I wish to take a moment to not only wish you all of my best in the coming year, but to thank you, you that has taken a moment to click onto my blog and are reading these words.
On June 1, 2014 I started Fearsome Beard to part and be a part of the blogging community that I was regularly reading. The encouragement, love and support I received was amazing. I was hooked and stumbled my way into this world. I’ve never been a writer, but found I enjoyed expressing myself.
Without you stopping by I probably would have given it up, but you kept coming back. All of you kept coming back and more and more started coming by. I’m humbled.
In 2022 Fearsome Beard had 207,721 views from 45,791 visitors. These numbers are records for this 8 year old blog. These numbers humble me and I thank you, all of you.
I also wish to thank my referring fellow bloggers. Bosguy sent me 12,496 viewers, Ishouldbelaughing sent me 3,823 viewers, Riding on sent me 1,700 viewers and Raybeard sent me 565 viewers. Many others of you sent me many viewers as well and I can’t thank all of you enough. All of you are very dear to me.
Gratitude is always a place that gets me in good spirits and friendship, even if it’s over the internet, is something I cherish. I dedicate this tune to you my readers and fellow bloggers for you are my friends, and for you I am grateful!
Lake Street Dive – Thank You For Being A Friend – Cover – 2022
Happy New Year 2023! May your year ahead be full of peace, love, friendship, good health and fulfillment.
3653 days ago today I came to on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel room bathroom. Thankfully, so far, that was the last time I came to in that condition. My gratitude for the sobriety I have and the people who have helped me along the way on my path cannot be fully expressed. However that deep gratitude is there and it sustains my soul.
I’ve found that anytime I begin anew that I am more productive, creative, fulfilled and successful if I begin from a place of gratitude.
The year two thousand twenty one is fresh, so there is no better time for me to put a new foot forward toward bettering myself. I hope to be a better husband, better friend, better real estate agent, better painter, better blogger and better person in the coming year.
So I choose to start with gratitude. Being that you are reading this on this here blog thingy called Fearsome Beard, why not begin with it.
You don’t need me to tell you that twenty twenty has been a dumpster fire of a year. However as all years go, there are milestones that happen. Yes bad shit happens but so does good.
Fearsome Beard passed the milestone of ninety thousand views for the first time in our 6 year history, 94,267 views from 28,724 visitors. Both of these numbers were all time highs. All time highs thanks to you my dear readers and also thanks to blogger buddy referrals.
Our number 1 referring blog was I Should Be Laughing with 2,855 referrals, coming in at number two is Bosguy who sent us 2,319 referrals and to round out the top three we received 1,165 referrals from Riding On . Thank you to the three of you and all of the many other wonderful Blogger buddies I have who send readers my way by including Fearsome in their blogroll and linking back to this blog. Without the support of other bloggers over the years Fearsome Beard wouldn’t have become the important part of my life that it has. Appreciate all of you I do.
While we are on the blogger buddy gratitude train I simply must thank UrSpo over at Spo Reflections as he introduced me to blogging and walked me through the process of registering with WordPress and right into my very first post. I cannot be grateful to blogger buddies without mentioning three special ones I met many years ago in the comments section of UrSpo’s blog who are Anne Marie , Sassybear & Erik all who have been readers and supporters of Fearsome since our first week.
Most of all I want to thank you, each and every one of you who clicks, reads, follows, likes and comments right here on our blog. Fearsome and I are humbled. We hope that we at least bring a smile to at least one face per day. Each and every smile in the world makes this world a better place.
Fearsome and I love our journey that is our life and we are happy and most grateful that you are a part of it.
Back in 1984 there was a rather popular poster of Gottfried Helnwein’s interpretation of Edward Hoppers iconic Nighthawks. In it Helnwein replaced Hopper’s characters with Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley. The poster was titled BoulevardofBrokenDreams.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Gottfried Helnwein – 1984
Nighthawks – Edward Hopper – 1942
Earlier today as I strolled along the A1A, aka Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, I was taken back to my first trip to this special place. I was but a young gay buck of 20ish years in that year of 1984. The world was my apple and I was taking my first bite of it.
Oh the dreams I dreamt as we cruised the crowded street along the beautiful beach. Expensive cars, beautiful bodies, palm trees, sea, sand, luxury condos, stylish clothes, designer glasses, garish jewelry, massive yachts, love, sex, endless nights of dancing & debauchery, exotic vacations and an openly gay lifestyle. Shallow I know, but youth and inexperience often allows young gay bucks like I was to be led astray into dreams of superficiality.
Yes those dreams all flooded back into my memory as I strolled this beautiful boulevard.
Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard 10/26/2020
I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced this stretch of road and beach so empty of human activities in all the 100s of times I’ve strolled it. If there is any silver lining to Covid at all it’s the ability to experience such a moment at 11 am and 82 degrees F with a nice breeze. Such a quiet moment allows one to remember, contemplate and to dream.
Helnwein‘s interpretation of Hopper’s famous painting always gave me the empty lonely feeling of lives cut short and dreams not realized. Feelings of disappointment, loss, loneliness and sadness. As I strolled this empty stretch of typically busy avenues, I realized just how many of my 1984 dreams I’ve realized over the more than 30 years that have a passed. As I acknowledged my dreams, I started to sense how many of the dreams of those four souls in Helnwein’s interpretation had actually realized. Lives may have been cut short, tragedy may have struck, but dreams were realized and did come true for each and every one of them. My feelings about that poster which was so prevalent in 1984 shifted.
I never owned a copy of Hoppers painting nor of Helnwein’s poster. I did, however, own a copy of Michael Bedard’s interpretation of Helnwein’s interpretation. Bedard’s is entitled WindowShopping.
Window Shopping – Michael Bedard – 1989
Reflection of the 20ish boy’s somewhat shallow dreams as I strolled this morning revealed that the sheltered boy from small town Virginia has traveled the world, danced the night away on the open decks of cruise ships, met and conversed with rich and powerful people, lived and owned luxury & investment properties – even right here on this very Ft Lauderdale beach – in various cities, found love that has even celebrated a 30 year anniversary, sex-lots of sex, lives an openly gay life as a married gay man with a husband, has owned expensive cars, worn designer clothes, has had and experienced beautiful bodies, can see the Pacific Ocean from his very own house including from it’s newly constructed guest apartment in his back yard, has a beautiful and growing family of nieces and nephews, has made lifelong friendships that deepened beyond that ever imagined, has a fulfilling career, rescues dogs, is a philanthropist, has owned loved captained and since sold his very own yacht, has the blessing of bringing his mother to live out her golden years with him as he is blessed with the ability to care for her, owns expensive beautiful art, is blessed with the talents to actually paint beautiful art, has some expensive watches and wears a Platinum Tiffany wedding band on his left hand, grows beautiful flowers in his yard, has been a drunk and found sobriety, helps his neighbors, is currently sitting sans clothing by a swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale on this 84 degree afternoon, so many dreams…many more… the dreams keep coming true.
Material and meaningful dreams really do come true.
I once listened to an interview with KC of KC and the Sunshine Band. He was asked about his music and inspiration for it. He simply stated that coming out of the turbulent times of the early 1970s after the Vietnam War, he wanted to make music that made people happy, music to take them away from troubled times, music to enjoy.
KC struck gold.
Boogie Shoes – KC and the Sunshine Band – 1975
Thank you KC, you made this man’s childhood all the more enjoyable.
Who might our next musical inspiration be?
Fearsome and I wish to personally say Thank You to Pete Buttigieg for turning his life upside down during his history making and ground breaking run for President. Pete, you are a role model. We also wish to thank Chasten for his loving support of his husband’s candidacy. Chasten, you are a role model.
We thank you both for living your truth and working to better not only our country but to better the lives for all of it’s citizens.
We know that this isn’t goodbye, but the turning of a page into a new chapter of your life changing inspirational leadership toward a better future. With you two in our world we know it’s gonna be bright!
It was late June 1969, a few pissed off queens had finally had enough.
This is a transcript of the above article below:
Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad
The New York Daily News, July 6, 1969 By JERRY LISKER
She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.
Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.
“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.
The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.
The Raid Last Friday
Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.
All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.
Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.
The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.
The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.
Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.
Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.
Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.
Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”
Bruce and Nan
Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.
“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”
“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”
Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.
“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”
Nan wiped her face with a tissue.
“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.
“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.
Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tieing the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”
“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”
“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”
Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.
“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”
A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premisses.
Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”
The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.
“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”
Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.
The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.
“We May have lost the battle, but the war is far from over”.
Fifty years later, thanks to some courageous individuals, the world is a better place. I salute them with deep gratitude. Today, because of their lead, many battles have been won …but the war is far from over.
It’s 6:20 A.M. in San Diego. We, Fearsome and myself, just boarded United Flight 307 to Chicago. Our final destination is my hometown, Roanoke Va.
Life in our (The Better Half, Fearsome, 7 dogs and myself) San Diego home of more than 25 years will change dramatically at the end of this next week. We will be flying my mother back with me to her new home which is our home.
I’ll spend the week keeping Fearsome out of the moving boxes and suitcases as we pack up the final items left in my family home. Mom has lived in that house since 1957. Dad passed about 2.5 years ago and my oldest brother followed him a year later. The era of our core family in that house has passed and Mom is totally cool with that. It’s time for a new family to give it new life and it is time for Mom to head west to her final horizon.
Emotions will ebb and flow this week. Memories both happy and sad will surface. Laughter, tears, love, hope and gratitude will be shared.
Yesterday after having an incredible time at breakfast breaking bread with a dear blogger friend (or Penguin in this case), we walked the banks of the tidal basin to take in the texture of full Cherry Blossom.
Only to arise early today that we might jet down the coast for a tasty lunch by the southern sea.
Casa Blanca Cafe Ft. Lauderdale Beach
“Live Love Laugh” were the words that Fearsome left behind in the temple of Burning Man. Wherever I am may I always remember to pause, be grateful and to Live Love Laugh.
Next week I will have the pleasure of meeting Travel Penguin for a morning meal.
Our banter, comments, humor, insight, advice, empathy, respect and understanding make for a wonderful community. We come from all places and all walks of life. I love being part of this here blogging community and I wish to express my gratitude to all those in my blogging circle.
The Christmas tree is down and already in the alley for pick up.
Our tree this morning
All the decorations are boxed and in the attic. Most everything is back in its place. It’s been a great holiday season. The 7 dogs are snuggled in their places on the couch and in dog beds.
Mitzi (our oldest at 16) and Gilda (13)
We just had a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner out at one of our favorite Italian spots in Hillcrest. Times Square plays on the tv as we enjoy the wonderful place we call home.
We have two wonderful god sons who have grown into young men.
Joshua (21), Fearsome, Markus (17) and The Better Half
We were there for each of their births and have been their god parents since each of those wonerdful days. Joshua is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Markus is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program of San Diego High. Both speak three languages fluently. Their dad and The Better Half have been friends since high school, he and his wife are two of the best friends anyone could ever begin to wish for.
The two youngest dogs, our rescued Yorkies, have recovered extremely well from their double knee surgeries and are no longer confined to a nursery area but are living out with us and the rest of the pack.
Phoebe and Betty napping together in my lap, both are just 3 pounds each full grown.
Our home is full of love. We enjoy our community. Our careers are both fulfilling and lucrative.
With overwhelming gratitude, Fearsome and I wish each and every one of of you a very Happy New Year!