Friday, June 24, 2011

June Brides

Ah June...when summer gets fully underway and we're subjected to the traditional month for marriages.  What is it with people who want to get married in high summer?  Especially when they know the weather will be hot, humid, the various venues will be charging even more outrageous fees for chicken-a-la-king with a fancier name.  Be bold people!  Choose some other month (you have 11) and be a trailblazer!

I can't tell you how many times I've had to stand in a church with little or no air conditioning surrounded by overdressed people whose myriad of perfumes were competing with flowers, incense, etc. going "...I swear, if this goes on for more than 5 more minutes, I'm going to throw up"  Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled for the people who have decided to publicly affirm their commitment to one another - always more interesting if they've been together for a while and their children are included in the ceremony - but jeez, don't go following the herds and HAVE to get married in June.  For the record, don't do it in either July or August either as they're worse.

I've seen and have been part of some lovely weddings that broke with tradition and went for something fun and unique.  There was the legendary surprise wedding in the middle of his Lordship and Miss Sharon (a very early entry on this blog) annual holiday debauch.  There was a very sweet wedding in the woods where everyone hiked a few miles - led by the grooms Grandma who could probably have hiked up Mt. Everest without breaking a sweat - to this glen where the happy couple got married in a sunfilled glen and all of the guests carried in the reception supplies - yeah, lots of granola - with them in backpacks that were handed out for the occaision.  I've also been to beach weddings, nuptials at the top of a ski slope - the logistics of getting everyone up there and keeping them from taking a quick run were a challenge and an interesting nudist wedding that I'll leave to your imaginations you perverts.

Another thing that always astounds me is the effort and cost that goes into wedding dresses.  I remember when the Fabulous Francine was going to jump the broom with her beloved and I swear she tried on like 200 dresses before she finally listened to the wise advice of her soon to be Mother-In-Law and kept it simple which resulted in a knockout gown.  Then, there was the infamous Schneiderman wedding when the bride came down the aisle in a baby doll dress, being escorted by her Dad and her Mom's current boyfriend du moment and it became obvious why the wedding was rushed.  Trust me, the snickering was quite audible during the entrance.  Then, there's this dress...

wonder if it's something that get's flashed now and then to let the groom know what's under there?

The all time "WTF" moment in weddings was the recent one of a 31 year old Republican tool who's the grandson of Richard Nixon to an 18 year old very wealthy Greek-American princess who looks like a bimbo which was just pilloried in the press.  Here's a link to the write up in the New York Times where the writer was trying to be nice but you could tell there'd been a lot of editing...

Oh well, June's just about over and I've managed to escape this year so far unscathed with invites so my advice to the recently engaged is be different, keep it simple and for God's sake don't let a gynecologist design your dress..

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Divine Screwups...

In honor of Gay Pride month, I'll recount a conversation with my late father:
  • I have some news for you....about me...
  • (a huge smile breaks across his face) you got a girl pregnant!  Wonderfull!
  • Um...not quite
  • You're thinking of getting a girl pregnant? (asked hopefully)
  • You're thinking about girls?
  • Well, no....I'm gay
  • Oh...hmmm...I don't know what to say (you could see the disappointment in his eyes that he was doing everything possible to hide)
  • You don't have to say anything but I wanted to let you know...
  • Have you told anyone?
  • Grandma
  • What did she say?
  • "..honey, you're not the first and you're certainly not going to be the last so let's go shopping!"
  • (deep sigh) I'd expected that from her
  • She wants me to go see "The Women" with her, she says I'll learn important things for the future
  • Not with a film with that title
  • So, I know I let you down
  • Well, yes I'm disappointed but I'm also very proud that you told me without my finding this out in some embarassing way like what happened with that boy a few months ago (arrested in a mens room doing dirty things, it was all over the news and the parents kicked him out of the house)
  • You're kidding me!
  • No, I'm not kidding you!  Allah made you and Allah doesn't make mistakes!  Well, except for disco which is the work of the Devil!
  • I thought you liked disco?  You're always singing the Disco Duck and doing that stupid dance that makes everyone think you're insane
  • I do that to piss you all off and it works
  • What about Cousin Ahmad?  (Note to my gentle readers, Cousin Ahmad was, on a good day, described as the Devil Incarnate having a bad day)
  • OK, so Allah has made a few errors in judgement along the way
  • A few?
  • Don't push your luck, I'm trying hard not to cry in disappointment right now
  • Thank you for not screaming hysterically at me like I thought you would...
  • And what would it do other than make me feel better for a few minutes
  • How about going to play some tennis?
  • Allah hu Akbar!  You're still interested in manly things!
  • Not all homosexuals are effeminate...
  • There is a God...with a strange sense of humor...which explains your Cousin Ahmad...and your Grandmother
For all of the parents out there who are destined to get this news just remember it's as painful, heartbreaking and terrifying to deliver it as it is to hear it.  Your child is still your child after that moment and we are what we are and all we ask is for your continued love.

Thanks Dad!  For this and many, MANY things....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mille Grazie

21 years ago today, I met my soulmate/lover/life partner/best friend in Boston, MA.  We were both a bit worse for wear from our recent past but once I saw that amazing smile on your face that would light up the heavens like the Fourth of July, I knew I'd found that safe harbor to set my anchor.

I just wanted to say a thousand thanks from the bottom of my heart for making these the best 21 years of my life.

We've had many ups, thankfully very few downs, laugther, love, loss, travel, adventure and I've enjoyed every moment that we've been together going down this interesting path that the fates have conspired for us.  Who knows what's in store for us but as long as you're next to me, I'm looking forward to what's waiting around the corner...

I almost lost you once and thanks to a miracle, you came back, have thrived and are sitting reading in the next room unaware that I'm typing this up.

I've heard many times that we don't get to choose our families but you are the family that I have gladly chosen.

I wish you many continued years of health, joy and also that I'll be there to enjoy them with you.

All my love...


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saints for Sale...

you've heard of dick in a box, meet Vitalis....
I was reading recently about some guy in LA spending 3,500 Euros for the above item which is the head of St. Vitalis of Assisi (yeah, I thought the same thing, isn't Vitalis an awful hair product from the 70's?) which was of dubious provenance and the auction house wouldn't guarantee its accuracy - dead give away to run like hell.  But hey, if you were looking for some morbido object d'art to have sitting around your home to inspire some interesting conversation - especially after a few cocktails - you can't do better than this.  And now, this odd thing is on its way to the capital of weirdness where I'm sure it's being appropriately displayed in a house that's probably full of odd shit like this...

One of the things that's always fascinated me - especially coming from Lebanon where we have LOTS of Saints, including a couple in my family (yeah, I know, I more than balance out that equation) - is how this whole process of the Saint business gets going.  First off, the majority of the early Saints were martyrs who were quickly declared to get some examples for the faithful - and generate much needed cash - and were often enough Virgins who wouldn't give it up.  There are probably hundreds of forgotten Saints in both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches that litter the liturgical calendar as obscure footnotes "..and today, is the feast day of Saint Melvunis of Calpurnia who was martyred while walking to church by a runaway chariot bearing a bunch of drunken Romans" so the business of Holy Relics was and it still appears to be quite brisk.

A number of years ago, a bunch of us took a road trip from Paris out to Normandy which included a stop in Orleans where Joan of Arc was turned into a pile of Ashes.  A friend of mine back in San Francisco loves Joan and asked me to get her something from there and, of course, I said yes.  So, we get to Orleans and it's ALL about St. Joan and there are trinkets GALORE which were being snapped up like there was no tomorrow.  We're walking about the town square, saw the simple placard that said "LE BUCHER" (translated "this be the place, who wants some roasted marshmallows?") that indicated "the spot" and lo and behold, in some small, tacky souvenir stand, I spotted what would surely make Arianne's heart just go pitty-pat, pitty-pat!  It was a cheap little plastic snowglobe with a poorly made statue of Saint Joan and if you shook it, it there was a small pile of grimmy grey bits that looked like burnt pieces of plastic that briefly floated around.  We get back to SF, and I present it to Arianne and told her that I spent an extra 5 Francs (this was before the hated Euro of course) to have some bits of Joan thrown in there for her...  She wasn't amused but I did get a discount at her restaurant for breakfast that morning...

Another fond memory of Saint pieces was during one of the many infamous trips to Italy with the Great White Shopper, the Snake of the Nile and the Long Suffering Companion.  We were in Fiorenze and were in the Duomo and had patiently waited to get into the reliquary room where we saw an impressive collection of pieces of Saints we'd never heard of "...oh lovely, Saint Dympna, patron saint of the mentally deranged...wonder if we can get a piece of her to go to give to you know who?" and I looked down and saw this lovely crystal container full of mousy grey bits of stuff that said "Santi Misti" (mixed Saints) and just busted up laughing.  I got an evil look from the Shopper who came over, looked down to where I was pointing while I was losing it, also burst into laughter and we were quickly asked to get the hell outta there.  We went out for a Insalata Misti and resumed laughing when the waiter crushed some pepper on our salads which vaguely looked like Santi Misti - it was definitely a fun afternoon.

I'm not making this shit up...

So, would I have spent 3,500 Euros on St. Vitalis?  Hell no!  I'd have asked my cousin who has a pile of remnants of my distant ancestor St. Elias of Damascus (I've never heard of him either other than in family discussions) or maybe that other Saint in the family I keep hearing about Abdullah of Homs that no one know that much about for a small piece to frame in some appropriately bizarre Byzantine frame and see what subjects would come up after that third round of Margaritas...

Friday, May 13, 2011

You knew this was coming....

Is he going to resist temptation you may have asked yourself?  Is he going to ignore the in-ignorable (or whatever) she had hoped.  Is he going to let us down and not take a whack at this one?  Of course not!  It just took me a few weeks to regain my composure from the "...what the fuck is that?!?!" that I'm sure billions of people from the UK to the outer reaches of Inner Outer Mongolia (in as many languages) shrieked when they saw this apparition taste that completely stole the show from an otherwise ho-hum royal wedding.

First off, cardinal rule #1 is never, EVER upstage the bride. I don't care if you're a Princess of dubious extraction like this idiot or some vague friend of a friend who tagged along to the wedding and didn't RSVP so they had enough chicken a la king for you...let alone a place to park your keister.

Sure there were (rightfully) rapturous reviews of Princess William of Cambridge (her actual title which no one will use) but now, weeks later, that ridiculous hat, among others (though, we just ADORED the one Posh had on and we also SO ADORED Becks - period) is still clogging up the blogs.

Let's do some deconstruction of this massive attention getting faux pas shall we?

Let's just dive into the most obvious and inescapable fact about Princess Beatrice..she's ugly...even by British Royal Family standards which are nothing to email home about. I looked at her and immediately thought, who invited Miss Jane Hathaway to the wedding and I thought she was dead! She totally takes after he father who, sadly, is actually the handsomest of the Queens children. Thank God she comes with a title and money is all I can say.

Her makeup, which has been endlessly reviewed was awful! It looked like it had been piled on with a trowel and her eyes made her look like raccoon. And, if I recall correctly as everything else about her was a blur, the dress matched the hat which matched the makeup which meant she was a walking stick of beige...dull, boring beige...

And now, the hat or more properly a spectator...what can I say that could possibly top the description of " looked like a cross between a beige octopus and a cheap toilet seat". Sometimes, you've just got to know when to fold 'em and let someone else do the talking... The only good thing about this insane chapeau is that Bea is going to auction it off and donate the proceeds to 2 worthy charities for children. The interesting thing is that she's known for bizarre and unusual hats but then, no one in America gives a shit about them except for Black Church Women so this whole sartorial subculture has flown under the radar for years until now.

One last note, going back to the comment about outshining the bride (Pippa, or more properly Philippa now that's the Middletons have gotten impeccable connections, excepted as it was part of the package deal) just remember Bea, you're getting married shortly (wonder who the lucky horse faced fellow is?) and pay back's a bitch...especially when you're a Princess...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Geography...Texas Style!

North, South, East and West have been defined for the millenia and are easily understandable concepts that should be applied universaly however, in Texas, they have their own interesting take on them...particularly in North and West Texas.

First off a map of Texas to make sure we're all on the same page before we get this gay geographic romp started.

Yes, the shape of the state sort of resembles a star (OK, maybe after a few shots of tequila that leave you sitting a bit lopsided) but it's the second largest state in the increasingly fractured Union that's had a very colourful history including an ill fated 10 years as an independent nation that required the US stepping in to rescue it from anarchy and being re-absorbed into Mexico.

What's more interesting are the definitions of what's North and West Texas which I became aware of when I moved here and required some re-adjustment of my thinking after some rather vehement corrections by the natives.

First off, the panhandle area that sticks up (Northward I may add) and more or less separates Oklahoma and New Mexico is, believe it or not, considered to be West Texas. I know, my logical mind had a problem with this too but I was firmly corrected that this part of the state which is quite further north than North Texas (which lies below the Red River which is the border with Oklahoma) is indeed West. So, University of North Texas which is in Dallas is south of West Texas State which is to its northwest...or something to that effect..

Hmmm...that doesn't make any sense but, there are similar oddball geographic occurences (which mostly seem to occur in the South) such as the town of Apex, NC which is nowhere near the apex of the triangle created by drawing lines between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. I was informed by a local that this was due to its being the highest point in the area so therefore it's the apex of the landscape. It didn't work for me either folks but, whatever...

Little quirks like this make things interesting and sometimes even amusing, especially at cocktail parties when you're in other cities and you're looking for a bon mot to share with a crowd with an eye out for the ridiculous...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Road Diary...

Over the weekend, I drove out to Santa Fe, NM to spend some time with family - no one died which is a good thing as I SO don't look good in an orange jumpsuit - and drove from Austin to NM and back. I know the old quote about life being a journey and not the destination (yeah, I really want to reach death as quickly as possible) and I kept my eyes open for things of interest along the way...

First off, there are some really lovely areas of Texas and New Mexico...notice I said some not all as there was a lot of ugliness along the way as well. There are long stretches of desolation punctuated by even more desolate little towns or remnants of them dotted along the Route 84 corridor that pretty much took up most of my trip. Along the way, there were several locales that had been scorched by the wildfires that have wiped out large portions of both states due to they endless dry weather. A couple of areas that I passed while headed west had been burned when I returned a few days later and you could still smell the smoke.

Of course, there were all sorts of oddly named towns along the way with Texas having the lions share. They include: Bangs, Ovalo, Bovina (sounds like a great name for a hefty drag queen) and Lawn. What to say about's a ramshackle and mostly abandoned spot in the road with about 300 people who have no way to get out... There was also the delightfully named Zephyr (which wasn't) and then Shallowater "Where Pride Runs Deep" along with Sudan "Where We're Educating the Future!" and Muleshoe which was nothing more than a collection of dusty building along with a large number of grain elevators. You wonder how some of these towns are managing to hang on given the dearth of industries and the near dust bowl conditions but to quote a line from "This Old Town" "..this old town was built by hand, from the dust bowl of the motherland. There must be rock beneath the sand, I'll be damned, this town still stands"

Near the town of Sweetwater, there was a "Stink Creek Road" (Hmmm...) and "Noodle Dome Road" (OK, the brain sort of does look like a plate of spaghetti but I don't think this is what they were refering to) along with numerous roads that were nothing but a collection of letters and numbers.

New Mexico gave me Zuzax (yes, really) and St. Vrain (there actually is one) which appeared to be nothing more than an abandoned post office that had seen it's better days back in the 50's and a ruin of a house in a field. All along the way in both states, there were large empty tracts of what had been farmland that was dotted with abandoned and rusting farm equipment. There was also lots of tumbleweed and on the rusting barbed wire, sheets of plastic that were being ripped to shreds in the incessant wind that resembled flailing ghosts trying to escape.

Hands down, the ugliest town on the trip was Clovis, NM which is doomed to die if the Air Force ever closes down Cannon AFB. One stellar example was a dusty shell of a building called "Cheapo Depot" which appears to have been abandoned years ago. Note to the government of NM, if you want to attract people, have attractive towns on the border and if they can't be attractive, route people around them...simple solution...yes, the town will probably wither away but at least you won't have people going "Oh.Mi.Gawd! This state is UGLY!"

Driving in NM is totally different from Texas where there are nearly constant turns whereas NM is practically ruler straight lines that stretch on under the wide blue NM skies that were dotted with clouds - it was almost like driving into a surreal painting. I had to fight to keep from going into a zen like state as the road went on and on...

At one point, I was passing through Ft. Sumner, NM which is where Billy the Kid's wild ride ended and was treated to dueling museums and monuments to him each insisting they were where his real grave was. Guess there wasn't much to do in Ft. Sumner...

One of the coolest parts of the trip was driving back and keeping up with a long, long freight train. We went along, sort of racing each other before he took a right turn near Clovis and I headed on to the Southeast. It was interesting to look over occasionally to see what boxcar I was passing and wondering what was in it.

Would I do this trip again? Probably as long as I wasn't driving the whole thing by myself as it was a VERY long drive. Was it a life changing experience? Hmmm..not sure but I certainly did enjoy seeing parts of 2 states that I've never travelled through and getting a good laugh now and then with insane town names. There were also those somewhat tragic moments where you saw these small towns trying against all odds to hang in there and maintain a positive attitude though you knew the dust was going to win. There were also those massive burned out spaces that in some cases just barely missed taking out someones home and that one image of a nearly starving horse trying to forage something on a dried up ranch that was nothing but burned out wood and brush. There were also a number of cemeteries (Texas is really good about labeling them) that were in the middle of nowhere probably where abandoned towns used to be that you know no one will ever visit.

I realize now how lucky many of us are who aren't stuck in situations like that where there really is no escape unless you just abandon everything like a number of beaten up old cars full of garbage bags full of stuff and crammed with sullen people who were just staring out into space as the landscape rolled past them that I whizzed by in my expensive SUV but, at least they were making the attempt to move on...

As I was unpacking, I found a scrap of tumbleweed that had managed to lodge into some crevice of the car so, like those folks in the cars, it too made an attempt to move on....