Friday, May 31, 2013

"How Well Do You Know Ron" - And the Winner is:

Me, being presented with the winnings of a 50-50 drawing at the Veterans Day Dinner in Millsboro, DE - 2005
This photo actually appeared in local newspaper! ($242 was my winnings)


All right, time is up folks!  I thank the Usual Suspects took the time to answer my little fun quiz about myself.  You all are my blogger base and I appreciate all of you and the time you took (and consideration) to venture your opinions about what makes me tick. I have highlighted my answers in blue.

  • Which Good Samaritan activity would I volunteer for?
    • Soup kitchen
    • Habitat for Humanity house building
    • Roadside litter pickup crew
    • Big brother to a fatherless little boy
  • What stupid daredevil stunt (that I haven't done already) would I do if given the opportunity?
    • Bungee jump
    • Ride white water rapids
    • Sky dive
    • Hot air balloon ride
  • What physical attributes are my type in a man that immediately catches my eye and makes me weak in the knees?
    • Medium height (5'10"), slim (140-170), dark hair, BEARDED, great butt, kind, masculine and intelligent
    • Short (5'4" to 5'7"), blonde, freckled, smooth shaved, no visible hair on body, smart ass
    • Nerd - any height, any weight (think Bill Gates and/or Mark Zuckerberg, bangs mandatory) 
    • Red-neck, bearded, skinny, missing a few teeth, dumb ass who drives a pick-up truck
  • My favorite snack is:
    • Doritos Blazing Chips
    • Orville Reddenbacher's Gourmet White Popcorn
    • Pumpkin Seeds
    • Zero candy bars
  • I had fifteen uncles.  How many of them were gay?
    • None
    • Three
    • Five
    • One
  • Which was my very first paying job?
    • Five years old - ran errands to the local corner grocery store for relatives
    • Ten years old - paperboy
    • Nine years old - mowing grass for neighbors
    • Fourteen years old - work in a meat market (real one, get your mind out of the gutter) on the weekends
  • Which was my very first date with a member of the opposite sex?
    • High school dance with my classmate Bonnie (and girl hockey player) who, at our 35th class reunion told me she was gay. No wonder there was no urge to "explore" on our first date
    • Drive-In movie double date with my friend Larry (he drove).  Vivian and I sat in the back immersed in our.......popcorn.
    • Carnival date with my neighbor and fellow classmate Mary Jane.  Her parents tried several subsequent efforts to "match" us.  Little did they know it was hopeless
    • Sunnybrook Ballroom double date with my friend Larry (again).  The Glenn Miller Orchestra (led by Ray McKinley) was playing.  I'm not sure who my date was but she took the picture of me, Lar and his date. Says something that I remember the band but not the date.
  • My astrological sign is:
    • Aires
    • Gemini
    • Taurus
    • Scorpio
  • My basic personality is:
    • Passive-Aggressive
    • Passive
    • Aggressive
    • Introvert - afraid of my own shadow
  • Occupation that I told my teachers I "wanted to be when I grew up" (which, technically really hasn't happened yet):
    • Fireman
    • Policeman
    • Fashion Designer
    • Welder
  • Food (entree) that I hated (gagged me) when I was a little kid (and I had them all):
    • Stuffed cabbage
    • Macaroni and cheese
    • Squirrel stew with dumplings
    • Fried fish eggs 
  • My natural born talent ( I do all well but one I can do unconscious):
    • Writing
    • Green thumb
    • Organizing
    • Cooking
  • The first time I ate at a real restaurant and not a diner (I've eaten in many a diner)(these are all restaurants that I have eaten at):
    • The Pub Restaurant, center city Philadelphia when I began working at Girard Bank - 1965
    • The unnamed Washington DC gay bar/restaurant that Bill took me too - 1965
    • Da Vinci's Italian Restaurant 17th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA that Bill took me too - 1965
    • Another unnamed restaurant in Toronto, Canada that Bill took me too - 1965
  • Which award did I NOT win?
    • Best Typist in my high school graduating class - 1959
    • Soldier of the Month, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland - 1962
    • Hilton Hotels President's Award for Best Guest Service Representative - 2000
    • Most Improved Shop Student (high school) - 1958
  • Which is a standard American idiom phrase that I DO NOT USE?
    • "I wouldn't know."
    • "Really?"
    • "Sez who?"
    • "How about that?"
  • The age that I knew I was "different" (gay):
    • Twelve
    • Fifteen
    • Eighteen
    • Four
  • Favorite fruit:
    • Apple
    • Banana
    • Peach
    • Tom Cruise
  • My first homoerotic movie star crush:
    • Farley Granger
    • Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon)
    • Kirk Alyn (Superman - movie serials)
    • Guy Madison (Will Bill Hickok)
  • The only movie actress that made me question (however momentarily) my sexuality:
    • Joan Bennett
    • Hedy Lamarr
    • June Alyson
    • Gloria DeHaven
  • The comedian I never "got":
    • Lenny Bruce
    • W. C. Fields
    • Charlie Chaplin
    • George Carlin
  • Favorite subject in school:
    • History
    • Math
    • English
    • Science
  • Favorite household chore:
    • Vacuuming
    • Dusting
    • Ironing
    • Painting
  • What trip would I like to take before I die?
    • Visit Australia and New Zealand and pick up that accent
    • Road trip through British Isles and take a million pictures
    • Visit Spain and see bullfights
    • Visit Rio De Janeiro and learn Portugese
  • Second favorite place to retire:
    • San Francisco, California
    • Seattle, Washington
    • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Best thing about getting old:
    • Have enough money
    • Wisdom and knowledge accumulated
    • Don't have to work every day
    • Things that I used to think were important, aren't anymore
And the winner is (TA TA!):

Slugmamma - 16

The following loyal "Retired in Delaware" blog followers came in close:




Slugmamma doesn't want the first prize which is a stunning photo of me nude on the beach at Herring Cove, Provincetown, Mass taken back "in the day."  Good choice to forgo that "prize" Slug. But you do have my undying admiration for knowing me so well.  Thank you!


So here are some further explanations why some of the picks were wrong:

My "type" is a "medium, etc" but for some reason that skinny, missing teeth, wise ass redneck in a pickup truck always gets my attention both at the "top" (head) and "bottom" (easy to figure out).  I wish it wasn't so but it is.  I should be ashamed (Bill's calls them my "trash picks") but there it is.  Hormones folks, hormones.

I don't volunteer for anything except roadside pickup crews.  I've done it and I love it.  I'll leave the other volunteering up to others.  All good work.




Housesitting - 2005


One comedian I never "got" was Charlie Chaplin.  I always felt like he was being force fed down my throat with "He IS funny!"  No he's not.  In fact, every time I've seen him and that stupid strut, I get angry.  To be he "comedy" was one of the biggest scams ever perpetuated on the American and world.  My favorite all time comedian is and always will be W.C. Fields.  Now there was a master.

Favorite household chore?  I HATE painting.  HATE IT!  However, I love ironing.  Can't explain why, but ironing two dozen shirts is very soothing and zen like for me.  Vacuuming is all right but my back can't take too much of that activity these days.

My first homoerotic movie star crush?  I am embarrassed to admit it was that big queen Farley Granger.  Oh I remember the first time I saw him in a movie with Shelley Winters.  I think I was about ten years old.  I saw those lips and deep brown liquid eyes and fell in lust swoon immediately.  Then years later I saw him on a soap opera and realized he was nothing but a New York phony baloney queen.  Then he comes out with a "biography" which he blurs the line of his sexuality.  Oh give me a break.  And to think this man once took my breath away. Oh Ron, so young and so foolish.

Yep!  I was four years old when I knew I was "different".  Of course I didn't know what "gay" was at that time (1946) but I DID know I was "different."  I knew my age because it was before I started first grade at five years old.  And I've been "different" ever since.  I've never had any self doubts about my sexuality, unlike a lot of bloggers I see on the Internet who just "realized" they are gay after getting married and having a family.  How does that happen? No snark here, just stating a fact and my disbelief.


My friend Ed - also gay since birth


Everybody got the right answer on the one award I didn't get.  Want to know something folks? That is the one award I wanted so bad.  Of course I was a terrible shop student but I worked so hard to improve and I did.  When the time came to announce the winner at the high school assembly I was sure I would win. I can still feel the pang of intense disappointment when someone else's name was called out.  What made it even worse was that the person whose name was called out was an all right shop student both years!  That was the first time in my life that I realized that sometimes people win awards based on popularity and who they knew.  This kid was very popular, I wasn't.  His parents were on the school board, mine weren't.  Yep, this was my first experience with "Life isn't always fair."  However, I made up for it later in my life awards weren't based on popularity but results of hard work.  

Food that made me gag?  Oh my God!  Stuffed cabbage.  Funny thing, now I like it.  But oh how I hated it when I was growing up and my Mom used to force me to eat that garbage and that's just what it smelled like when she cooked it in her pressure cooker, Cook Garbage.  Apparently it was my Mom's recipe I didn't like because I've made stuffed cabbage when I got my own home and I like it.  Squirrel stew with dumplings?  Actually it wasn't bad except for the buckshot.  Don't want to crack a tooth biting down on one of those pellets.

What did I want to be when I grew up?  Oh yes, a fashion designer.  Of course everyone discouraged me but how I wanted to be the next Adrian who designed movie star gowns. I had my plans to go to art school after I graduated but those plans when to Hell in a hand basket after I joined the Army and my life took a whole different route.

Well, I've gone on a long time in this posting so I will wrap it up with the answer to the last question.  "Best thing about getting old?"  Folks, nothing bothers me any more, nothing.  I wish I could say I could get worked up over the usual subjects but I just can't.  Maybe it has to do with my prostate cancer diagnosis or maybe it has to do with knowing that I don't have decades of life left to me.  All I know is that I feel a rather pleasant sense of freedom knowing that I just don't care.  Not that I DON'T CARE, but you understand what I'm saying.  Someone doesn't like me or slights me?  So what?  I really can't get up the energy to get upset.  Even the issues of the day like politics.  I used to really get worked up over the constant negativity.  I DON'T CARE.  Probably a terrible thing to say, but I JUST DON'T CARE.

That's not to say I don't care about anything. I care about having enough money to stay in my home and continue to enjoy my reasonably comfortable life.  I care enough to continue to have friends both personal and on the Internet.  I care enough to want my good health to continue.  But you know what?  If I lost a friend tomorrow, so what?  If my health goes tomorrow, so what?  I've lived a long and good life and have a lot to be thankful for.  Now if I lose the security of my home and way of living, now that's another whole subject.  Maybe I do care about some things.  I care about friends who want to be friends with me.


Me with my friend Renee - FFB - 2005

Well, as Pork Pig used to say at the end of all those Warner Brother's cartoons:

"That's All Folks!"  





Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Well Do You Know Ron?

My closet in our Pennsylvania house


Time for a "fun" blog posting.  It has been awhile since I posted a quiz/test blog so for all of you who like this kind of whimsy, here is your challenge today:  

I am posing four questions, all with truthful answers (non made up).  Choose the answer which you think best suits my personality.  The first place winner will receive an autographed picture of me sprawled nude on a beach in Provincetown, Mass (taken when I was much younger and still had an intact bod).  Second place will receive a one way plane ticket to Midland, Texas to visit the new George W. Bush Library.  

Ready?  Fasten your seat belts and suspend your belief because here we go with the "I can't believe this crap" life of Ron:


  • Which Good Samaritan activity would I volunteer for?
    • Soup kitchen
    • Habitat for Humanity house building
    • Roadside litter pickup crew
    • Big brother to a fatherless little boy
  • What stupid daredevil stunt (that I haven't done already) would I do if given the opportunity?
    • Bungee jump
    • Ride white water rapids
    • Sky dive
    • Hot air balloon ride
  • What physical attributes are my type in a man that immediately catches my eye and makes me weak in the knees?
    • Medium height (5'10"), slim (140-170), dark hair, BEARDED, great butt, kind, masculine and intelligent
    • Short (5'4" to 5'7"), blonde, freckled, smooth shaved, no visible hair on body, smart ass
    • Nerd - any height, any weight (think Bill Gates and/or Mark Zuckerberg, bangs mandatory) 
    • Red-neck, bearded, skinny, missing a few teeth, dumb ass who drives a pick-up truck
  • My favorite snack is:
    • Doritos Blazing Chips
    • Orville Reddenbacher's Gourmet White Popcorn
    • Pumpkin Seeds
    • Zero candy bars
  • I had fifteen uncles.  How many of them were gay?
    • None
    • Three
    • Five
    • One
  • Which was my very first paying job?
    • Five years old - ran errands to the local corner grocery store for relatives
    • Ten years old - paperboy
    • Nine years old - mowing grass for neighbors
    • Fourteen years old - work in a meat market (real one, get your mind out of the gutter) on the weekends
  • Which was my very first date with a member of the opposite sex?
    • High school dance with my classmate Bonnie (and girl hockey player) who, at our 35th class reunion told me she was gay. No wonder there was no urge to "explore" on our first date
    • Drive-In movie double date with my friend Larry (he drove).  Vivian and I sat in the back immersed in our.......popcorn.
    • Carnival date with my neighbor and fellow classmate Mary Jane.  Her parents tried several subsequent efforts to "match" us.  Little did they know it was hopeless
    • Sunnybrook Ballroom double date with my friend Larry (again).  The Glenn Miller Orchestra (led by Ray McKinley) was playing.  I'm not sure who my date was but she took the picture of me, Lar and his date. Says something that I remember the band but not the date.
  • My astrological sign is:
    • Aires
    • Gemini
    • Taurus
    • Scorpio
  • My basic personality is:
    • Passive-Aggressive
    • Passive
    • Aggressive
    • Introvert - afraid of my own shadow
  • Occupation that I told my teachers I "wanted to be when I grew up" (which, technically really hasn't happened yet):
    • Fireman
    • Policeman
    • Fashion Designer
    • Welder
  • Food (entree) that I hated (gagged me) when I was a little kid (and I had them all):
    • Stuffed cabbage
    • Macaroni and cheese
    • Squirrel stew with dumplings
    • Fried fish eggs 
  • My natural born talent ( I do all well but one I can do unconscious):
    • Writing
    • Green thumb
    • Organizing
    • Cooking
  • The first time I ate at a real restaurant and not a diner (I've eaten in many a diner)(these are all restaurants that I have eaten at):
    • The Pub Restaurant, center city Philadelphia when I began working at Girard Bank - 1965
    • The unnamed Washington DC gay bar/restaurant that Bill took me too - 1965
    • Da Vinci's Italian Restaurant 17th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA that Bill took me too - 1965
    • Another unnamed restaurant in Toronto, Canada that Bill took me too - 1965
  • Which award did I NOT win?
    • Best Typist in my high school graduating class - 1959
    • Soldier of the Month, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland - 1962
    • Hilton Hotels President's Award for Best Guest Service Representative - 2000
    • Most Improved Shop Student (high school) - 1958
  • Which is a standard American idiom phrase that I DO NOT USE?
    • "I wouldn't know."
    • "Really?"
    • "Sez who?"
    • "How about that?"
  • The age that I knew I was "different" (gay):
    • Twelve
    • Fifteen
    • Eighteen
    • Four
  • Favorite fruit:
    • Apple
    • Banana
    • Peach
    • Tom Cruise
  • My first homoerotic movie star crush:
    • Farley Granger
    • Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon)
    • Kirk Alyn (Superman - movie serials)
    • Guy Madison (Will Bill Hickok)
  • The only movie actress that made me question (however momentarily) my sexuality:
    • Joan Bennett
    • Hedy Lamarr
    • June Alyson
    • Gloria DeHaven
  • The comedian I never "got":
    • Lenny Bruce
    • W. C. Fields
    • Charlie Chaplin
    • George Carlin
  • Favorite subject in school:
    • History
    • Math
    • English
    • Science
  • Favorite household chore:
    • Vacuuming
    • Dusting
    • Ironing
    • Painting
  • What trip would I like to take before I die?
    • Visit Australia and New Zealand and pick up that accent
    • Road trip through British Isles and take a million pictures
    • Visit Spain and see bullfights
    • Visit Rio De Janeiro and learn Portugese
  • Second favorite place to retire:
    • San Francisco, California
    • Seattle, Washington
    • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Best thing about getting old:
    • Have enough money
    • Wisdom and knowledge accumulated
    • Don't have to work every day
    • Things that I used to think were important, aren't anymore
So this is my list of twenty-five questions about me and my personality.  Remember, no two of us are alike and there is certainly no one like me.  When I was younger I used to think I was really screwed up but the older I get I have realized that I'm no more screwed up than anyone else and, in fact, I have more of my crap together than many.  And folks, that really makes me feel good.

Have a great day~

Me faking changing a tire on Skyline Drive - 1965 - me an Bill's first Road Trip 





Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bloggerama I - The Movie

Well folks, I finally did it.  I put together Mark's great photos and produced an iMovie of the Bloggerama.  I worked all day on this movie.  I am exhausted.  Wiped out.  I'm "movied" out.  

Many, many thanks to Mark of "Our Simple Lives..." for his outstanding, mood capturing photographs.  


Mark - friend and photographer extraordinaire 


Enjoy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ron and Lar in Rehoboth Beach 2012



Coming up on another year when I treat my longtime friend Lar to a lunch and old time photo in Rehoboth Beach.  


When Lar and I met, 3rd grade 1951 - Larry is in the third row in the back, second from the left (right in front of our teacher Miss Ezrah) - I am in the third row in the back far right next to Margaret West, the tall girl with the braided hair
Larry met me in third grade after he called me out to our teacher Miss Ezrah on plagiarizing a book report from a Scrooge McDuck comic book story.  What did I know?  After class he saw me on the playground and thought I was going to poke him in the nose.  Instead I said "You have comic books to trade?"  I don't remember this incident but it sounds like me, the Opportunist.


Larry and I with our third grade teacher in 2004 - she was 98 years old and still remembered us!

  Lar made this iMovie of a video we both took last year celebrating his 70th birthday.  


Larry (far left), his date Pam and me (far right) 1959 - this was when I was at my heaviest 200 lbs

By the way, you'll notice that I'm trying to agitate Lar.  After 60 plus years, he is immune to my agitating.  I keep trying though.  


Larry and I at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach 2011


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sonia's Birthday Party

Sonia and George - 1958

I haven't been to many birthday parties in my lifetime.  The first one I can remember was when I was about five of six years old.  I was either in first or second grade.  The party was for a classmate of mine named Duer Smedley.  Of course I have no pictures of that party but the two things I remember clearly.  There were a lot of kids there and we played "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"
which I remember as being great fun.  


Me at the time of my first party - 1948

The next birthday party I can remember going to was for my longtime friend Larry.  It was his 16th birthday party.  I was 16 also and I took a date.  Her name was "Patty".  I won't mention her last name because we are still friends (class reunions) and I don't want to embarrass her. The two things I remember about his birthday party was that I had a date, Patty.  I didn't have a car.  I think Larry picked up us, I'm not sure (I am sure he will correct me though once he reads this blog posting).  The other thing I remember is that she left with Charlie Crouse:
our new classmate (transferred from another school) and who was the Hottie of the Moment (which I obviously wasn't). Oh I remember how mortified and embarrassed I was.  Not only did I have to have somebody drive me and my date to the party but my date left with someone else!  Oh the shame. He had his own car too which I think had a lot to do with Patty's decision to leave with Charlie.  Maybe not.  


My longtime friend Ed (who I just had dinner with tonight) and Walter - 1958

The next birthday party I can remember was Sonia's birthday party.  This was about the time of my graduation, 1959.  The party was in Sonia's basement.  As you know I love basements.  I also didn't have a car for this party either.  A friend (very good friend who I was very attracted to) picked me up.  That's probably why I went to the party.  I won't mention his name (because he sometimes reads this blog and I wouldn't want to embarrass him but all I can say is that he has the same name as my soon to be husband.)  I think I had a date to this party, it was Sonia's good friend Jeanette.  Jeanette was a very nice girl but she wasn't the reason I wanted to go to the party.  



Jeanette and me at my Senior Prom 1959

Sonia the Matchmaker tried but this didn't work
Jeanette later married a guy named Stanford Dunk and have a slew of kids - good for her and Standford and GOOD FOR ME!

This is one of the first times I took my camera along and made a pain out of myself by taking pictures.  Oh how I wish I had taken more pictures from the years past.  But I didn't but the few I have I am glad to share them with you now.  


The Object of my Attention (boy far right) and my date Jeanette (second from left) Notice how I snuck a picture of my fantasy?  Coincidentally his date was my cousin - small world - 1958
Sonia fell off her chair and I snapped this picture.  Notice how I again got the Object of my Attention in the picture.



Of course I was right on the spot and snapped this picture as Sonia was being rescued by the Object of My Attention.  Don't I wish this was a video?


The party winds down and Nancy, my friend Ed's sister and her boyfriend Dallet (first and last time I ever heard that name) relax - 1958 - you can see that even at the young and inexperienced age of 16 I had an eye for composition - 1958
Me- graduation DHS 1959
My Senior Prom - 1959


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blogger Friend Visit

Sean and Jeffrey

Every now and then I get to meet one of my blogger friends in person.  Today was such a day.  Sean and his husband Jeffrey were visiting another fellow blogger this weekend and stopped by for a visit this afternoon.  

Sean and Jeffrey met the elusive and reclusive 
"Bill", my longtime partner and husband to be (this July)!  Bill loved them, as I knew he would.  

While Sean and Jeffrey were here another hot blogger friend of ours called me on FaceTime.  That hottie was (and still is) Dr. Spo of hot Phoenix, Arizona.  


Dr. Spam Spo

After chatting with Bill we all took off to Rehoboth Beach to drop in on another fellow blogger, The Cajun.  Of course he was DELIGHTED to see us.  

Prior to "dropping in" on the Cajun, we had to find a parking place.  Rehoboth Beach has new parking meters that you pay by credit card.  It was a pleasure watching these two (Sean and Jeffrey) figure out how to coordinate their credit card with the parking meters.  Great minds indeed.  Young mind actually.  I can just imagine Bill and I trying to figure out the new parking system.


 
After we (they) got the parking situation figured out (two hour's worth folks, "only" $17.00) we took a stroll on the boardwalk.  What a pleasure that was for ALL of us.  I don't usually (actually never) go on the boardwalk during the season but since Jeffrey graciously offered to drive, I went.  The "pleasure" of walking the boardwalk was see all the eye candy.  When I do go to the boardwalk in the summer it is usually very early in the morning and all I usually see are seat soaked, older, wiry lesbians runners.  All nice ladies I'm sure but not really eye candy for this gay guy if you know what I mean.  Just saying.

New York hotties on the Rehoboth Boardwalk 
 We go past the Old Time Photo but decide not to stop in at this time.  Time was running short and we did want to see The Cajun and perhaps have lunch, a daunting expectation given that this is Memorial Day Weekend.  


The Cajun at his station - this is not a Sit Down Job

We arrive at Dos Locos where The Cajun is the gracious, efficient and hot host with the most.  Man was he busy.  I got tired the few seconds I took this video.

We asked for a table for three. Believe it or not, as busy as they were, we got our table in under ten minutes! I have to say I was very impressed, VERY.

We ordered (hamburger for me of course which was DEE-LICIOUS), a California Wrap for Jeffrey and I don't know what for Sean.  Oh, I also had a frozen lime margarita.  Oh my, do I ever love my margaritas.  It only takes one to get me a buzz on and I got one.  Thank goodness Jeffrey was driving.  

After we ate and left the darkened environs of Dos Locos, and walked out into the bright sunlight of Rehoboth Avenue I felt like I just underwent an eye examination and my eyes were dilated.  Yep, Ron was tipsy.  Shame no one was around to take advantage of my vulnerable state.  Oh well.  




Friday, May 24, 2013

The Old Dog

September 1985 - me, Baby Doll, T and Horace - posing for our annual Christmas card photo

As regular readers of this blog know, I am fond of posting old family photos.  By old, I mean the 40's and 50's.  I think I have just about exhausted posting those photos so now I have moved up to my next surge of photo taking, which occurred in the 80's, when I was in my 40's.  Poet and don't know it.

Here are some photos that I took (which can now be considered family photos since they are almost 40 years old) during one of my annual photo shoots with our dogs.  Back in the early 80's, when I first acquired Horace, my male Pomeranian dog, I had a Christmas card photo produced to share with friends and family.  That Christmas card was so popular that I began to take annual Christmas card photo shoots even though it cost me over $1,000 each time.  Back in that day I had a good paying job with a major Philadelphia bank and I could afford such frivolities.....and I did.


Explaining to Horace what we're about to do - he was okay with it

Fast forward to today.  No dogs, no good paying job, no Christmas card photos with our dogs.  


"Ready for our closeup Mr. DeMille!"

Some say we shouldn't "live in the past."  I don't consider looking at and sharing these photos as "living in the past."  I consider them memories of a different time.  A happy time but a different time.  Sometimes I feel the need to get another "little buddy" like Horace but I then realize that my little buddy will probably outlive me.  Besides, Bill wouldn't permit another pet in our house.  The loss is too great.  

So here are some of my photos from the 80's which I have now classified as "old family photos."  Enjoy.  You will be seeing more of them in future blog postings.


"We're ready!"  You think herding cats is hard.  Try and get three Pomeranians to sit still on wicker baskets for a photo shoot.

Casa Tipton-Kelly

Home here today friends, in the land state of the free and brave where marriage equality is a reality.  Not for us some backward southern or western state (and even some northern states, hear that Pennsylvania and New Jersey?) that continue to discriminate against same sex couples entering into the committed and loving relationship called marriage.

Here are a couple of short videos I took last week of the grounds here around Casa Tipton-Kelly (our home) here in Sussex County, Delaware.  Even though all five of our state legislators voted against marriage equality for same sex couples, we gay folk here in Sussex County live in perhaps one of the most open minded and accepting communities in the United States.  Even though Sussex County Delaware had the fourth largest gay population of couples, we can now get married in spite of all five of our state legislators who continue to myopically vote against us for full equality.

I meant for this blog posting to be all light and airy to offset my mean-spirited previous blog posting about why I don't watch "American Idol" anymore, but I just drifted into bringing to everyone's attention that the battle isn't totally won.  Hopefully the day will come when our local politicians recognize and affirm that they represent ALL of their constituents, including the LGBT community.  

Last week I wrote a letter to our local newspaper bringing to everyone's attention that both of my elected representatives at the Delaware State legislature didn't even have the common courtesy to answer or even acknowledge two hand written letters that I sent to them asking for their support of the Marriage Equality bill in Delaware.  I don't have a big problem with them disagreeing with me (actually I do) but at least they could acknowledge my letters.  To not do so only confirms my concern that they still view me as "less than."  I even invited both of them to our upcoming wedding.  We need two witnesses.  This is their opportunity to redeem themselves.  Think they will take the offer?


Last July on a late Saturday afternoon I heard my doorbell ring.  I answered the door and there stood an earnest and pleasant looking young man.  He introduced himself as Stephen Smyk and said he was a former state trooper and he was campaigning for my district’s seat in the Delaware House of Representatives.  He said he was the candidate representing “family values”  and asked for my support in the upcoming election. Of course, I as a gay man recognized this red flag statement of “family values”  as “I am the candidate of the straight people who will keep ‘the gays’ from taking over.”  I stated to Mr. Smyk “I’m gay, does that include me?”  Mr. Smyk’s smile disappeared and he was momentarily was thrown off his script. He probably thought I was straight because I live in a predominately straight development just outside Lewes.  Mr. Smyk then did his best Jackie Gleason imitation of “Hum ah hum ah humm hummm…….”  I forget the exact words he used in his response to my question but I do remember I felt sorry for him because I obviously threw him off balance during his campaign swing through what he obviously thought was a 100% straight neighborhood. 

Last month Governor Markell introduced HB75 for marriage equality in the State of Delaware.   I was asked to testify in favor of marriage equality.  My partner Bill Kelly and I have been together since July 3rd, 1964  This July we will celebrate 49 years together.  Like Mr. Smyk, both Bill and I are veterans.  I am a veteran of the U.S. Army (three years) and Bill is also a veteran of the U.S. Army (over four years) and the U.S. Air Force (another four years). 

I was also asked to write letters to both my representatives, Mr. Smyk and Mr. Lopez (Senator Ernie Lopez who I haven’t met).  I was asked to hand write the letters because I was told a hand written letter would be more effective in receiving a response.  I wrote a total of two letters to both Representative Smyk and Senator Lopez.

Much to my surprise and disappointment, neither Mr. Smyk or Mr. Lopez considered me, as a gay man and a veteran, worthy of a response to any my personal letters to them requesting that they support HB75.

Representative Smyk and Senator Lopez represent the largest concentration of gay and lesbian couples in the state of Delaware.  That both of them voted against the marriage equality bill (HB75) says a lot about their concern and commitment to a significant part of their electorate.  And that both of my elected representatives ignored my letters also tells me that they do not consider me worthy of a response.  I’ve heard the excuses that they were “overwhelmed.”  I don’t buy it.  I have always received a response from any Delaware state elected official that I have written too.  Always.  I have always received responses from my elected representatives when I lived in Pennsylvania even though they were Republican and disagreed with me.  They always gave me the respect that I was due as  their constituent.    

I urge my gay and straight fellow citizens who believe all citizens if Delaware should have the ability to get married and thus has the dignity and protections accorded to other Americans to remember that Representative Smyk and Senator Lopez voted against equality the next time they are at the ballot box.  To remember that Representative Smyk and Senator Lopez do not value all of their constituents equally.  To remember that both of these elected representatives, by their “no” vote for marriage equality, view some of their constituents as “less than.”

Vote for a representative and senator who values ALL families.   Vote for a representative and senator who at least have the common courtesy to respond to a constituent’s handwritten letter, even if they do disagree with that constituent. 

I’ve been on this earth for 71 years.  For too many of those years I have been disrespected, humiliated, discriminated against and been threatened with physical violence just because I chose to live my life as an openly gay man.  I moved to Delaware for my retirement in November of 2006 because of its gay friendly reputation.  I did not want to live out my retirement years in a community where I was viewed and treated “less than.”  Bill and I have found Delaware and our predominately straight neighborhood friendly and accepting of us regardless of whether we were gay or not.  Thus was a rude awakening and very disappointing to discover that both of our elected officials in the Delaware state government do not represent us, and our “family values”.

Bill and I have been in a loving and committed relationship for almost 49 years.  We will be married on our 49th anniversary this July 3rd in our back yard.  And hear this Representative Smyk and Senator Lopez, our family values are just a legitimate as yours.  It’s not too late to accord us the proper respect to which we are due by acknowledging our existence.  I invite both of you to our wedding.  We need two witnesses.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

American Idol

Simon Cowell

This is an open letter to the producers of "American Idol."  

I've tried folks, I've really tried to keep my blog postings positive and upbeat but after reading how the ratings of "American Idol" have plummeted 20% this season, I feel it is now time to put my two cents in the Reasons Why.


The judges (?) on "American Idol"

Three years ago when Simon Cowell announced that he was leaving "American Idol" my first thought was "there goes the show."  Hey folks, I'm not one of these hot shot program experts but I do what made "American Idol" work and that was Simon's honest if sometimes caustic comments about and to the contestants.  Say what you want about Simon, you all know he always told the truth.  I wasn't one of those lily-livered panty waists who got all offended when Simon delivered one of his no frills criticisms of a performance.  Bill wouldn't even watch "American Idol."  He said "Oh, he's so mean."  Oh give me a break.  


Randy "Dawg" Jackson, Paula and Simon - these judges were the magic that made "American Idol" notwithstanding Simon's choice of  D├ęcolletage revealing sweaters

Does everything in life have to be Goody Two Shoes?  Do ALL the kids in school have to win first place?  Here's a bulletin folks, there are losers among us.  Not everyone is a winner.  All this namby-pamby "She (or he) is SO nice and trying SO hard", we have to say something nice.  Here's another clue folks, there are a--holes among us who think they have talent.  One of my guilty and no so secret pleasures was to watch one of these "Daddy's girl" have the TRUTH delivered to them - "you got no talent honey, go home."


Paula Abdul


I knew the "American Idol" magic was gone when Paula Abdul left the show over a salary dispute.  I don't know exactly what she was getting but whatever it was, she was worth it.  Sure, she almost always gave the same criticisms (never bad) but the chemistry between her and Simon was another factor that made AI so watchable.  


Ellen Degeneres

So what did the AI producers do when Paula left the show?  They hire someone at five times the salary who has NO chemistry.  They hired Ellen Degeneres.  WTF?  Hey, I like...I LOVE Ellen but hiring Ellen as a judge?  Ellen cries over puppies that aren't adopted at the animal shelter.  Ellen is going to deliver a stinging criticism of some no talent?  Hardly.  Of course it came as no surprise to many that Ellen stay was a snooze fest (she was boring) and she was soon replaced.


Jen and her "talent"


So who do the brainiacs at AI replace Ellen with?  JENNY FROM THE BLOCK!  Are you kidding?  I couldn't believe it.  Jennifer Lopez, she of the super annoying, insincere giggle and the BIG ASS.  Jo-Lo, queen of the divas.  Jennifer Lopez, just what is it that she does that is so special?  And I think they paid her something like 15 mil?  For God's sake.  Of course Miss Nasal Jenny From The Block was another BORING snooze fest.  


Steven Tyler (lovely)

Next up is something called Steven Tyler.  I never got this "musician."  Call me an Old Out Of Touch Fogey, but what is a Steven Tyler?  Again, the AI producers paid this (whatever it is) BIG BUCKS for the audience to see this over age rocker hit on the young chickee contestants.  


Mariah Carey 

Now this season we have Mariah Carey and Nikki Minaj. Mariah Carey?  Mariah Carey makes Jo-Lo look good!  Mariah Carey, the dumb ass who once said she admired the starving people of Africa because they were so "thin."  Here is Mariah's quote exactly folks:

 Mariah Carey: "Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."

You just can't make this stuff up. OH MY GOD.

Once I heard that Simon wasn't going to be on AI, I stopped watching.  Then when I heard who was coming on I KNEW I wasn't going to be watching "American Idol."  I'm going to take time out of my day to watch self-absorbed fools like Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and Steven Tyler?  Here's my question to the brain challenged producers of AI, just what demographic are you looking for by hiring these clueless, self-absorbed airheads?  


Nikki Minaj (send in the clowns)

So here is my suggestion to the folks who produce "American Idol", stopped going after the phony celebs and hire real people as judges.  Sure they can be celebrities but they don't have to be singers.  In fact, I think singers should be disqualified because they are so narcissistic and hung up on themselves they could never give an honest opinion. Can you imagine the AI producers hiring Barry Manilow, Kid Rock or (God help us) Celine Dion as judges?  Hey, don't put it past them to do something stupid like that while they're in the death throes of "American Idol" becoming irrelevant.