On Atheism

Despite his stance on same-sex marriage, and the sacredness and dignity of same-sex love and romance and sex, I’m finding myself just thoroughly touched and uplifted by this Pope. Today he had company with the homeless of Washington D.C., rather than dinned with the city power elite. And he told them that “The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person.” Whether or not you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was god incarnate is beside the point. Those people surely needed food for the soul as much as their bodies. For a moment they would have felt loved, and Valued.

I’ve written here often about a passage from the biography of Mary Renault, who gave me a vision when I was a teenager of that sacredness of same-sex love that I so badly needed. In it her biographer quotes her as saying that politics like sex was a reflection of the person within, and if you’re mean and selfish and cruel it will come out in your sex life and in your politics when what really matters is you aren’t the sort of person who behaves like that. To that I would only add religion. If you’re mean and selfish and cruel it will come out in your religious beliefs and your spirituality when what really matters is you aren’t the sort of person who behaves like that.

That includes atheism. The stereotype of atheists like myself is we’re arrogant, uncaring, selfish. But it’s the inner person that matters, not the clothing of their politics or religion. They say without religion there can be no morality. Atheists reply that religion has been responsible for some of the cruelest, bloodiest passages in the history books. But it’s the person. It is always the person. Everything else is detail. I am an atheist because belief simply stopped making sense to me. Love, kindness, trustworthiness, lending a helping hand when you can…these things have always made sense. I could sit here and type out rationalizations for why, and maybe you could type out some theology to prove my rationalizations are just empty hand waving, and then I could say the same about your theology. It’s all just reflex. What matters is the heart.

I could wish this pope could see the people for the homosexuals. But unlike Ratzinger, I can’t imaging him ever excusing violence toward us. Or anyone. His religion is his logical frame of reference. But the heart within is a noble one. When he made company with the homeless of the nation’s capital, he preached to both them, and to the high places. It was stunning.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Notes On Atheism

January 22nd, 2014

Not Why I Am An Atheist…Reason #2. Collect The Entire Series!

I am not an Atheist because I read Ayn Rand back in the 70s.  Matter of fact, I didn’t start acknowledging to myself that I had become atheist until a few years ago. For decades I considered myself an agnostic in the manner of Spinzoa, or Frank Lloyd Wright, who once said he believed in God but he spelled it Nature.  I still love that quote.  But it was actually many years after Ronald Reagan showed me what a world where people who believed that money equals morality actually looks like and I walked away from Rand, that I realized I had become Atheist.  And I would really object if someone told me that I wasn’t an atheist if I didn’t embrace Rand’s philosophy.

Actually, I object to her opinions even being called philosophy.  What she had was a jerking knee about anything that smacked of basic human unconditional sympathy.  She was a sociopath, at one point idealizing a child murderer who grotesquely dismembered his victim’s body, wired her eyes open to make it appear that she was alive when found, and scattered pieces of her body around to taunt the police.  I remember when I first read about this and how unsurprising it was by then.  It is no coincidence that her ideas are embraced today by sociopaths, wealthy and otherwise alike.  And…new generations of useful idiots, like I was once.

Anyway…From Fred Clark

Ayn Rand claimed that her philosophy was the One True Faith for anyone who does not subscribe to religious faith. She said that what she called “Objectivism” — the “virtue of selfishness” and a vehement rejection of altruism — was the only Real, True Atheism. Anyone who claimed to be an atheist, but refused to follow her particular program, therefore, wasn’t the genuine article.

That’s malarkey, though.

And it would be dreadfully foolish for me, as a Christian, to accept this Randian assertion as the One True Definition of Atheism…

Likewise…

That would be like … like … oh, let’s say like recognizing the delusional dishonesty of everything Ken Ham has to say about science and history, but then turning around and declaring him to be correct and authoritative when it comes to biblical interpretation and hermeneutics.

Just so.  Some words are really big.  Christian and Atheist being two pretty big words.  And there are lots of other really big words. And they’re not always descriptive in the way people think they are.  Gay is a big word, especially when it’s another word for Homosexual.

I’ve had people tell me I am still an agnostic because I won’t say that I know for a fact there is no god, which is less objectionable but still…no.  I really really doubt there is a supreme being that created the universe and everything in it, but that I am always willing to acknowledge that someday I might find myself walking along Newton’s beach and pick up one of those prettier than ordinary seashells and find God inside and go Oh…there you were…, does not make me an agnostic. I just…don’t believe.  There’s a word for that.  But it’s a big one.  Like “Christian”.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Not Why I Am An Atheist…Reason #2. Collect The Entire Series!

January 12th, 2014

The Parka That Represented A Mindset

OhMyGod…Sierra Designs is (or was) making it’s original Mountain Parka!!! It’s on the kind of sale that looks like it’s a discontinued item (again) and some sizes for some colors are marked as not in stock. But you can get to them from the main page if you go to “Men’s Apparel -> 60/40 Heritage”. Or you can just do a Google search on them like I did just a few moments ago on a lark.  Or just click this link.

See…I’ve been wishfully thinking about that parka for decades. Decades. I had one way back when, but not understanding the concept fully I bought one that had a Thinsulate liner and really, it’s supposed to be a shell. The idea was if you needed to you wore something else under it like a sweater or a vest. Otherwise it made a good wind breaker for back country hiking.  But there was more to it.  Oddly enough, a piece of clothing can also represent something more than itself and the purpose it was made to.

Back when I was a kid a lot of outdoor stuff you saw was made the same way they’d been making outdoor equipment since almost the turn of the century…much it merely riffing off old army designs that even the army wasn’t using anymore. Nobody was really thinking about what the equipment was supposed to do. New materials were mindlessly used in old designs that had been originally made with canvas and trotted out as something new and great simply because the canvas had been replaced with nylon or some other synthetic fabric.

In the late 60s a few small companies in California began rethinking everything. One of them was Sierra Designs which began selling their Mountain Parka in 1968. It hit the outdoor market like a bombshell for its innovative design and over engineered construction (they used to guarantee their stitching for life). It quickly became a thing. If you’ve ever watched the original Carl Sagan “Cosmos” series, that parka he was wearing at various points in it was one. It was a very recognizable item because its design was so unique for its day, yet it made so much sense for its purpose.

Nowadays all this is old hat…but I remember the thrill of walking into a Hudson Bay Outfitters store in the 70s and seeing so many new ideas and designs for outdoor equipment (I was in my wilderness backpacking phase then) that looked so different and yet made so much sense. Because some people had started rethinking what that equipment was For, had begun to realize what new materials and new technologies could accomplish. And those people got other people to thinking too.  This was the same think outside the box mindset…you saw it mostly but not exclusively on the west coast…that would eventually yank the power of the computer out of the mainframe and put it on people’s desktops, and then into their hands.  It was this:

We keep moving forward opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. -Walt Disney.

After the stifling 50s, that was the future I thought was was walking into when I was a teenager.  Well…it wasn’t all that.  But in some ways it was.  And still is.

Time passes…the universe expands…my economic status declined rapidly after the Reagan recession and the Savings and Loan scandals wreaked the economy. I got rid of my Thinsulate lined parka when its fabric got hopelessly torn and I had no money for a new one but I figured I’d get one of the basic shells at some point. But the company changed hands, joined with other outdoor companies like Kelty and stopped making some of its classic products including the Mountain Parka. Every now and then I’d check the company web site to see if they’d re-introduced it but it was never there.

Last Christmas my brother bought me a really nice L.L. Bean down vest and I started thinking again about the Sierra Designs parka and just now I looked and it’s back!  So of course I bought one. I didn’t need one…I have some very good coats and parkas in the coat closet already. But sometimes you wear an item of clothing not for what it is entirely, but for what it represents.

sagan-cosmos-2

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Parka That Represented A Mindset

December 17th, 2013

‘Tis That Christmas Story Season…

Well…there’s a baby in the manger one, which a lot of good people still hold dear.  I have a different one in mind.  This just came across my Facebook stream…

17 December 1843 A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was published.

I saw it and immediately thought the artist had captured both Scrooge and the entire Dickens story perfectly.  This is one of the better representations of Scrooge I’ve ever seen, and you see a lot of them this time of year. Most of the time what you get is a caricature, an easy to dismiss stereotype. I hear the 1938 movie version with Reginald Owen is well liked, but the first serious telling of the story I ever saw was the George C. Scott version and I still find that the better one. In it, Scrooge is a business man of his day and age and when he says the poor had better die soon and decrease the surplus population you feel it as Dickens meant it to be felt, that this is a man who is probably very good at business, but has lost his soul.

There’s the old story of the birth of Jesus.  There’s other’s like Amahl and the Night Visitors, also a favorite of mine once upon a time.  There’s It’s A Wonderful Life.  But for me the meaning of the season is best seen in A Christmas Carol.  You just have to get past all the cardboard Scrooges.  If I were doing a film version of it today, I’d make him an American financier, and change not a word of dialogue or action, and it would make you cringe for the soul of this man.

[Update…]  It was the Alastair Sim version I was thinking of, as the first of the believable Scrooges, not the MGM Reginald Owen one.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on ‘Tis That Christmas Story Season…

October 19th, 2013

Pending Coffee

This came across my Facebook stream just now.  Some days you read crap on Facebook that just makes you want to write off the human race.  Then there are things like this…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Pending Coffee

January 9th, 2013

Dangerous

This flitted across my Facebook stream a while ago…I really wish I had the original because I’d caption it differently…

Having had and witnessed so many arguments with anti-gay bigots who say that marriage isn’t about love, I’m pretty sure this would fail miserably at getting the point across.  You simply can’t make that point with the hard core bigot, they just don’t get that “love” stuff to begin with, or to any degree they do they regard it with contempt as a sign of weakness.

This is a good argument to make with everyone else who is open to hearing to our stories and seeing our shared humanity.  But there’s a another one.  I’d caption the picture above something like this:

In a world bleeding itself to death with violence and war, how rational are those
who warn that it is dangerous to allow men to love other men?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Dangerous

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...



    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.