Thursday, November 20, 2014

Morning Surprise

How I feel this morning ( and probably look too even down to the "peninsula" hair


Uh oh. I woke up this morning feeling weak. 

Runny nose. 

Sneezing.  

Achy limbs.

Uh oh.

Last year for the first time in many years I didn't have a "cold" (or flu - I can never tell which is which, only that I feel lousy for several days).  

I'm embarrassed to admit I was experiencing schadenfruede (a pleasure derived from the misfortune of others) talking to my two best friends Lar and Pat on FaceTime as they suffered through TWO colds (flu?) last winter.

Folks, I'm about to be bitten in the arse.

I think I have a COLD coming on.  

I took my COLD-EZ tablet this morning in probably a vain attempt to ward off the worsening effects of this cold (flu).  

One more day work today then I collapse this weekend and work through this cold.

One thing I am thankful for, that this cold isn't coming on right as I begin a work shift at the hotel.  

Another thing I'm thankful for, that we don't have that "Buffalo Snow" down here in Lower Slower (Sussex County, Delaware).  The temperatures have dropped but thankfully, NO SNOW and the sun is out.  



After tonight, rest and relax Ron and get through this FIRST cold of the season.  There are more to come I'm sure.  


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

These Boots Are Made For Walking

Nancy "Natural Blonde" Sinatra (right)

"These Boots Are Made For Walking."  Who didn't like that little ditty?  I did.  Oh sure, it was probably only a hit for Nancy Sinatra because she got to the head of the line because she was Old Blue Eye's daughter.  But still, cute song.  I always liked it.  

No more.

This past August I visited my friend Pat in Toronto.  I stayed at his minimalist digs.  Quite nice although VERY minimal (you should have seen me trying to take a shower - like a flamingo standing on one leg - nothing to grab onto but I digress).  

Most evenings during my two week stay (yes, I overdid it but we won't go there now), we played Scrabble.  Pat has the Sonos music system in his house.  Music played softly through the walls.  That was fine until he decided to share his obsession with Nancy "These Boots Are Made For Walking" Sinatra with me.  

The first hour or two, I didn't take too much notice.  But as Nancy droned on into the third hour, I began to develop a rash and a heavy feeling at the base of my skull.  

"OMG" I thought.  "I can't take any more of her buzz saw like droning of music!"  To me Ms. Sinatra sings everything flat.  That's fine with a novelty song like "These Boots Are Made For Walking" but when she sings a serious song like "MacArthur - I left my cake in the rain - park", I'm thinking "All right!  I give up!  I'll tell you anything you want to know!"

Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.  Want to make a captured terrorist talk? Strap him down on a gurney and play "MacArthur Park" sung by Ms. Sinatra over and over and OVER.  

Folks, I can't stand to hear Nancy Sinatra now.  Just the sound of her D flat, drone causes my heart to slow down, the base of my skull becomes very heavy and I start experiencing sickening waves of nausea over my brain mass. 


Sorry beautiful - your singing just does work for me anymore

Reminds me of the story my brother Isaac told me when he took Army Basic Training.  During one of his mess hall dinners, there was left over hot dogs.  The sergeant asked the recruits "Anyone want these left over hot dogs?" Isaac, a strapping 18 year old at that time and never one to pass up an opportunity for extra food shot his hand up.  The sergeant saw his hand and said "Get your Ass Come up here recruit!"  Then he lifted the pan that contained the remaining hot dogs floating in cloudy hot water and told Isaac to help himself.  Isaac took one.  After he ate it, the sergeant told him to take another.  Isaac at that one too and the sergeant told him to take another.  What Isaac didn't know that the sergeant was playing one of the many old sadistic Army routines that are frequently played on new recruits. I had it done to me with left over strawberries for strawberry short cake. 

The Army doesn't like to waste food and the Army, during basic training likes to make examples of raw recruits to the other recruits for purposes of discipline.  The sergeant made my brother Isaac eat EVERY HOT DOG IN THAT PAN.  There were about seventeen hot dogs.  To this day, Isaac cannot even stand the sight of hot dogs. 


"GAG"

These must be a name for this condition when one gets an overload of something (help us out her Dr. Spo).  

All I know now is that whenever I even see a picture of Nancy Sinatra strains of her version of MacArthur Park start to invade my mind and I feel like I'm falling down a deep, dark hole.  

Nancy, stick with "These Boots Are Made For Walking."  You may be Ole Blue Eyes daughter but you're not Richard Harris.  

Bang bang.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Genealogy Break



Twenty years ago (1994) I began researching my family (Tipton) history.  At first my research consumed just about all my time.  Then Life interrupted.  

Since then, I go in spurts in researching my family genealogy.  Right now I am in one of those spurts.  

Yesterday I received two different e-mails from distant cousins inquiring about their Tipton connection.  I talked to both of them today on the phone.  One lives in Montana and the other lives in Ohio.  Both fine fellows and coincidentally, both related and not through the Tipton connection but through their Bennett family connection which is also in my family.



All of our ancestors were hillbillies from the western North Carolina mountains (which I am proud to admit, true Americana - Appalachian stock sometimes referred to as "hillbilly.") 

So folks, my usually daily blog postings here may not be so daily for the next few days.  Rest assured I am still here and in fine health but taking a little detour here whilst I update my family history on Ancestry.com.





Monday, November 17, 2014

Prostate Update



Medical update here.  My latest PSA score inched up a bit from 1.1 to 1.2.  Not a lot by most measures but the fact is that it DID go UP.  It is supposed to be going down.  Of course this could be just a blip or it could be an indication that my seed implants of May 2013 are no longer working.  What is continuing to work is the side effects which I won't go into here.

Hopefully the results of my next blood test will be more positive.  However, if they are not, I have decided not to go on the Medical Treadmill of additional procedures like Lupron injections which basically turn you into a woman with side effects like hot flashes and breast growth and diminished sex drive.  Sounds like fun doesn't it?




I've also decided not to look at the website "Inspire" which is a public forum of other men with prostate cancer.  It's just way too depressing to read of some of their severe conditions, side effects and searches for new procedures to "save" them.  

Having just turned 73 years of age, I know I've had a good run.  Hopefully I'll have many more years of a healthy, active life.  But if that is not in my future, I have made my decision.  One thing I am sure of, I will not spend my remaining days hooked up to IV's, downing pain killers and battling nasty side effects to gain a little more time on this earth.  When my quality of my life is gone, I'm gone.  Yes, I said it.  And I'm glad I did. I have a plan. I've always had a Life Plan during my life and I am not making an exception at the end of my life. 

In the meantime, I plan to do a lot of living. Next on the agenda is Los Angeles, California.  I'll be flying out January 7th from Philadelphia and meeting Pat who is flying out from Toronto, Canada.  We'll be staying at the Historic Hollywood Hotel near the Universal Studios.  Might take a day trip to Palm Springs to see what all the fuss is about.  We'll return to our respective cities January 17th.  


Los Angeles at night - we'll be two more lights

It's all good folks!  All gravy time now.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

English Wedding Photographers Routine

Which of us has never been to a wedding?  I've been to a few myself, including my own in 2013.  Of course wedding photos are de rigueur. But I've never been to a wedding when there were these many different "group" photos taken.  

Love Actually

LOVE statue - Philadelphia, PA -  2013


"You can have all the money in the world, you can have mansions, you can have properties, you can have yachts, you can have limousines, you can have motorcycles  - but without love it doesn't mean a goddamn thing."

The above is a quote from the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel from his recently published book "Billy Joel The Definitive Biography." Actually, his quote sounds like the lyrics to one of his many self written songs.  

One aspect of the human condition that has always fascinated me is how some very popular, rich and talented people can't find true love.  Now of course Billy Joel is one fugly looking dude.

Billy Joel - Piano Man
 

I don't know him personally (of course I don't!) but from what I've been able to glean from my prodigious reading of the gossip rags,  he's not one of these egomaniacal driven stars who think they are God like. He seems to be a regular guy with a super abundance of talent who has issues like most of us.  But what a shame to have all that money, talent and fame and not to have someone to love him and for him to love.

I read a lot of celebrity biographies.  Presently I'm finished an unauthorized biography of Diana Ross.  She too, with all her talent and good looks, is now alone.  Oh sure, she has her children, which is very important, but she doesn't have that Special Someone.  But they she has that out of control diva thing going on too.  Maybe that's her problem.


Diana Ross

Then there is  perhaps the most famous and desired movie goddess of all time, Marilyn Monroe.  She, who combined the perfect of physical beauty with childlike innocence, died alone in her bed from an apparent drug overdose.  Let me say it again, Marilyn died ALONE.  


Marilyn Monroe

Hedy Lamarr, my favorite movie goddess.  Perhaps the most beautiful woman ever to grace the silver screen (in my opinion anyway), also died alone. And I could cite example after example.


Hedy Lamarr
I harken back to my youthful days when I was young and pretty and fresh on the scene.  At times I got so depressed because I couldn't meet my Prince Charming.  One Saturday night in April of 1963 is embedded in my mind forever, never to be erased until my brain ceases to function.  I was 22 years old, living in a two room furnished efficiency apartment in the small steel town of Coatesville, Pennsylvania.  I did not have a car.  I had a few friends who lived a distance away.  I depended on them to transport me to any venue where the possibility of meeting my handsome prince charming might happen.  That particular Saturday night my friends were otherwise occupied (perhaps looking for their own Prince Charming, which by the way they never found, even to this day).  

There I was, alone in my dull apartment with the worn furniture in the Roll Up the Streets town of Coatesville, Pennsylvania.  I was playing some Dinah Washington records to assuage my loneliness, which probably on exacerbated my loneliness but oh how her sad songs soothed my loneliness.  

At one point I thought I was going out of my head with despair.  I turned on all the lights in the apartment and put on more upbeat music and started to dance by myself.  I did that for about an hour until I wore myself out and went to bed . . . . early.

When I got up the next morning I made up my mind that I was not going to give up to despair.  I would continue "going out" and create the possibility of meeting Someone. And I did. I met Bill.


Christmas 1964 at Bill's apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey

In the ensuing years since I have been in love and been loved more than once.  I have lived.  Not for the the usual gay "lifestyle" experience of sleeping with as many people as I could.  I never went that route.  For the the "route" I went was always looking for Prince Charming.  And you know what folks?  I have found him.  

So who needs fame and fortune and incredible talent when regular schmoo like me can find love.  Life is good folks.  Life is good and I am so thankful.  

Do I think it is luck?  At one time I did but not now.  I think it is the person.  You're either a person who can give love and receive it or you're a person who doesn't.  Sounds harsh but I truly believe someone has their perfect match.  It's just a matter of time until you find him or her.  But you can't give up, no matter how long it takes. 






Saturday, November 15, 2014

Breaking Bad



Folks, I have a confession to make.

I'm am addict.

I am addicted to the TV series "Breaking Bad."  

Yes, I admit it.  I am ADDICTED . . . to this TV series.  

I am presently binge watching via my Netflix DVD queue.  No, I don't do streaming, I wait for the DVD's to arrive my mail.  

Tonight at the Tipton Cinema I begin Season 3 of the adventures of Walter White and Jesse Pinkham, meth makers.




I know I'm late to the game here.  I've heard a lot about "Breaking Bad" in the past few years.  But I'm one of those people that resist falling for whatever the current flavor of the month.  All too often I've subscribed only to be disappointed, re "House of Cards" (which I didn't like at all even though I like Kevin Spacey). 

Last year, while Pat and I were visiting Philadelphia he talked me into watching an episode of "Breaking Bad" at the hotel where we were staying in Philadelphia.  I resisted but I relented to Pat's pleadings and watched.  I.WAS.HOOKED.

I'm not going to go into all the details of the series and the character development (which is all excellent) but what I will say is:


THIS IS THE BEST TV OR MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN!

There, is that a definitive statement or what?  

You know me, I do like a good movie or a good TV series.  All too often I've been disappointed but not this time.

Everything is good here.  The writing, the acting, the production values . . . . . . . .


The "Breaking Bad" cast receiving one of their many well deserved awards - BEST SHOW EVER!


EVERYTHING!

Why I like this show so much other than the superb acting, writing and productions values is that the story is one that all of can identify with.  All of us have a little "Walter White" in us.  Oh yes, we all have a "Walter White" weakness.  

There are so many facets to the Walter White character.  The good and . . . the bad.  And just how far are we willing to go to protect our family and our sanity and our self-respect.

Oh yes folks, we are all Walter White.  I've had my "Walter White" moments as I'm sure most of you have too.  If you haven't, then you haven't lived. 



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Philadelphia 1969

Me - 1969 in our dining room at our new Philadelphia address

The year was 1969 and the place was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I always wanted to live in the Big City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In 1969 we finally realized our dream and brought a 16 foot wide, 50 feet deep row house in center city Philly at 2409 Naudain Street.

2409 Naudain Street - our door is the red door (of course) - 1971

We were living at an apartment in Roxborough (Philadlephia) after we had moved from Bill's New Jersey (Pennsauken) apartment.  After they raised the rent from $145 a month to $165 a month, I decided that was too much.  So instead of throwing out money down a rat hole every month I suggested that we look at properties in center city Philly.  I always wanted to live in center city Philadelphia.  It was my dream to walk to work (I had a job at Girard Bank right across from City Hall) and the OTHER reason was so I could walk to the bars.  The GAY BARS.  I didn't have a car at that time and wouldn't drive anyway because one doesn't drive and drink and I did like my gin an tonics in those days.

Me and my G & T - dancing the night away at an after hours club - NO DRIVING - I just stumbled home

So looked at houses and decided on a recently rehabbed house on the edge of center city.  The previous house was torn down because it was in a bad section of town.  Yes, we were The Gays gentrifying a bad section of town.  

Our nice backyard at Naudain Street, Philadelphia, PA - 1971

The asking price of the row house was $27,000.  I suggested that we pay the asking price.  The owner almost tripped over his own shoes rushing to get the agreement of sale before I changed my mind.  

We bought the house. The next week I was sick to my stomach, convinced that I had made the biggest mistake of my life ( I hadn't). Now we had a 20 year mortgage at $119.27 a month.  WE.WERE.LOCKED.IN.  Funny how one feels when one makes a commitment like that.  

Our two little Pomeranian dogs out for a walk in front of our Philadelphia home - 1977

Well folks, it didn't turn out too bad.  We had that mortgage paid off in five years.  This was before the housing market got wise to the facts that many gay couples lived together and had double incomes and could easily pay such a mortgage off.  Remember those days when the husband went to work and the wifey-poo stayed home and raised the little brats kids? 

We lived at that wonderful property for eleven glorious years until I had my fill of police sirens (sometimes it seemed as if they went all day), potential race riots (we lived on the edge of the "bad section") and just the general feeling of suffocation of living in the middle of a densely populated city.  Plus, I grew tired of going to the gay bars every weekend.  That novelty wore off on my 37th birthday when I was standing in the 247 Bar and the lights flashed on as the bartender screamed "LAST CALL!"  I thought to myself, "What am I doing here?"  That night I left never to return to gay bar cruising again.  

"What am I doing here?"


We sold our center city townhouse for what we thought was the astronomical sum of $95,000 and moved to the country (Downingtown) where we lived for the next twenty-five years until we moved to our present location here in Delaware in 2006.

By the way, know how much that "little row house" in center city Philly is worth now?  Zillow estimates $621,864.  It was last sold in June of 2009 for $592,000.  Hey, maybe we should have stayed and won the lottery.  

Last year when Pat and I were in Philly, I showed him where we used to live.  You know what folks, it's now in a fou fou section of town.  Just goes to show you.  

Our former Philadelphia home now, fou fou home.