Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Weird Attraction



"What is he talking about?" you ask.  Dr. Frankentstein and The Monster.  Oh, by the way, The Monster didn't have a name.  His name wasn't "Frankenstein", that was the name of the doctor that created him.  A little tidbit to add to the Useless Trivia section of your brain.

The first time I saw the movie "Frankenstein" was in 1951 at the Roosevelt Theater in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  I paid 20 cents to see this movie, that literally left me so traumatized with fear that I was afraid to leave the movie theater after the movie was over.  I was petrified.  I couldn't move from my seat.  


Roosevelt Movie Theater - Downingtown, Pennsylvania

The lights may have went on in the movie theater but it was dark outside and I had a long walk home . . . . in the dark.  I was paralyzed with fear, afraid that The Monster would be hiding behind a building and grab me when I walked home.


Interior - Roosevelt movie theater - "Negroes" sat in the balcony - I always wanted to sit in the balcony but wasn't allowed because I was white - this was the Fifties

For many years thereafter, I was always afraid to walk dark and lonely roads at night.  For a couple of years I worked at the Farmers' Market in Downingtown, getting off at 11 PM on a Friday and Saturday night and I had a several mile walk home, through the countryside.  I was sure Frankenstein's monster was lurking somewhere in the darks shadows of the cornfields, just waiting to pounce on me and tear me to pieces.  To tell you the truth, I still have a little bit of that fear.


"Grrrwl! I'm waiting for you Ron!"


But I also experienced something else for the first time watching that first Frankenstein movie.  I was sort of attracted to Dr. Frankenstein, the actor Colin Clive.  "Sort of?" Oh okay, I was majorly attracted to him.  



There was just "something" about him.  Of course his physical appearance, small of frame. I've always been attracted to slightly built guys - 145 lbs, 5'9" range.  Smaller guys? Not so much and definitely not big guys.  And of course his physical features, masculine yet vulnerable.  


Then I experienced another new emotion at violent, climatic end of the movie,where Dr. Frankenstein confronts the Monster that he was created in the old windmill.  Is there a person on this planet who hasn't seen that scene?  What a perfect metaphor for us, we who have created a monster and now that monster turns on us.  Not only was I scared to death by that scene of confrontation but I notice a new and strange and "interesting" feeling when the Monster got hold of Dr. Frankenstein and flung him off the windmill, only to have Dr. Frankenstein's body momentarily caught on the windmill before falling to the ground below.  

Yes folks, I wanted to rescue Dr. Frankenstein and comfort him and explore this strange new feeling I was experiencing for the first time. It wasn't until many years later that I recognized this feeling.  Not for me the blonde surfer boys or the macho action stars of the movies.  


Troy Donahue - may be good-looking but does absolutely nothing for me - sorry blondie

Admit it, we all have our weird and offbeat fantasies.  This was/is mine.  As for The Monster, has there ever been a better makeup job to scare the bejesus out of you? To this day folks, I remember the first time I saw the undead look in The Monster's face.  This definitely DOES NOT turn me on. But I do know what turns me on and that autumn day sixty-three years ago was the first time I had THAT feeling.  And folks, it's been good ever since.  And oh yes, The Monster still scares the bejesus out of me.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Visit to a Friend in the Hospital



My tropical shirt which elicited the question "Did you just return from West Africa?" at the hospital today

On this beautiful fall day I finally got up enough courage to visit my friend "The Cajun" in the hospital. No pictures (at his request).

I'm only a short distance away from Beebe Hospital.  I know it well having spent a few days there myself about this time last year (kidney stones).

A ten minute drive down New Road and in the back way to the hospital's always packed parking lot.  

Made my way to the entrance and the Visitor's Desk.  I saw a sign warning me to inform them if I was recently in West Africa (Ebola).  The lady at the front desk ASKED me if I had recently just returned from west Africa. Um . . . NO.  I asked her why she asked me and she said "You're wearing a very tropical shirt."  Uh . . . okay.

I asked what room the Cajun was in and she told me.  Again, I know my way around the maze of corridors that is Beebe hospital so I made my way up to the 3rd floor.  


Beebe Hospital corridor to the elevators


I got to his room.  The door was closed and all kinds of signs on it warning me about infection. I wasn't sure if I could go in.  I knocked and said his name.  No answer.  I went to the nurse's station and asked.  She said "Knock and go in."  I went back and knocked and opened the door just a wee bit.  There he was, in all his glory, ensconced in a private "penthouse" room in which he is most anxious to get out of, having been there almost three weeks already.  There is a search going on for a ground floor apartment for him (he has a second floor apartment now).

I reached out to shake his hand and took a seat.  I brought a trashy, gossipy Hollywood autobiography by Scotty Bowers with me.



I asked him if he would like to read trashy books.  He said "I don't read trashy books" but he took it all the same (it's a GOOD book, full of juicy tidbits about the sexual picadillos of some of the most famous Hollywood stars).  What self respecting gay man wouldn't want to read such trash?

I seated myself and we had catch up talk on friends and happenings, including our mutual friend's memorial service this past Saturday.I was being very careful not to fall into any verbal faux pas.  A bit later his doctor came in with a mask.  He asked "How are you doing?" and I said "I'm fine!"  The Cajun said "He was talking to me."  Whoops! I was on Automatic Response.  Leave it up to me to put my foot in my mouth.  It's all about me isn't it?  Hard to get out of that habit.




He was expecting his friend Linda to come in with some Chinese food for lunch.  He said he just about had his fill of hospital food.  I told him I would leave as soon as she came in.  I could smell the Chinese food (General Tso's Chicken) even before she came in the door.  I said "Hi!" to her and left through the aromatic vapors of that spicy hot Chinese chicken dish.


General Tso's Chicken - HOT!


I'm glad I went.  I know how it is to languish in a hospital.  Visitors are always welcome but it was hard to determine the best time to visit him because he occasionally runs a fever and is not up to entertaining visitors.  Today was a good day because he wasn't running a fever and felt relatively well.  I even evoked a couple of laughs out of him.  Just like old times.  


"AARGH ME MATES!" (on the Kalmar Nyckel last year


Another Microsoft Frustration Monday




Well, I just spent the first 2 1/2 hours this morning straightening out Bill's HP laptop. He couldn't get on. Why? Microsoft now has an annual program that you have to setup up everything all over again. Bill was on his computer for a two full hours trying to re setup that hybrid Windows tile and classic desktop. He got stuck on his password.



Bill get's up at 4 AM.  I don't get up until 7 AM or 8 AM.  This morning I got up at 8 AM.  By the time I hit the bathroom and went into the kitchen for my breakfast Bill was in a high dungeon.  He blames me for everything  (of course).  I had just poured the almond milk on my bran flakes and he said "Can't you help me with this damn computer?!"  I said "Can it wait five minutes? I'll just finish my cereal."  He storms out.  Then I had an urgent call to the bathroom. These days, ever since my seed implant surgery I cannot ignore theses calls to nature.  I run for the bathroom before I have an accident.  I get back to my now soggy cereal.  Bill is really pissed now. He says "You never have time for me!?  Gee, when have I heard that before?  Some people wonder why I don't volunteer my time to help local causes like political candidates and others in need.  Want to know why?  I have my hands full right here.  Not only including me (which is becoming increasingly necessary) but Bill.  I love Bill to death but on mornings like this I better drop everything and FIX THE PROBLEM.



So here we go folks.  My visceral hatred for anything Microsoft.  I HATE MICROSOFT AND WINDOWS PRODUCTS.  And this morning was a perfect example.



Bill couldn't sign on. The screen gave him NO OPTION to reset his password.  This is standard operating procedure for Windows and Microsoft.  Will Mr. Softee is out trying to cure all the diseases in the world and eliminate world hunger, his products stink.  


THEY.ARE.NOT.USER.FRIENDLY.




I won't take you through the blow by blow, but basically this is what I did this morning.


  • Looked for the website where I could get live help.
  • After several frustrating tries I called.
  • Someone with a foreign accent answers the phone (of course, Microsoft saves money by outsourcing their Help line so Mr. Softee and his cohorts can have more BILLIONS to add to his already overflowing coffers).  
  • I explain my problem.
  • The next thing I got was a dial tone.  Of course.
  • I call again.
  • I get "Michelle" (sure). I ask where she is located. 
  • "The Philippines" she says (of course, I was expecting say Iowa?)
  • "Michelle" was nice enough but we struggled until I finally understood what was happening.  Seems that Microsoft now has a new procedure that you have to reset up your computer once a year to prevent hacking.  Hey folks, Windows based computer are so hobbled now by all the devices like Norton and McAfee to prevent hacking, why not add one more layer?
  • All I wanted to know is how to reset Bill's password.
  • I had to go on my computer and bring up their website.  Then I had to put Bill's iPhone in so they could send a text message with the code number.
  • I get Bill's iPhone, turn it on and wait for the code.


Oh folks, do you really want me to go through all the steps?  It's painful for me to do so.



To sum up, another half hour of reentering code numbers and resetting the password (to the previous one by the way) until I could finally finish the setup on Bill's computer which included being cutoff one more time.  I was on hold (for the second time this morning) until I got "If you would like to make a call, hang up and dial again."  



I took Bill's laptop down to his basement office.  I had to restart it TWICE before I could finally get his e-mail and Internet connection up.  

Of course Bill's not speaking to me now.  He'll get over it.  I understand his frustration.  No one is more frustrated than me dealing with Microsoft and Windows.  That's why I gave away my brand new Dell computer last year ($1,500) and got an iMac which is what I am using now.  




So relish Gates getting a well deserved dose of disrespect by getting a pie in his fugly  puss.  I can't see that image enough.  Now I'm going to leave this house on this beautiful sunny day and ride down to Rehoboth Beach and sit on a bench on the boardwalk and not be bothered by anybody.  I need to unwind BAD.  And wonder, will I ever rid myself of being personally affected by Bill Gates and his company's malfeasance?  I've said it before and I'll say it gain, Microsoft and Windows is the biggest scam on this world in history.  And there goes Mr. Softee, in his never ending pursuit to prove to the world he's a saint.  If anybody is a saint it's me for being subjected to his crap over and over again.  HELP!




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Will I Move?

Our Delaware home - Casa Tipton-Kelly


When I made the move to Delaware from our wooded sanctuary in Pennsylvania in 2006 I decided that would be my final move.  My next move would be feet first out of this house.  

Bill and I had a lovely home in Pennsylvania but there was no way I could keep up with the ever increasing taxes, specifically the school taxes.  Pennsylvania, like so many other northeastern states, taxes it's senior citizens so unfairly.  Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, et al all have the corrupt political systems and the over generous public employee's unions to fund.  I had to get out of that trap. And I did.  

Our former home in Pennsylvania - "Whispering Pines"


Bill hates Delaware.  Rarely a day goes by that he doesn't remind me how much he hates the flat land.  He loves hills and mountains.  Pennsylvania does have beautiful topography but with the corrupt politicians we just could not live there any more.  I love Delaware.

I just came in from working in our back yard.  Here we have just under an acre of land.  In Pennsylvania we had 6.875 wooded acres on the side of a hill outside of Downingtown Pennsylvania.  Oodles of privacy (which Bill loved) and lots of deer.  I love to garden but the deer ate almost everything so gardening was impossible.  Here in Delaware, all I have to contend with is a few annoying rabbits who just love to devour our impatience plants.  Good news yesterday though, Bill spied a fox.  I haven't seen our resident rabbit since.  Aw, too bad.

After I came in from working in the backyard I told Bill how much I love our property here.  We live in a fabulous neighborhood.  We have great neighbors, best we've ever had in our fifty years together.  Our neighborhood is clean, beautiful and safe.  Sometimes it's a pain getting out because we're on the East side of Route One but actually that's good, because that Route One barrier keeps out the undesirable elements.  We do have a drug problem (right here in River City) and the drug related crimes. Fortunately, our neighborhood isn't the easiest neighborhood to slip into and check unlocked cars and unoccupied homes.  

At times since we moved here, I've often thought would I move again if I got too old to take care of this property?  If Bill died and I'm left alone?  Where would I go?  All options are open but for the time being I am quite happy where I am now, even if Bill isn't.  I may just end up one of those old men who live in a big house by himself.  I can handle that.


Not Superman



There was a time in the not too distant past that I assumed I was immortal.  That I was Superman.  That I was exempt from all the health woes of my fellow homo sapiens (that's human being to you less erudite folks). 

When I was seventeen years old, I knew I was going to live forever.  Then I was waylaid by a dirty hospital during a routine hernia operation and almost lost my life to a "staph" (Staphylococcus) infection. Yep, that's right. The folks at the hospital where I was interred didn't take proper antiseptic cleaning procedures and I developed a life threatening case of staph.  What made it even worse, was when I started to show the symptoms and suffered through the worse (my head felt like it had an anvil in it and I had a distended wound in my abdomen which was later burst full of infectious pus), my doctor said it was "all in my head."  Of course he changed his mind when I awoke one night with a seventeen inch incision in my left abdomen open spewing pus.  Thank God this doctor isn't around today.  Think he would properly diagnose the symptoms of Eboloa?  


The Fifties type ambulance that rushed me to the hospital in June of 1959 when my abdomen incision burst open - I remember being in full view of all the pedestrians the ambulance passed on the way to taking me to the contagion ward in the hospital. A memory seared forever in my mind, both the ride and the basement contagion ward where the only people who could visit me had to do so through outside wire mesh windows 


Well, anyway back to my brush with death due to the incompetence of both the hospital and my doctor, I survived after sixth months in and out of the hospital and three surgeries.  After surviving through all that I joined the Army.  During basic training I had a couple more near death experiences; one with an exploded hand grenade and another with tear gas, but I survived again.  Then I was assigned to work for the National Security Agency (NSA) with a top secret clearance.  The NSA and the government and Army were very efficient for rooting out homosexuals, lest they be subject to blackmail and divulge state secrets (none of with ever happened in the history of the United States).  I survived all the witch hunts for "queers". 




The Salem Witch trials of the 1600's - not much had changed from that time until the homosexual witch hunts of the 20th century - one only had to be accused and you were guilty and destroyed

After the Army reentered civilian life and decided to come out as a gay man back in 1963 when it was decidedly very unsafe to come out as a HOMOSEXUAL.  Actually, when I came out I could have been arrested in the state of Pennsylvania because being a homosexual was against the law.  The psychiatric community deemed me "sick" and in need of mental health rehabilitation.  My family, specifically my Mother, went nuts when I told her.  They tried to take me to the hospital for "the cure."  I lost friends.  What friends I had left, some urged me to "seek help" because they were concerned that I would lead an awful life (their assessment).  I survived all the onslaughts.  Oh sure, I lost two good jobs because I was an out homosexual.  And what jobs I did have, my career path was stymied because I didn't stay in the closet and practice "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

I was lucky in that I met a wonderful man named Bill Kelly in the summer of 1964.  He just thought I was awesome and would give up until I moved in with him which I did the following February.  We've been together ever since, marking fifty years of domestic habitation this past July.  

The past fifty years have been a roller coaster ride both emotionally and physically but in good health.  In fact the twenty-seven years I worked in Philadelphia for two major banks I never once used my medical plan.




However, when I left regular employment in 1997, that's when my health issues started to  pop up.  I'm not going to go into the details in this posting because it's too long already but I have had several surgeries to correct some health issues.  Then in August of 2012 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My PSA score was 8.4.  My biopsy of twelve specimens from my prostate gland showed seven to be cancerous.  Fortunately for me, my cancer was localized to my prostate gland, it had not spread.

Fast forward to May of 2013, I had seed implants (brachytheraphy) to combat the prostate cancer.  I decided not to have my prostate gland removed (too many just awful complications, not the least of which was no sex life and incontinence issues).  Since that operation my PSA score has steadily gone down from 8.4, to 1.9, and to 1.1.  My urologist told me it would continue going down.

Yesterday I returned from my friend Bob Mc.'s memorial service.  I had mail waiting for me from the VA where I took my semi-annual blood test last week.  I checked the results:  my PSA score has now gone UP to 1.5.  Not good news folks.  Sure, I'm still in the "safe range" of 1-4 but still, my PSA score has gone UP.  It's not supposed to go UP.


Me at my friend's memorial service yesterday


Of course this was a bummer, especially coming off of just returning from my friend's memorial service.  I have two other friends battling health issues right now.  One is still in the hospital and the other is in rehab.  No idea when either is getting out.  

I'm trying to convince myself this is a fluke (and it could very well be) but I'm telling you folks, this bit of new is preying on my mind. As I've said many times before in this place, I do not fear death, I only fear how I get there.  

And another thing, as much as I go bopping along thinking I'm immortal and will outlive everybody with a fantastic interesting and fun filled life, hitting a speed bump like yesterday doesn't help.




But as they say, "this too shall pass."  I'll get back into my regular routine of posting my blog, updating my genealogy records, taking and sorting photos, fussing around in my backyard garden, working part-time at the hotel and taking occasional jaunts with my friend from Canada (LA next on the agenda!)  

I shall continue until I can no longer continue.  I'll tell you one thing, each day seems more precious to me.  All those days in my Foolish Youth that I thought I was going to live forever, not so much now.  But what I do hope for is that when my time comes, as it surely will for me and all of us, I hope my passage is quick, painless and with dignity.  






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bob's Memorial Service

Me and another longtime friend of Bob's, Howard

This morning I attended my friend Bob's memorial service.  Today was a beautiful autumn day, just the kind of day that Bob loved.



I was planning on speaking, sharing some of my memories of my longtime (54 years) friend Bob but this wasn't that kind of memorial service.  It was held at the Rehoboth Beach Metropolitan Community Church.  At first I was a little put off that we couldn't share our memories but that feeling soon dissipated after reuniting with some of Bob's friends who attended the service.  I'm glad I went.  Bob would have been very pleased with this morning's service in his honor and memory.  Very well done folks.


Rest in peace my dear friend Bob. 
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Best Commercial . . . Ever (so far)

Folks, this has to be the best commercial ever. Or at least so far.  Most commercials are annoying or just plain stupid.  But I have to say this one is inspired.  I LOVE IT!

Every time I watch it and literally LAUGH OUT LOUD.  Especially when the girl says "Why don't we just get in the running car?" and the guy says "Are you crazy? Let's hide behind the chainsaws."  

You know me how I like to puncture pomposity and stupidity.  This commercial, which runs just a little over a minute, totally skewers all those dumb ass, money making teen slasher movies.  I LOVE IT!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday December 24, 1974


Me, December 24, 1974

Hey folks, this week's Throwback Thursday is forty long years ago when I was young and pretty. It's December 24th, 1974 at our town house in center city Philly.  I'm posing in front of my stash of Christmas cards.  I've been a big Christmas card sender since I was about twelve years old.  Still doing it folks but I'm thinking of drastically cutting back my card sending this year.

Me, forty years later  this morning at the Atlantic Cellular Phone store in Rehoboth Beach getting my new iPhone 6 set up. Lot of living in these past forty years!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Digital Communication

Communication by FaceTime


These days it's fashionable in some quarters to denigrate the new digital way of communication with friends.  The hairs on the back of my neck always bristle when I hear someone suggest "We should put away all the smart phones and go back to the way we USED to communicate with friends."  

I get it, that criticism assumes that using smart phones to check our various forms of communications in this Digital Age (e-mail,social media, et al) is replacing the old fashion face to face communication.  WRONG.  Not so.  

I will never apologize for using my iPhone in public. Whether I'm checking my e-mail (so I can keep up on my communications with my friends, neighbors, co-workers and others) or I'm checking the latest stock market activity or the latest news bulletin.  Leave me alone.  If you want to ditch your hand held electronic device that keeps you up with the world then go for it . . . . for yourself.  As for me, I'm taking advantage of this new Digital Age and the communication revolution.  Just as I get in my car to drive to the local supermarket instead of my horse and buggy, I'm taking advantage of the evolution of our civilization. Excuse me while I live in the modern age.



I have a couple of dear friends that I talk to on FaceTime almost every day. One lives in the north of this state but we only see each other in person usually only once a year.  That's when he comes down for his birthday in June and we get an old time photo taken. My other good friend, as regular followers of this blog know, lives in Toronto Canada.  We of course do not see each other in person but maybe twice a year (if we're lucky).  All the other times we communicate and share our friendship on FaceTime.  What would our friendship be like if we didn't have FaceTime? If I bowed to the retro shaming of those he eschew using modern hand held electronic devices to communicate with friends? Telephone calls, that's what.  And I probably wouldn't do telephone calls anyway because I hate talking on the telephone.  Always have, always will.  So impersonal.


The famous "Lar" of Claymont, Delaware
a HUGE Joe Biden fan


For me, the new "personal" is my electronic communication.  So if you see me walking down the street with my face glued to my iPhone or see me in a restaurant checking my e-mail on my iPhone (more likely you'll see me in a medical waiting room checking my e-mail on my iPhone but I digress), you'll have to excuse me for not joining into the Greek Chorus demonizing our new form of communication. 

Greek Chorus chanting "Oh don't use your iPhone!  Whatever happened to face to face communication?"
Answer: Miles - when you live miles apart from friends you talk FaceTime - just like being there