Somewhere in the southern Caribbean

Many a moon ago aboard Dolphin Cruise Line’s SS Sea Breeze we found ourselves anchored just off the coast of Aruba. Fearsome was in remission at the time as I had developed a bad habit called shaving, but he was there in spirit as he always is. It was an early morning under the searing southern Caribbean sun and not a good morning for the hangover from last evenings heavy drinking dance floor adventures.

We found ourselves amongst  many other bleary eyed hungover gay men searching for that perfect spot on deck of this RSVP cruise from which to observe that days total solar eclipse. We were anchored just off the coast of Aruba for a reason, we were in the path of totality in a spot calculated to have the longest time in actual totality, about 3 minutes 40 seconds to my recollection. That sun was hot and all I wanted was a place to sit down, drink my coffee and nurse this hangover. A friend handed me a Bloody Mary. Life was suddenly better.

A passenger affectionately known as The Chicken Lady passed by pouring creme in anyone’s coffee who needed it. She was carrying her trademark chicken purse and the creme flowed on demand into awaiting coffee cups out of an artificial breast that she wore under her bikini top. The Chicken Lady wasn’t known to be reserved nor inhibited in any way imaginable.

The ship’s crew worked feverishly to make sure all 800 passengers were well taken care of and comfortable. They made sure we all had our beverages of choice as well as our solar eclipse viewers. Morning cocktial music played, we laughed, the scent of sunscreen permeated the air and we waited.

The searing heat of the tropical sun started to diminish. A quick check with the solar eclipse glasses confirms that the moon has begun it’s journey between us and our sun. It seemed as if someone had found both the dimmer and the thermostat as not only was the light becoming more appropriate for a party, but the heat had been turned down a notch. We continued our wait laughing with our friends, checking the moon’s progress through the viewers and ordering more cocktails.

Suddenly it all changed.

I had experienced partial eclipses before. No. Big. Deal.

This was different.

In the distance it appears as if a very dark storm had formed. It was black out there. It was moving. It was moving fast and it was headed toward us. However there were no clouds but just darkness. Not just darker but black. This shadow was moving and there was no escaping it. That shadow of black was coming for us and fast. We adorned the viewers and looked up to find just a tiny pierce of the sun left and then it was gone. Nothing left but a faint corona and then a voice from the crowd, all on their feet at this moment, screamed “It’s safe now, take off your glasses!”

Our photos from Aruba’s total eclipse

Nighttime. Nighttime with all the stars out yet a faint light of dawn 360 degrees around us just at the lip of horizon. The birds, the songs of the birds as if it were daybreak. The lights, all the streetlights and lighted signs on the tiny island of Aruba had lit up. It was nighttime but it wasn’t. The horizon was beautiful. The colors of sunrise 360 degrees around us with all the stars out and this black circle above us. Tiny black, very black circle with a moving light shimmering around it.

Surreal.

Ouch! The light! Someone screams”Glasses on!”

The moon had moved on and the first pierce of intense light had broken through. The sun was back, although just a tiny corner. We looked down to realize that we were no longer in the dark shadow as a faint light of sun had encompassed us. The shadow was moving again. The darkness had left us and it was moving again, moving away from us. Moving away fast. We could see it’s circular edge moving across the sea as the light replaced the darkness in the water. The great storm of darkness moved on and so fast that we couldn’t follow it.

We watched as the wonderment of that total eclipse moved on for others to experience that day.

Then we danced.

Today I sit in awe and gratitude for all the gifts I have been blessed with thus far in my wonderful life. Thus far!

Happy Eclipse!

I love

In order to live as a human among humans I must learn to accept.

I must learn to accept that we are different. I must learn that we are the same. I must learn we share. I must learn I will not like everything. I must learn that not everyone will like me. I must learn that many times it’s better to focus on similarities rather than differences. I must learn that not all human aspects are good. I must learn to forgive.

In order to live a life that I myself can feel good about, I must, and will, stand up for righteousness.

I will lead by example. I will do good. I will be kind. I will speak justly. I will convey honesty. I will practice equality. I will appreciate diversity. I will look for commonality. I will share. I will understand. I will give. I will grow. I will listen. I will strive for betterment. I will serve. I will teach. I will encourage. I will compliment. I will support. I will practice. I will be vulnerable. I will gain courage. I will laugh. I will cry. I will accept. I will stand. I will love.

Dreamers

America is a place born of dreamers.

The United States of America is greater when it is open and accepting of new dreamers dreaming their own dream of a better life and a better world.

When we close our minds we cease to grow and we begin to live in fear. It is then when we begin to die and we become irrelevant.

The man in the photo above is a friend who is an immigrant, or as he prefers it emigrant. That photo is of him the day he was sworn in as a citizen in 2002. He came here with $92 in his pocket and before he could get permanent employment he was involved in a motor cycle accident and wound up in the county hospital on the state’s dime. He was told he would probably never walk again.

Today he is a multi millionaire many times over and owns the leading coaching company in the world. He lives here in San Diego and I regularly attend his seminars. Hit play on that video and don’t tell me you didn’t tear up at least once. It’s set to Neil Diamond’s Coming to America.

The point is he had a dream. He came here. He got off to a bad start, but like most first generation immigrants he succeeded. Also, like most of them, he succeeeded very well. He didn’t take an American born citizens job, he hires hundreds of them to run his company. His name is Brian Buffini.

Immigrants made the USA what it is.

Don’t let a small minded fearful bully stop immigrants from making us who we are.

Friendship

Best friends for twenty years.

Clayton and I met one July night twenty years ago in 1997. I had stopped into Hamburger Mary’s for a cocktail (more like six or seven…probably more) and he was barbacking for Matt. A cute (hot) little  bear cub he was. We hit it off right away. We hit it off so well that when I woke up the in his bed the next morning I immediately asked “Where’s your phone” to which he replied “Why?”, “I need to call my husband” I replied, “Husband? You have a husband?” he said.

That was one hell of a hangover and I had more than some ‘splainin’ to do when I got home. Fidelity wasn’t my strong point and definitely wasn’t when I was gettin’ my drink on back in those wild younger days. The Better Half and I made it through, and so did Clayton and I.

Somehow, even though we were both quite young, Clayton and I were able to channel that sexual attraction, shit who am I fooling?… full on infatuation, into a friendship. Not only a friendship, but a best friend friendship. He and The Better Half became close friends as well.

I’ve stuck by him through his relationships, boyfriends, loss of his dad, bad roommates, good roommates, home-buying, work issues, personal issues, laughter, tears, moving, travel, car accidents, baseball games, many cocktails and many achievements. He’s stuck by me through depression, drunkenness, getting sober, death of friends, pets and family, laughter, tears, job changes, travels, bad behavior, good behavior, other marital infidelities, shopping, bar hopping, and he even rescued me from a possible DUI arrest.

Twenty years. Damn. I love him and I know he loves me.

Today’s Beard of the Day photo was taken in Puerto Vallarta some 16 or 17 maybe even 18 years ago. We need to take a photo in that position again to mark our enduring friendship, this time maybe with shirts on…then again maybe not.

A copy of my e mail

I sent a version of this letter below to all of my elected officials. I included in this previous POST an easy set click links where you can find and e mail some of yours. Feel free to copy and use my letter if you wish. I simply modified it as needed to each one.

Dear Governor Brown,
As you are quite aware someone has announced that Transgender persons are no longer welcome to serve our country. Then while the media is having a firestorm over that sudden announcement and as the senate -g o p- are dramatically playing out their “take the healthcare away from the poor and give the money to the rich” scheme, it seems the Department of Justice decides to submit an amicus brief stating that all LGBT Americans simply aren’t covered under the 1964 civil rights act because of who we are and who we love.
Whew, what a day of drama and side shows. I know that you and all of our governors, senators and representatives on the right side of history have your hands full. I want to personally thank you all for working toward a just, fair and equal society. I ask that you keep fighting for us and all of our rights as equal citizens no matter our sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, skin color, beliefs, age, pre-existing condition, income, social status and I think you know what I mean. Keep it up for us, for you, for the children and for our country. We need you.

What happens when we turn a blind eye to injustice

First of all Fearsome asks that you please notice the change in the wording of our header above.

Fearsome will continue his quest of inner growth, increased knowledge and expansion of his understanding and empathy as before, however he must take a stand. When the rights of any one innocent person is tread upon by the injustice of unwarranted discrimination, our society is assaulted. When we stand by tacit as others are treated unfairly we will become just as guilty as the bullies themselves.

Let us review just what happens when a society allows injustice, keep in mind history can repeat itself.

Slavery

The Holocaust

Segregation

Japanese Camps

The genocides of Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur just to name a few recent ones.

Colonial genocide against native Americans

And let us not forget a few of the current injust societies amoung us today such as North Korea, Venezuela and Syria.

Inequality is injustice. Ignorance and fear breed such nonsense.

Will all earthly societies ever become perfect and just? Most likely not.

Can all earthly societies try to move towards perfection and justice? Yes, yes we can always improve, learn, grow, respect, understand, encourage, support and care.

Take a stand. Spread knowledge. Teach understanding. Lead by example. Grow yourself. Show you care. Help others. Speak kindly. Give freely.

What can I do?

1) I can call a friend who needs support and give them mine.

2) I can become a member of the ACLU … or if I already am … I can donate more.

3) I can contact both my SENATORS.

4) I can contact my REPRESENTATIVE.

5) Contact my GOVERNOR.

6) I can donate to or volunteer for the DEMOCRATIC Party.

7) I can stand for justice, equality and righteousness.

8) I can speak out ( ….remember…Silence =Death).

9) I can talk, enlighten, rally and share with others around me.

10) I can donate my time, attend rallies and be visible.

What can you do? Pick one, or preferably all, of the above and stand up for humanity, equality and dignity for all.

Comic-Con 2017 Preparing for Preview Night

Today’s LA Times featured this ARTICLE about Comic-Con’s famous Hall H, the most important room in all of Hollywood. If you definitely want to see Stars, you can see them in Hall H. In all of my trips to Comic-Con International I’ve never made it through the doors of Hall H. Comic-Con has yet to start and right now there are people camped out waiting for Hall H to open tomorrow morning. Hall H is the largest panel meeting space at Comic-Con, but it only holds 6,500 people and daily attendance at Comic-Con is merely 130,000. If I attend a panel, it’s in a smaller meeting hall with lesser known personalities and no overnight waiting lines.

Comic-Con for me is the convention hall floor. People watching nirvana. I’ll be there soon, say around 4:30 pm this afternoon, to grab my spot in line for the official opening of Preview night at 6:00 pm.

 

Happy Pride!

It’s officially Pride weekend in here in beautiful sunny San Diego California!

Given we live in a state with three major cities, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Pride celebrations are spread out in order to allow celebrants the options to be able to celebrate more than once and not have to choose between. There are also celebrations on other weekends in various smaller, yet just as important, locations such as Long Beach and Palm Springs. Having our many California celebrations over numerous weekends also allows tourists from to catch a Pride celebration while traveling through California if they so desire.

My first ever Pride experience was in Seattle back in 1990. The city where I grew up didn’t have such a thing and my travels through east coast cities back in the 1980s never seemed to coincide with one. I haven’t missed a Pride since that first one in Seattle and my official relocation to the West coast.

For me Pride has so many more meanings that just being gay. Pride is love. Pride is joy. Pride is acceptance. Pride is understanding, forgiving, righteous, brotherhood, sisterhood, humanhood, sexuality, sexual identity, identity, political, non-political, peace, justice, black, white, brown, yellow, red, giving, gratitude, sharing, respect, service, caring…Pride is a place to just simply be yourself. Just be.

A tune from my dance floor days before that first ever Pride celebration surprised me on Sirius XM Studio 54 today. A tune that I had probably not heard since seeing Pamela Stanley perform it live during RSVP Cruise Lines 10th anniversary party in Puerto Vallarta back in 1996, which was probably about the 10th anniversary of the tune itself. A tune that seems perfectly appropriate to kick off another absolutely fabulous Pride 2017 weekend in lovely San Diego.

Happy Pride Y’all!

Luxating Patellas

Our beautiful little recent family additions, Phoebe & Betty, came into our home due in part to their continuing medical needs …and honestly because I fell in love with them.

Betty & Phoebe

They weren’t just your average three pound cute little homeless 1 year old Yorkshire Terriers who would have been adopted before they even made it into the shelters. They are both medical needs fur babies who had grade 4 Medial Luxating Patellas. In other words the inbreeding that occurred to create smaller than normal dogs in the puppy mill to which they were born, led them to have a hereditary birth defect where their tiny little knee caps aren’t in the groove on the front of their tiny knees, but off to the insides of both legs completely leaving bone on bone scraping.

Thanks to The San Diego Humane Society, these two escaped the hell of a total of 170+ Yorkies being hoarded in one house that was obviously breeding and selling to boutique puppy markets. They had been at the shelter since February under contestant medical care for severely infected ears & hernias while they awaited medical fosters. We came along in May and fostered them to adopt, starting with Phoebe and adding Betty 5 days later, and adopt we did. We are blessed with the means and the ability to give them the surgeries they will need to correct their birth defects.

Successful is what their surgeon said when he called me after each one had their first leg operated on. Complicated was a term he described their tiny tiny knee cap surgeries. Betty’s being a bit more involved than Phoebe’s more straightforward anatomy defect. Their surgeries were yesterday. We will not see them for about 10 days. Last night was lonely in my bed without them. The surgeon’s wife is their physical therapist and will keep them to manage their pain and to get them started on the road to recovery. Once they can bear weight on the leg with the cast and can take a step they will get to come home. She will work with us training us to continue their therapy and meeting with us to check progress and add more excercises.

In six weeks they will go for their second surgeries to complete the needed repairs. In about 8 months we will complete their therapy and have two almost normal tiny 3 lb Yorkies who will be able to have long, healthy and hopefully pain free lives.

Is your god dead?

Fearsome Beard …a place for beards to contemplate and to grow their souls.

It’s been a while and it’s due time Fearsome did just that.

Contemplate.

Every human has their own personal right to have, or have not, a relationship with a power, an essence, a universe, an energy or a god of their own choosing. Common human decency, at least my common human decency, allows one to respect all others in their choices surrounding such personal matters.

I call the power of my choosing god. God is a simple word, or acronym if you will, that stands for good orderly direction, or group of drunks, or is simply dog spelled backward.  My god is love. Period. Love. (My dogs are love too, what a coincidence.)

How do I treat my brother? Do I show love? Do I respect? Do I even acknowledge?

Is my god dead?

How about you? Is your god, or something like it, dead?

The New York Times article under the highlighted word “HERE” below is worth the read whether you have, or have not, a source energy outside of yourself. The article is about being human. Being a good human.

Click HERE to go to said article and contemplate on a deeper level.

I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. I can strive to be better. I can strive to remember to love, to remember to respect, to remember to share. I can try, and try to try daily. I can love.

Firsts

🎶 The best part of breakin’ up, is when we’re makin’ up 🎵

It’s funny how music sparks memories. This tune was pulsing the dance floor one night back in 1982 as I was shakin’ my little tushy dancing with my friend Mike.

I hadn’t heard nor thought of it in like ages. A couple a days ago there it was pulsing outta the speakers of my Ford Fusion Energi Titanium as I was a drivin’ along listening to Sirius XM Studio 54.

Rush!

Memories rush. Suddenly Mike was in front of me on that smokey disco dance floor as we pulsed to the beats. Vivid is the memory. Suddenly there was a body behind me pulsing behind me holding me at the waist. I asked Mike who it was and he said he’d never seen the guy. I then asked Mike if he was cute. Mike said “fuck yeah”. I then pushed my tush back into him and turned my head. I got the first glimpse of my first lover.

Wow. What a vivid memory. Our relationship would last for 6 years and has much to do with the man I am today. I was young. So was he. I wondered often. He was patient, loving and forgiving. I’ll never forget him. I’ll always be grateful for his inspiration. He has his life. I have mine. We don’t talk. I hope that I gave him even a 10th of what he gave me.

Funny how this tune became the theme of our years together. I didn’t realize it was so on target of a theme, until I heard it this week. No worries as there is no “makin’ up” a happening. That was a first lover and a first relationship that started the first time I ever heard this song the very first moment we met.

It always happens…

Why it is that every time I have a trip to make I get crazy busy right before it is time to leave?

Is it Murphy’s law?

Since I’m busy getting ready do I attract more busy?

Busy attracts business?

Dont get me wrong, I like busy. Busy brings me income. Busy creates meaning. Busy gives purpose.

I think I’ll decide to sit in my seat 2B to Chicago this morning in gratitude for being busy.

Remembering

We are a nation of many religions, beliefs, atheists & agnostics. Freedom means the freedom to believe in any or no religions. One is free to choose what and if they believe. Our constitution protects these freedoms.

In remembering those who have served and those we have lost we here at Fearsome Beard believe it is important to respect all beliefs and or lack thereof.

Religions, beliefs and lack thereof are a choice we live, enjoy and practice.

There is ultimately a deeper level to what we are to each other. The level of relationship which transcends these belief practices.

Remember with love, respect and compassion.

Happy Memorial Day to all the Yanks out there. May all our dear readers, no matter where they are, remember someone they loved and lost today and feel the gratitude for the gift.

Values

“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones”― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

 

“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

“Good works is giving to the poor and the helpless, but divine works is showing them their worth.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

 

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
― Albert Einstein

 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

 

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

 

“Those who don’t value their words, will never value your wishes.”
― Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

 

-Some Fearsome thoughts-                                                                                                                                  …It is time I again contemplated values. My values, good values, value of others, value of the material and value of the spiritual. Contemplation helps me to re-enforce my core beliefs and personal morals. I post these quotes for inspiration from words that resonate with me.

I’ve found in my life that by living my values, I lead by example. In some way we all lead others and in some way we all follow others. I sincerely hope I follow good ones and that those I lead have found a good leader. Each day I must try to simply do my best. I must strive to do good and share goodness.

We can each make the world a better place. We simply have to start with ourselves and start right where we are.

Why not start right now?

Joe Biden stands with us

If you are so inclined to believe in equality and respect for all, please consider reading Joe Biden’s latest Washington Post Editorial.

Thank you Joe Biden for being a man of reason, integrity and respect. We are grateful that you are a part of our culture and our lives. Keep up the good work leading by example with true American values.

When you find yourself stuck in traffic…

…get out and dance!

It’s no secret that La La Land was our Fearsome pick for best picture of 2017. We’ve written about it HERE and THERE.

To me the opening scene was one of Hollywood histories best ever openings and one of  the best ever musical numbers. Why yes I think it is right there with both Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain and American in Paris Ballet. It is simple, diverse and mesmerizing.

Today I found this:

Turns out it is no accident that I appreciate this scene.

I’ll  start with my childhood dreams…

This is something that I have never shared publicly and actually only to a couple very close friends. I always wanted to be a dancer. Not just any dancer. A chorus line dancer.

As a child I fantasizes about being in the line up, as you will, behind the star. I wanted to be part of a great team of dancers that functioned as a fine tuned, well choreographed group. We would be great and famous the world over as a troupe. I didn’t want to be a lone star out there by myself hogging the spotlight but sharing it with an incredible team.

I can still remember the day when I overheard my parents arguing and my dream was crushed. I had asked my mother for dance lessons. She and dad were having a horrible argument and the part that stands t was my father yelling back at my mother that he wasn’t having it. He wasn’t having it because dance lessons would make his son turn into a goddamned faggot. The words burned into my brain as my dream died. I secretly had news for him, I already was a faggot. I never had a dance lesson.

Life took me elsewhere. Although I never had the dance lessons and my dream of being  in a chorus line never materialized, my life has been and still is absolutely amazing.

To say that I lean toward Pollyanna isn’t an understatement. Don’t mistake me for perfect though, I have my down moments. Wow do I. The key is moving beyond the valleys in life and looking for the joy no matter where one is.  Be thankful, share, love, appreciate, laugh and dance. No …maybe we won’t all get out in the middle of a packed freeway and dance, but we can find a good song and sing it behind the wheel. We can smile at the person in the car beside us. We can let someone in front of us who maybe needs to get to their child’s school as they have a little one waiting.

I still have another 40 and maybe even fifty years ahead of me. I can take a dance lesson. I can encourage a child to follow their dreams. I can donate time or money to help someone realize a dream that would otherwise be lost. I can create beauty and share joy.

There is way to much adventure to be had and beauty in this world that I have yet to experience. Thus when I find myself stuck, be it stuck literally or figuratively, I can get out and dance. Life is just another day of sun!

Now for that complete dance scene one more time…

Tears of joy still flow each and every time I see it.

 

Finding words

Is it that I don’t have anything to say? No I really don’t think it is that.

Is it that I am too rushed and don’t set aside time? Very possibly.

Could it possible be finding the words to express myself? Most likely.

I have a lot to say. By saying it through the written word I go deeper. When writing I learn. Expressing myself through writing helps me explore me.

Why oh why don’t I stop more often and write? Why don’t I discipline myself? Is it possible to make it a habit?

Since starting Fearsome Beard I have learned more about myself as well as grown in ways I never expected, it was all through writing. I had never written before in my life. I have never journaled, kept a diary, written prose nor hardly ever even written a letter. I recorded nothing.

Posting pictures of a beard seems like a daily place holder. I’m not saying that posting those beards isn’t. However I do have to find them and I do usually post one that reflects a thought or mood or at least a fondness I am feeling. I also caption them ever so slightly with a word or two. It’s a good daily habit as it brings me here and it does take effort. Effort no matter how minimal.

Writing takes a bit more effort and often requires a little inspiration. I have found that the more I do it, the easier it is. Finding words is an art that comes easier and easier with practice and habit.

I guess my contemplation on this cool San Diego evening is a thoughtful challenge to myself, to express myself through written word more often. I do not want to get so caught up in the whirlwind of my daily life that I forget me.

I love blogging.