Presidential

LBJ

LBJ led this country through a turbulent time helping us to become a higher, better society. May we find inspiration in those who strive for justice, compassion and equality. May our society again soon recognize the value of true leaders, leaders who challenge us to grow, improve, serve, understand and respect.

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The Iconic Boeing 747

First released in 1968, Boeing’s 747 was, and still is, an engineering marvel.

United is retiring their 747 fleet for more fuel efficient 777 & 787 aircraft and fuel efficiency is a definately valid reason. Other airlines will continue to fly them so the iconic look will still be seen in larger international ports. However their numbers may continue to dwindle as technology changes.

I’ve only flown the 747 six times in all of my travels on these routes:  Miami to Aruba, San Diego to London, Los Angeles to Sydney. Thus far it is my favorite airliner. The adjectives roomy and majestic come to mind. I even know the layout well enough that I have a favorite seat. I’ll miss this mighty bird for she gave me many wonderful memories.

Today’s letter

Fearsome was so upset about yesterday that he asked me to write our senators and our representative today. This is what we came up with:

Dear Senator Harris,
In the words of George Jetson “Jane, stop this crazy thing!”
Our current president’s Attack on all Americans is appalling, as I’m sure you are quite aware. However yesterday’s call to silence the press isn’t just a violation of our first amendment but also a move toward state run news propaganda. So I am asking you to please stay the corse, stand your ground and take every opportunity that you can to “Stop this crazy thing!” which is also known as our current president (purposefully not capitalized).

With urgency and gratitude,

Fearsome

National Coming Out Day October 11, 2017

Today is National Coming Out Day. Given that due to the threats on the first amendment to the US Constitution by a certain current administration I understand and felt the need to post Eminem’s political statement, I must balance him with a proper Dianna Ross classic as well.

Eminem has a sordid history with the gay community of which I belong. His tainted past of somewhat homophobic lyrics has been offensive at times, to say yes very least. I am in no way defending those lyrics. His intensely strong message posted here today defends all of us in our right to free speech. Without Amendment 1, National Coming Out Day might very well be silenced.

What am I saying?

I am saying at times we must stand with those whom we have had differences and focus on our commonalities to strive towards a greater good. In the process we may also change minds, create better understanding and grow stronger bonds.

Happy Coming Out Day! Let us celebrate our individuality while finding our similarities and standing together for our common good.

In a 1968 Black Chevy Pickup

Always in a rush to get out the door, I would run up the stairs from my  basement bedroom to quickly sit at the corner kitchen table and wolf down the two eggs with bacon and toast Mom had just cooked to order. Then I’d quickly grab a shower, spike the blonde hair, get dressed, grab my homework, finished or not, and run out to my pickup. I had to be on time as I usually had several friends to pick up on the way to school.

1968 Chevy Pickup Truck (mine was a long bed with a white camper shell)

Upon turning the ignition, the under the dash slide in cassette player would start and the beats would pulse out the windows as I bolted out of the driveway. Cathy was almost always the first stop. I’d park on the gravel pull off beside her house and honk the horn like any self respecting rude to the neighbors teenager would at 7 am. If I was on top of my game her favorite morning tune would start playing as she crossed the threshold screaming back at her nagging mother on her way out to her daily ride.

From there it was usually off to grab Debbie, Adam, Eric and sometimes a couple others. There was laughter, singing, bitching, gossip and cigarettes. All of us smoked and we had to get those smokes in on the way. Thank god the back had a camper shell and padded shag carpet so there was pleanty of room.

Speeding into the parking lot we would come to a halt just out past the gym near the practice field. Brian would usually be right behind us in his 1972 Yellow Mach 1. Nearby the stoners would be getting their last toke in for the first period buzz. Debbie would grab one more cigarette. I’d lock up the truck and head over to the yearbook staff room to see what was up before first period geometry.

Today it all seems so simple. Then it seemed so big. I think of it and smile. I fill with gratitude.

Saturday reflection

Emotions, feelings, anger, dismay and confusion swirl. What a week.

Monday morning. Dammit, not again.

Tuesday. What the fuck?

Wednesday. Talk about it now. Not later, now.

Thursday. Fatigue sets in.

Friday afternoon. Fuck you. No, seriously Fuck You!

You see in light of all the serious matters needing the attention of our government this week, the  elf in charge of the department of justice issued a sweeping federal directive stating that it is perfectly ok for anyone to discriminate against me if they claim a deeply held religious belief. Oh, and let us not miss that fact that Thursday availability of contraception took a hit. A big hit.

The women and the fags both got hit in wake of Puerto Rico and Las Vegas.

Ok, it’s true that most of my life I’ve already been subject to discrimination. I’m kind of used to it. I’m a fag and have been for more than 50 years. I’ve been taunted, teased, bullied and beaten as long as I can remember for being different. A sissy, fag, queer, gay, unfit, pervert, girly boy, dirty, disgusting, nellie, queen, cock sucker, fairy, fruit, pansy, faggot, homosexual, sodomite, poofter, light in the loafers, homo. A real non-entity. Hell I’m even a loud proud real non-entity.

So a directive, directed square at me. I’m not surprised. Weasels (read cowards) always wait until everyone is distracted to do their dirty work.

Women need access to contraception. Faggots deserve equality. Seems as if neither of us have either. Women are as equal to white straight men as us queers are, and that means they ain’t.

This queen stands with Latinos, emigrants, blacks, Jews, women, Muslims, queers, disabled, transsexuals, Asians, Africans, native Americans, middle eastern, atheist, pastafarians, documented, un-documented, dreamers, poor, forgotten, addicted, needy, sick, unemployed. I stand with our planet, our environment.

The question is do all y’all stand with me?

Directives that discriminate against me? Seen them, lived them and will stand up to and against them. I’ve already been around this block numerous times.

Discrimination in the name of a religion destroys a society. We had made good progress. We can make more. Don’t become complacent nor complicit. Say something. Stand for your morals and your ethics. Stand for your truth.

The Stonewall Inn circa 1969, the calm before the storm.

The time to talk about gun control is now. Period.

It’s time. Whether you are for it or against it. It’s time to fucking talk. To stay silent only let’s all those just injured, to have been injured in vain. To stay silent only lets all those murdered to die in vain. Meaningless, yes their injury and their death will be meaningless.

Do I believe that all guns should be illegal? No I don’t.

Do I believe all guns should be taken away? No I don’t.

Do I own a gun? No I don’t.

Do I know how to shoot a gun? Yes I do.

Have I ever been a member of the NRA? Yes I have.

Am I a member of the NRA now? No I am not.

Do I believe in gun control? Yes I do.

Do I believe that people have a right to own guns? Yes I do.

Do I believe that people have a right to own automatic weapons or assault rifles or machine guns or silencers? No, I do not.

Do I believe in background checks? Yes I do.

Do I believe that some people should be prevented from owning guns? Yes I do.

Do I believe in limits on the number of guns one can own? Yes I do.

Do I believe that people should be able to stockpile unlimited amounts of ammo? No I don’t.

Do I believe that limiting guns through sensible controls will stop all crime? No I don’t.

Do I believe that limiting guns through sensible gun controls will reduce violence, crime and mass shootings? Yes I do.

Do I believe gun control will lead to a safer society? Yes I do.

Will I let all those innocent mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends, and lovers die in vain without speaking my truth? No I will not.

Am I going to write my Senator, Congressperson, Governor and state legislator about initiating gun control bills and passing responsible gun control legislation? Yes I am.

As Fearsome Beard has done in the past, I will post links below for your convenience to look up and contact your representatives so that you may voice your opinions as well.

If our leaders will not talk about gun control when it really matters I feel we should hold all of their feet to the fire. I believe we should let them know that now is the time to talk. Now is the time to discuss and work towards a safer place that we all may live in without the fear.

Courage and strength is saying something when you see something.

Silence is just fucking complicit.

Why sit there stunned, mourning, angry, hurt, fearful and silent? Do something.

Contact your Senator.

Contact your Representative.

Contact your Governor.

Contact the White House.

Contact your state legislators.

Thank you in advance for your courage. Thank you in advance for standing up. Thank you in advance for making yourself heard. It all starts with each of us standing up and speaking our truth.

Living

However blissful the daydream we entertain, we must wake from it sometimes and struggle with the hard conditions of real living.”  …Dorothea Brande

Dreaming is good and daydreaming an escape. However reality is, that life is real. I need the dream to help me see outside of my reality. My dreams help me set goals. I can’t live nor make a life by sitting in a dreamland state. I must work, experience, grow, strive, move, produce, contact, connect, learn and if I fall I must get back up.

No one can live for me. I can only live my life.

Life is fun, but life is work.

Today I contemplate the joy of life that is known as work, struggle, reality and accomplishment.

Dark Tunnels

It happens.

The tunnel, it surrounds.

Many years ago it was overwhelming and I couldn’t deal with it. The tunnel would encompass my being, my consciousness and shut my life down.

These days it’s passing, fleeting. I feel it. It’s like pressure surrounding my head. Vision impairs and I can’t hold my head up. Then it passes as quickly as it came over me.

I don’t know exactly how I switched it a number of years ago. I do remember the year, 2006. I woke up and realized that it had been gone for awhile and without my anti-depressants as I had forgetten to take them. It just wasn’t there. I was ok and I was of meds. I somehow had switched.

Since the the darkness of the tunnel has re-appeared, as it has today, but fleetingly. I’m glad it’s no longer paralyzing.

I know that in 2006 I decided to live for the future and not wallow in the past. I believe that’s what helped facilitate my change.

Today I hold my head up.

Argent – Hold Your Head Up – The Midnight Special 1973

Best Poop Ever

Hemorrhoids, I’ve struggled with them all of my life. Yes even as a child I frequently experienced hemorrhoid swelling, pain and bleeding.

As an adult I have seen doctors, used creames and suppositories, consulted surgeons, soaked in epson salt baths, had them removed, had new ones develop and learned new bowel movement habits. I’ve seen improvement. I’ve experienced exacerbation. I’ve lived with hemorrhoids as just being part of life.

After hearing about this Squatty Potty thingy I thought it a useless joke. I didn’t take it seriously but I kept noticing it whenever it showed up in commercials and such. None of my doctors ever suggested it, not even three different surgeons I’ve consulted with. I recently decided that I might pick one up to try.

Then last week Costco put them on sale. In the cart it went as we had our Costco Saturday morning weekly shopping excursion.

Best poop ever. Easiest Poop ever. Fastest Poop ever.

After one week of use I am happy to report I have no pain and no swelling. I am on the pot an off of it faster than I can pee. I sit, pull the Squatty Potty out from its storage place right under edge of toilet, place my feet on it and plop all done.

We highly reccomend the Squatty Potty. It gets Fearsome’s seal of approval.

A Little Hurricane Music

🎵They got hurricane parties every time it blows🎶

One of Fearsome’s favorite tunes.

We, The Better Half & I, own three investment properties down in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. ‘Tis why I make Fearsome go down there so much. All three are coastal and are now in the “Evacuation” zone.

Needless to say several hours have been spent the past couple days communicating and preparing. All properties are tenant occupied full time. As it turns it almost all of the tenants are actually evacuating. Thus this morning I have spent another four hours, all morning communicating, arranging and securing things from long distance.

The shutters are up. Arrangements have been made. Preparations done. Neighbors contacted. Emergency numbers exchanged. Back up plans made.

It’s crazy and we are in California. I couldn’t imagine being in the middle of it out there right now.

Now that I’ve done what I can to secure the buildings and help the tenants I’m going to sit back and tap my toes to our favorite Cajun beat. Hell I might even have a hurricane glass full of my favorite juice!

…oh …and we will be saying a little prayer as well.

Home

A young single parent trapped with no money and no job grabs their child and leaves their home for another place. A place where they know no one. A place where they don’t know the language, culture or customs. However it’s a place with hope. Hope that they may work and raise their child with a brighter future.

That child is raised lovingly with a parent who struggles and works hard contributing in this foreign land. This foreign land is only foreign to their parent for this land is all the child knows. For the child this land is home.

A home where the child knows the language, customs and culture. A home where this child has been educated, played sports, made friends and is part of the community fabric. Both the parent and the child have shared, worked and contributed toward betterment in the community in which they landed. The child knows nothing else.

Today that child is a college educated responsible young adult. They not only hold a good job with a bright future, they create other jobs through their contributions to the community which is their home. Today this child is often called a Dreamer.

Until yesterday their future was bright, secure and full of possibilities just as their parent had dreamed. Unfortunately today there is a cloud hanging over those who stepped forward, were honest and were within the law.

What can I do to help lift that cloud and bring the light of hope back to those who know  this as their only home?

I can speak up.

I can contact my SENATOR.

I can contact my CONGRESSPERSON.

I can contact The White HOUSE.

I can contact my GOVERNOR.

I can speak out, be visible, attend protests and support Candidates who represent good solid true American values of progress and equality.

I can donate to organizations that will stand up and legally challenge those politicians with tiny closed minds who represent greed and hate. Organizations like ACLU, SPLC and Lambda Legal.

I can support and subscribe to news organizations that have real reporters investigating and calling out not only unethical behaviors but possible criminal activity thus reporting real news. News organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. 

Please feel free to use these short cuts as all of the highlighted words are links to the very webpages they state…or find your own. Please join Fearsome and I in standing up for righteousness, justice, equality, respect, hope, love and the American dream.

Love. Please don’t let love die.

On Death, Dying and Responsibility

I will die. Fearsome will die with me.

We do not know when but we will. It’s the cycle of life.

You know what? You will die too.

Morbid? No, not actually. Death is part of our life. Yes it’s as much part of yours as it is mine.

We cannot plan when we die or how we die. However we can plan for death.

We, the Better Half and I, wrote our original trust back in 2004. In 2004 gay men couldn’t get married in California, nor did the federal government recognize our relationship. We had an attorney draw up a trust mainly to protect us should one of us die. As it turns out a trust goes far beyond protecting two unmarried individuals that have built a life and many assets together.

We are way past due to update our trust and are in the middle of that update this week. Wow, have things changed in the past 13 years. Not only are we married in California but our marriage is recognized federally. In review it turns out our assets have more than doubled since creating the original trust. Not only has its value changed but our values and priorities have changed.

A trust gives direction to our survivors, maintains our assets, minimizes taxes, protects our pets, covers healthcare concerns, includes our charities, prevents post death disputes, contains our will and plans our funeral. Our trust will provide not only security but peace of mind.

With the updating of the trust comes contemplation of death. Contemplating death is movement toward acceptance. Planning for death helps bring peace of mind. Death is not something to fear, but something to embrace as part of life.

I am grateful for having the life I have. I choose to respect my life by planning for death.

Have you planned for yours?

“Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination.” … BJ Miller

And what of my identity?

Am I fully who I am?

Or am I still hiding part of me?

As a gay man born of the 1960s, reaching puberty in the 1970s and coming out in the 1980s I faced my share of mis-understanding, repression and discrimination. Have I fully stepped out of that self preserving shadow? Could I be more? Am I gay enough?

Something to contemplate in this age of assimilation. This video has stirred me to take a deeper look.

Mindset

Mindset is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone. Mindset can also be defined as an attitude, disposition, mood, intention or inclination.

Mindset is a choice. I choose to choose a good one. It often takes work to not only make that good choice, but to stick to it. Often the choice of a better mindset runs counter to our culture thus the challenge. However the challenge of a good mindset is worth the effort and I believe with practice gets easier.

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.