Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dancing With the Stars

Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin - graceful, lovely Petra

Okay.  I admit it.  I'm a 'Dancing With the Stars' addict.  Until this year I couldn't get the program because I had satellite TV (DirecTV) and didn't have access to local (network TV) channels.  This year that all changed and now I can get 'Judge Judy' and 'Dancing With the Stars.'  I can also get 'Glee', which is a local (Rehoboth Beach - aka 'Gayberry') gay favorite.  However, I cannot get into a show where guys and gals in their middle 20's are playing teenagers.  I don't care how much Broadway type singing and dancing is going on (I never got THAT gay gene by the way),  adults playing teenagers isn't interesting to me.  Talented teenagers would be a much more interesting show but adult professionals playing teenagers, no.

Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke - athletes having a grand time!

Before I moved to Delaware I also was a American Idol fan.  Without apology I am a Simon Cowell/Paula Abdul fan.  I sorely missed not seeing American Idol when I moved down here in Lower Slower Delaware.  Now that I can get AI, I don't want to see it.  I can't get past Super Diva Jo Lo.  I don't care how sweet she portrays herself on AI, to me she is a boring ME, ME, ME diva.  Randy?  I was over his "Hey Dawg" and "You're a little pitchy" comments and name dropping a LONG time ago.  Steven Tyler?  Old Mummy Face himself?  Sorry, I can't look at that wrinkled mug without twisting my wrinkled face in revulsion.  I don't need any reminders of how old I am. 

Kym Johnson and Hines Ward - lots of teeth here 
So what was I left with?  I've heard a lot about 'Dancing With the Stars' but I never watched it.  I was reluctant to watch it  but I DVD'd it just in case I ran into a stretch of lousy Netflix rentals.  This weekend, when I had an opening in my schedule (sure), I settled myself in my in my bedroom lounger and flicked the remote control on and voila!  

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovsky - brave,  heavy and sexy Kirstie

BOOM!  The lights, the colors, the cheers, the gowns, the excitement!  Now I know why the show is so popular.  Then the 'stars' (some not so much') were introduced by Tom Bergeron.  When I saw that big drag queen Wendy Williams navigating her bulk down the ramp like one of those hippo ballerinas in Disney's 'Fantasia', I was hooked!  OMIGOD!  That ratty wig.  That cheap, floozy dress.  The tons of make up with rainbow glitter on her enormous eye lids.  Good thing I was sitting when that image was flung in my face.  Wendy?  Who are you?  A drag show reject?

Tony Dovolain & Wendy Williams - is it me or does Wendy look like a drag queen?

So folks, here's the deal,  I will be doing my inimitable reviews of all the 'stars' and professional dancers on Season 12 of Dancing With the Stars.  Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be fun!

Lacy Schwimmer and 'Psycho' Mike Catherwood - adorable Mike - can't dance with a lick but cute

I'll try to keep my posts shorter than usual. I know sometimes I get carried away and just go on and on (that's why I don't Tweet) but I do feel this compulsion to SHARE my views of this unique pop culture phenomena that millions of Americans will view every week.  Some may think a show like Dancing With the Stars is a waste of time and empty of meaning.  I disagree 100%!  To my way of thinking, any culture needs a diversion to balance the bad in our lives.  With so much unemployment in our country, health care costs rising, nuclear plant fears and multiple wars God knows we need a diversion.  We all have to thank ABC and the 'stars' (some not so much but that's all right) for putting on this show for us, the modern day version of the three ring circus.

The cast of season 12 of 'Dancing With the Stars' - let the games begin!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cooking Meme

Quiche Lorraine by Ron

Another meme folks!  This one is a food meme. I stole borrowed this from Cubby of Patently Queer.
1. Can you cook? If yes, do you like to cook?
Damn right I can cook!  From my earliest memory I wanted to cook.  When I was in high school during the Fifties I wanted to be in the Home Economics class ('Home Ec') but this was back in the Bad Old Repressive Uptight Eisenhower Years where the boys' place was Shop and the gals place was Home Ec. I used to help my Mom cook (who had a very limited repertoire) and then when I got married to Bill I taught myself from cookbooks.  I am the best cook I know, par none and I make no excuses for bragging about it.  I cook better than any restaurant I've ever eaten at.  I am my best cook which is one of the joys of my life.  By the way, my first cookbook was "The Joy of Cooking."  Appropriate.
Ron's signature apple pie
2. When do you eat with your whole family?
I eat alone.  My husband Bill prefers to eat at a different time than I do.  Once in a great while I will invite our friend Bob C. over for dinner and I will whip up one of my specialities and we will all sit down at the table together for a kumbuya meal.  I normally eat at 7 to 8 pm at night at the kitchen counter  while watching TV.  We have never used our dining room since we moved into our new home in 2006. When we have company (Bob C.), I set the dishes out and we eat at the table in the kitchen, which has the best view of our backyard.
I eat at the counter in the corner of the kitchen 
3. What do you eat for breakfast?
Corn Chex with 2% milk and bananas or strawberries when they are in season.

Ron's breakfast - everyday

4. What do you eat on weekdays?
Lunch is Doritas Buffalo chips and a hummus wrap of either spinach and artichoke or red pepper sprinkled with feta cheese.  'Dessert' is a handful of Diamond glazed walnuts (which I am trying to wean myself off of to drop five pounds.)
My guilty pleasure (and the reason I have a 'tube' around my waist)

5. How often do you eat out (in a restaurant)?
About once a week.  I like to eat out but I am no fan of restaurant food. Most of it is overpriced hog swill (my term).  I eat out for the camaraderie of my friends.  Once in a great while I will find a restaurant that serves good, fresh food but it is always obscenely overpriced ($60 inluding tip last time for a medallion of pork which really was 'fork tender' - but I could have done the same thing at home.)  Where I live now I am at a disadvantage because it is a beach resort and the restaurants can get away with the Sysco pre-cooked, tasteless packages of overpriced food due to the heavy tourist traffic.  Off season most of the restaurants are closed and the ones who are open serve the same bland concoctions.  
Cracker Barrel - it's the friends not the food
6. How often do you order delivery/take-out?
Never.  Ever since I heard that my co-worker's boyfriend who worked in a pizza shop (a national chain) performed a sexual act on a take-out pizza with his bored co-workers for laughs, I have no appetite for the Russian Roulette of take-out meals.  Ever take a look at what who works at take-outs?  I rest my case.
Beware of what's in the bag

7. Regarding no. 5 and 6: Say there weren’t financial reasons, would you do this more often?

It is expensive to eat out but I can afford it (as long as I have my present part-time job) and it is worth it to me to spend time with my friends.

Well off retirees dining at MIXX in Rehoboth - expensive but good
8. Are there any “standard dishes” you serve regularly?
I serve myself a 'standard dish' of Caesar Salad with either a chicken an vegetable casserole or eggplant casserole.  Once in a great while I make a slow cooker, fork tender,  beef stew with white wine.  I have either French Fries or oven baked potatoes every night.  I also have ONE dessert a day, taken before I go to bed.  Usually this is a cake which I vary between lemon pound cake, apple cake or pineapple cake. 

Hawaiien Wedding Cake - Ron Style
9. Have you ever cooked for more than 6 persons?
Very, very rare.  Last time I did it was thirty-five years ago for my brother, his wife and two daughters, my Mother and my husband Bill.  It is doubtful that I will ever cook for more than three people again in my lifetime. 

1969 - Philadelphia, PA home - Coq au Vin served
10. Do you cook every day?
Every day, without fail.  I cannot stand prepacked, frozen food.  It is poison.  It makes me sick and I cannot digest it.  I appreciate the convenience but if the food makes me sick (no matter how often they put "No Perservatives" and "All Natural" on the package), that cardboard food still makes me sick.  I would rather have a bowl of cereal with fresh fruit than ingest those chemicals.
Dinner is serve at our home - very rare

11. Have you ever tried recipes from blogs?
Yes, I always try new recipes.  Sometimes I find some great ones.  

Lemon Pound Cake from a blog - scrumptious!
12. Who cooks more frequently at your home?
I do ALL THE COOKING in this family.  Only one time in our forty-seven years of domesticity has my husband Bill cooked.  It was a DISASTER.  Bill usually eats peas right out of a can with a large dollop of  mayonnaise, which is what he prefers.  He eats 'lunch' at 10 am in the morning.  'Dinner' for Bill is 4 pm in the afternoon.  I eat breakfast at 7 am in the morning.  Lunch at 1 pm in the afternoon and dinner at 7 or 8 pm at night.  We're on different eating schedules.  When I bake a large casserole, Bill will take a couple of large serving spoons in his Eating Bowl with TWO dollops of mayonnaise.  That is his special treat.  He likes my cooking but has asked me not to cook too much because he wants to lose weight and he can't if I'm cooking all this good food.  

Christmas dinner at Mom and Pop's 1969
13. And who cooks better?
No contest, me.  Yes, I'm bragging.  No false modesty here when it comes to who is the best cook in this household.  It is me.  I cook the best casseroles, stews, soups, desserts, et al.  The only thing I don't cook is fish or any type of seafood because I hate seafood and the way it stinks up the house.  Bill loves seafood.  Our neighbor is a fisherman and he frequently brings Bill fish that he has already cooked. I also don't cook fried foods anymore because since we have an open area (Great Room) house, I don't want all that grease in our curtains and upholstery.  Plus, eating non fried foods is much healthier.  I even bake my French Fries. 

My signature oven baked potatoes in olive oil with skins - delicious!
14. Do you cook totally different compared to your mother/parents?
Yes, my mother had a very limited cooking repertoire.  She made what my father liked with was basically meat and potatoes.  She did make very good biscuits though which I have never been able to duplicate.  I never had spaghetti or any food with garlic until I left home and was in the Army.  I never ate at a restaurant until I was in the Army.  After I taught myself to cook, my Mother tried and loved many of my recipes, except the ones with garlic in them which I occasionally would sneak in to play a prank on her.  My Mother did make good salmon patties which I haven't done...yet.  It's seafood and I'm afraid I'll stink up my hands when I make it.  I can't stand a fishy smell, it gags me.  

My Mom making her salmon patties - she could do it with her eyes closed - this was the last time she did made them, she died shortly thereafter - I'm glad I have this picture of her smiling making her 'patties'
15. If yes, do you nevertheless eat at your parents?
My father used to make a good vegetable soup. And as I said before, Mom's biscuits were the best plus she made a good stuffing for turkey and gravy.  Both my parents are gone now.

My father making his signature fresh garden veggie soup
16. Are you a vegetarian or could you imagine being one?
Absolutely!  I love vegetables.  Eggplant casserole is my favorite.  I've had it the last three nights in a row.  The meat I eat is boneless chicken but I can't eat a whole half breast anymore.  I cut it into one inch chunks and mix  it with fresh vegetables (not the frozen bags of tasteless veggies).  I haven't eaten a steak in over fifty years.  Prime rib? Once at a Christmas Party dinner I was sitting next to my co-worker Christine and she ordered a prime rib, rare.  I took one look at that big slab of pink pulsating meat and asked her "Are you going to eat that?"  She flashed a big smile on her cherubic face and said "Every last bite!"  I almost fainted.  

What I feel like doing when I see a 'prime' rib 
17. What would you like to cook which you haven’t dared to make yet?
The same answer as Cubby, a souffle.
18. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
I like both but I do more cooking than baking except for cakes.  I don't eat bread anymore. I did make wonderfully tasty yeast rolls but I have weaned myself totally from bread.  I don't need it. 
19. What is your greatest misery in the kitchen?
Years ago when I used to have company over for dinner to try and impress them I was making a Beef Stroganoff.  While my company of three was sitting at the table waiting me to put the finishing touches (stirring in the sour cream) I opened the door to the cabinet above the stove to reach for a serving plate for the beef stroganoff and a glass pie dish fell out right into the pan of beef stroganoff!  I couldn't believe it!  Here I had rubbed each piece of thinly sliced, expensive, tender beef individually with garlic and had everything JUST RIGHT and this pie dish crashes into the frying pan where my beef stroganoff was residing.  I tried to pick out the shards of glass from the pie pan all the while assuring my company 'all was well'.  My hubby Bill saw what I was doing and how upset I was (I was very young at the time and felt the need to impress my company unlike now...whatever, whatever) and he wisely came out into the kitchen and, which he was patting me on the back to calm me down, said
"Ron, you can't serve this. It has glass in it."  I tried to convince him that I got out all the pieces of glass but was unsuccessful.  The only other food I had in the house was some of those awful frozen veal patties that tasted like the tongues of shoes.  THAT meal was my BIGGEST DISASTER every.  I remember it as clearly today as I did that day about 45 years ago.  Lesson learned, if you break a pie dish in the meal you're serving, don't serve it to your guests because you might injure or kill them.

 20. What do you dislike?
SEAFOOD!  Anything cooked with seafood reminds me of the flotsam that is left behind on the beach after the tide goes out.  Sorry folks, but there it is.  No offense to my female friends but as a gay guy, anything that smells fishy gags me.  This gay guy anyway.  I know there are gay guys who LOVE seafood.  I ain't one of them.  The irony is that I now live at a seaside beach resort and other than chicken, that's all the restaurants have to offer down here...SEAFOOD.  No thank you.  Eggplant Parmesan, now you're talking.
I found this baby shark on the beach during my walk last summer, probably ended up in a local restaurant bouillabaisse soup which they charged an arm and a leg

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Isaac Walter Tipton, Jr.

Continuing with the theme of my younger brother, Isaac Tipton, today I am posting several pictures that I have of Isaac from his youngest picture to his latest.  

Isaac (stuck in the middle as always) and me (on the right) and my brother John (always restless and curious) on the left (am I sucking my thumb ?) - 1945 - the body language says it all - Isaac stuck between both of his overachieving brothers - especially his older brother (!)
Isaac definitely doesn't want to be here - that's Curious John to the right - 1948

Isaac was the second child of my parents Ike (Isaac, Sr.) and Betty Tipton.  He was named after my father because my father wanted a child named after him.  When I was born my Mother did not want me named "Isaac" because she considered the name Isaac 'ugly' and gold my father so.  However, she relented when my second brother was born.  Ironically this proved to be appropriate because Isaac was born blonde like my father and grew up to have the same job that my father had (Gindy Manufacturing Company).  

Isaac, Jr. (when we called him "Junior") in second grade - 1949

Sadly, there is only one picture of Isaac as a baby.  I was the oldest so I had most of the baby pictures.  My youngest brother, John, also has a few baby pictures and I will feature him in future blog postings.  However, this blog post is devoted to my handsome and big hearted brother Isaac, Jr.

Isaac with his Mom (and mine too) - I always suspected she liked him better than me - 1956

As I said earlier, Isaac was named after his father, Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr.  Isaac also has a son and his name is...guess what?  Isaac Walter Tipton, III, also known as "Ikey" which he hates.

Isaac with his Pop, also known as "Big Ike."  1956
My father (I would say "our father" but that sounds like I'm going to start a Catholic prayer and since we were raised as Baptists, that would be quite kosher) liked to garden and would put his three sons to work weeding his rows of corn.  In the above picture he gave us a break from weeding.  

Me (about ready to devour a hoagie), our Mom and Isaac. Note how Isaac is protective of his Mom at even this young age. After our father died in 2000, Isaac moved in with Mom and took care of her for ten years until she needed more are and moved to South Carolina to live with my other brother John.  Isaac now lives in our family home but he won't go into Mom's bedroom (my old bedroom) because he says he can still feel that "Mom is in there." -  1956

Isaac and John entering their 'playground' at Gindys -1957
John and Isaac with some baby kittens then found in the garage at Gindys  - note no shoes, we never wore shoes in the summertime - that's what you did when you were poor, white kids in Downingtown in the Fifties -1955

We lived on Boot Road in a second floor apartment above the Gindy Manufacturing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania from 1954 to 1958.  Our 'playground' was the manufacturing complex.  We didn't complain.  At least no one was chasing us away and hollering "What are you kids doing there?!"

An interesting note, other than when I was very young, there are no pictures in existence of just me and my father.  Something I had not noticed until I recently started going through my old pictures for posting to this blog.  Again, that tells you a lot about my relationship with my father.  Isaac didn't have a close relationship with his dad either.  Our youngest brother John was Pop's Pet.  He knew it and we knew it and he never let us forget it.

My brothers John and Isaac with Pop. Look at the body language.  John has the self satisfied smile of the Chosen Child and Isaac has the quizzical "Where do I fit into this picture?"  Of course I was my Mom's Favorite.  - 1959

Isaac W. Tipton, Jr. - 1957
Movie star handsome right?  James Dean had nothing on my brother Isaac in looks.  In high school Isaac developed into quite the handsome young man who made many a young girls' heart flutter.  However, Isaac was one of those guy who was unaware and unaffected by his natural good looks.  Perhaps he was preoccupied with keeping his equilibrium at home sandwiched in between his older and younger brother who took up most of his parent's attention.  

Isaac W. Tipton, Jr. - Army 1961 - Germany - Military Police

Isaac followed his big brother Ronald's example (that would be me) and joined the Army immediately after he left high school.  Isaac was stationed in Germany as an MP. Ironically I joined the Army to 'see the world' and I never got farther than Ft. Meade, Maryland. My youngest brother also joined the Army after high school and was also stationed in Germany.  Isaac tells a story that when he returned from service in Germany, the ship he was on had TWO OTHER ISAAC TIPTONS!  Now that I"m the family genealogist I wish he would have talked to them and found out what their ancestry was to our ancestors.  Small world indeed.

My brother John's wedding December 28, 1963 - that me to the left with my eyes closed and my handsome brother Isaac to my right

Isaac got married a few years later.  He had a small, informal wedding thus I have no wedding pictures.  However, his bride (Phyllis) was beautiful as Isaac was handsome.

Isaac Tipton, married and with family, including Isaac, III (in the cowboy outfit) 1970
Isaac sandwiched in again by his two bothers - notice that he still has that quizzical "Why am I still in the middle" look on his face - poor Isaac - stuck with THESE two brothers! - 1972

More tomorrow.

The Tipton Boys of Washington Avenue

120 Washington Avenue, Downingtown, PA July 2002. Our old apartment building stills standing

Our family lived here on the second floor front from 1948 to 1954. Our playground was the street out front or the railroad yard out back.

My brother Isaac now lives in the family house in Pennsylvania.  Our parents built that house in 1958. It is only a small ranch house (1,100 square feet) with one bathroom.  However, it was the first house our family ever lived in.  Before they built that house (for $14,000), we had always lived in second floor apartments.  I remember how much I used to envy my classmates when I walked to school in Downingtown (a town of 5,000), Pennsylvania.  They had a backyard to play in.  Me and my brothers played in the road, down by the railroad tracks or any other place where we weren't chased from.  More than once we heard "Hey!  You kids get out of there!"  or "Hey!  What are you kids doing there!?"  Thus, it was a real treat when we finally had our own house, and I had my own bedroom (being the oldest and all).  Alas, it was only to be a year for me because I graduated from high school in 1959 and after a stay in the hospital for six months (a subject of another blog posting), I joined the Army. And after three years in the Army I got out and moved into my own apartment until I met Bill.  

Me (the tall one in the middle) and my brother Isaac (on the far right) at 120 Washington Avenue with our friends - 1953 Billy Smith, Pee Wee Mack and Chubby Shores (he was my buddy). Those were the days - we had the best childhood us Townies.  This picture was taken in front of what is now the multi- glass windows in the top picture.

Here are more pictures from that era, the early Fifties when the Tipton Boys were the Terror of Washington Avenue.

Me and my brothers John and Isaac on the stoop of 120 Washington Avenue with our friends Johnny Johnson and Patty Robinson (I don't know who the little girl sitting on the steps in the far back is) - 1950

My brother Isaac riding his wagon on Washington Avenue 1948 (my father obviously took this pictures because he liked to get 'cute' with his angled pictures  which are just annoying now) - check out the vintage vehicles in the background - priceless.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Brother Isaac

Brothers Ronald and Isaac Tipton 1945

I have two brothers.  I am the oldest followed by my brother Isaac who is a year and a half younger than me.  Then there is my youngest brother John, who is 2 1/2 years younger than me.  

This is the first of several parts of a posting about my brother Isaac.  I was going to have one large post but my posts have gotten so big lately that I have decided to shorten my posts.  If I have more to say, then I will do additional posts.  

I am one of those very lucky children who has brothers.  I'll admit that growing up I wasn't too thrilled (at times) that I had brothers.  After all, I was the oldest and this 'heir to the crown' or crown prince so to speak.  Now that I have matured I have gotten over my selfishness and sibling rivalry and realize how fortunate I am to have two such brothers as I have.

Of course we all have totally different personalities.  We don't even look alike.  The older I get the more I look like my father (which upon first discovery somewhat disconcerted me because my father and I never had a close relationship but that is a subject for a different blog posting).  

My father's name was Isaac.  When I was born he wanted to name me Isaac, Jr.  My Mother was vehemently against that idea.  She said "You're not going to name any of our children that ugly name!"  So my father relented because Mom was the boss of our family, and I was named after Ronald Coleman, the movie actor popular at the time I was born (1941).  

When my brother was born a year and a half later, my father wanted to name him Isaac, Jr.  This time my Mother relented.  How ironic because my brother is so much like my father!  In fact, both of them were blonde (I have very dark brown hair, I take after my Mother.)  

Growing up we had the typical 'Oldest Child, Middle Child, Youngest Child' factor .  Being the oldest, I was the favorite of my Mother.  Yes, I was a "Mama's Boy."  I plead guilty.  Isaac, being the middle child, tended to get overlooked.  Our youngest brother, John, was my father's pet, which I greatly resented.  

Now that we are adults, I am very proud to state that we are all the best of friends.  Even though Isaac, John and I have differing political views and they are straight and I am gay, we are not only brothers, we are best friends.  In fact they are my BEST FRIENDS.  Know why? Because no matter what I say or do they will ALWAYS be my brothers and always have unconditional love for me and I will have for them.  

I love my brothers, especially Isaac.

Brothers Isaac and Ron Tipton March 13, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Old Hot Shots

I don't know what I was doing here, measuring the rain gutter? - 1955

On my blog roll recently I've noticed more than a few 'undie' shots.  There has even been requests for 'Monday Undie' shots from some of the blog readers.  I am a blog reader of these blogs.  Well, I'm not about to post an 'undie shot' at my age.  Not that I don't have the bod, I do.  I weigh the same (160) as I did when I graduated from high school 52 years ago.  Granted, some of the weight has shifted around a bit.  I now have a semi-roll around my waist that I never had before, that I can't seem to get rid of no matter how much I walk or exercise.  I think gravity is taking it's inevitable toll.

Me preparing for bed.  That's my brother Isaac in the bed already so it had to be my other brother John who took this picture, of which I was unaware until the flash went off
Pants on the floor - 1955

Well anyway, here is my 'undie shot' taken when I was about 14 years old.  My brothers and I all used to sleep in the same bed (which I hated with a passion and why I sleep alone now).  I don't know which one, but one of them grabbed my camera and took these shots which were considered very risque for the Fifties.  Scandalous.

Me and my brother Isaac watching the old Philco TV - good times - 1955

Caregiver Update

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