Thursday, December 30, 2010

... the spring, the summer, The chilling autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries; and the mazed world By their increase, now knows not which is which.



A local newscast is using a reworded version of the holiday song “It’s A Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” to tout their weather team. (Keep in mind, we’ve just come thru a rough snow storm that shut down all sorts of transportation the day after Christmas.)



My reaction the first time I heard this was “Really—that’s what you’re going with?”


Then it hit me: extreme weather is like crack for forecasters. They love this stuff. The more horrendous it is, the better. (Remember Al Roker getting blown over while reporting out in a hurricane?)


During the recent storm that basically crippled most of the Northeastern part of the country, the newscasts (both national and local) had reporters out and about throughout the storm. We’ve all seen those spots: “This is So&So reporting to you live from [insert name of roadway/community]. I’ve got my yardstick here to measure how high the snow is….” The weather folks are as happy as pigs in you-know-what.

[I do have to admit to wanting to smack some of the people who get stranded for hours on end on a snow covered highway. Didn’t you check the forecast before you left? Wasn’t there some moment early on in the journey when you realized that turning around was your best option?]

It always cracks me up when they have the forecasters reporting in the midst of gale force winds and torrential downpours. I mean, we really don’t need these guys risking life and limb—we get it, it’s bad out there.


On Monday, a network reporter was broadcasting from runway 3 at Boston’s Logan airport… “This is the only runway they’ve been able to keep open during this storm…” Well then get the hell out of the middle of it dillweed. Sheesh.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The glass of fashion and the mould of form ~ Hamlet

Today was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day at my work…..   I don’t own one—and I wasn’t about to purchase one for the day.     I just enjoyed the “scenery.”       Here are some goodies I found online:

 the detail on these are intense....someone had way too much time on their hands.



oh... where to begin....


I have no idea what meds he's on.



But Colin "Be Still My Heart" Firth somehow manages to pull this off.


HO, HO, HO Everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't! ~ The Tempest

Okay—so FINALLY Congress voted to repeal DADT. In spite of John McCain’s objections and stalling. And President Obama signed the bill today.


But, there are still hurdles ahead for gays in the military and Marriage Equality is still not a reality.

Why?!

I mean, it’s not like gay people are a new phenomenon. They’ve been around forever people. Such historic figures as Alexander the Great and Richard the Lionhearted were gay. So that proves sexuality does not determine your ability to be an effective fighter/leader.

Then there’s Hadrian, Emperor of Rome. [Actually, historians have found that all of the Emperors—with the exception of Claudius—had male lovers]. Socrates, the great philosopher.

Homosexual and transgender individuals were also common among other pre-conquest civilizations in Latin America, such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Quechuas, Moches, Zapotecs, and the Tupinamb√° of Brazil. And there are numerous accounts of gay relationships among Native Americans.

Then there’s more recent British monarchs: The relationships of socially prominent figures, such as King James I and the Duke of Buckingham had many rumors about them, including in anonymously authored street pamphlets: "The world is chang'd I know not how, For men Kiss Men, not Women now;...Of J. the First and Buckingham: He, true it is, his Wives Embraces fled, To slabber his lov'd Ganimede" (Mundus Foppensis, or The Fop Display'd, 1691).



Pictured above are my brother, the taller one on the right, and my brother-in-law. They have been together for close to 37 years—and yet they are not legally recognized as a married couple. Half of all marriages end in divorce now (Larry King is on divorce # 5), Liz Taylor may marry for the 9th time, numerous “family value” politicians (usually Republicans) are getting caught with mistresses….. But my brother, his partner and the half a dozen couples like them that I know are considered a threat to the “sanctity” of marriage. Seriously?


Let’s face it folks, it ain’t new—and it ain’t going away.

Monday, December 20, 2010

At Christmas I no more desire a rose Than wish a snow in May's new fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows.

Well—tis the season….



To be stressed beyond belief. Only five days to get all gifts bought and wrapped, last minute decorations up, parties attended and Christmas dinner purchased and prepared. OY!


And if your family is anything like mine, the gifts will be unwrapped in about 10 minutes and dinner will be eaten in 20. So what do we kill ourselves for?


Here are some Holiday de-stressors:

And finally:


Sunday, December 12, 2010

They say, best men are moulded out of faults, And, for the most, become much more the better For being a little bad. ~ Measure for Measure. Act v. Sc. 1.


I’ve been trying to examine my faults in my quiet moments.     Not an easy thing to do.

One thing I’ve discovered is I like to do things my way—and I tend to think that’s the best approach most of the time.     I think I can blame my mother for this one   (doesn’t everyone?)

My mother raised us by three sayings:

          Do Unto others as you would have them do unto you.
          If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

And
          Have the courage of your convictions.

Okay, I think I’ve done very well on the first one.   I try really hard to treat everyone equally.    I generally get along with most people and I’m usually pleasant to be around.

Score one for me.

As for number two—that one has been a lot harder for me.     Some people are just begging to be mocked…… I mean, have you seen People of WalMart.com????       It was our main amusement during the down moments at the theatre to riff on assorted celebs and crazy-ass patrons.     We were getting paid crap wages, we had to have something. 

And when you’re in the kind of work where you deal with the public on a regular basis—as I have done with all of my many jobs—it is necessary to have the time to go off some place and, basically, rip the douche bag you’ve just waited on a new one.

It’s cleansing.

It’s cathartic.

So maybe I get a pass on some of those?     Maybe?   (It is Christmas time.)

Now—the third one.

That’s the one that tended to get us in tough situations—and the one that came back to bite my parents in the ass the most.     Of course, my mother set the tone by having the courage of her convictions to not be the kind of cookie-cutter mother that was expected at the time she was having children.     And she has continued to do that by re-inventing herself about 4 times.     Most recently, she came clear across the country to move into a place sight unseen and live in close quarters with her adult daughter.

My eldest brother had the courage of his convictions when he refused to fight in the Vietnam War.    And he paid a dear price for it too.   (See this post and this one.)

Brother #2 has had the courage of his convictions to live as an out gay man his entire adult life—since pre-Stonewall days, I think.

I guess you could say I had the courage of my convictions when I moved in with my boyfriend without benefit of marriage in 1972.

So, you see there were precedents.    

As a child, all six of us sat around the dinner table every evening and had discussions as we ate.    From an early age we were encouraged to ask questions and formulate our own opinions on matters of importance.   This is what I was used to.

Now, imagine a kid like that—a girl—going to Catholic school in the 1960s.    I had a terrible time.    I could not understand why the nuns didn’t want to hear my opinion on things.     The whole “Children should be seen and not heard” thing was an alien concept to me.

And I’m still trying to come to grips with it.   Anyone got any good tips

Friday, December 3, 2010

O shame, where is thy blush? …To flaming youth let virtue be as wax ~ Hamlet Act 3, sc. 4

I guess now would be as good a time as any to write about having “the talk” with my kids….

As I was raising my son and daughter, I tried very hard to be open and honest with them. It wasn’t always easy to do—your first instinct is to go to the “Because I’m the parent and I said so” option. The hardest things for me were to admit when I had handled something with them in the wrong way and to apologize when I’d lose my temper.

But answering their questions about sex and the like wasn’t that difficult. I was, after all, a child of the 60s—we were the free love generation, right? And, in spite of my Catholic school background (where sex-ed consisted of Sister saying “If God is willing, a man and a woman will conceive a child.”), I was relatively comfortable discussing things with them. Their dad was very hurt when he realized they were always coming to me with their questions—until I told him some of the things they were asking…. “Oh, … um, …. Yeah—you can handle that.”

First thing I did was tell them the proper names of their body parts when they were about 3 and 4—cause, ya know, all the child rearing books say that’s what you should do.

Clearly, the authors of these books don’t have any on-the-job experience. I am in the store one day, browsing, when I realize that my adorable offspring are not standing obediently at my feet. I immediately whip around scanning the store for them. Quickly I spot my son (the 3-yr-old) peeking up the skirt of a mannequin. Before I can make a move, he proclaims at the top of his lungs “M, I can see the lady’s ‘gina.”

Yeah.

Now, this was in 1979. Things were still pretty uptight. I am all of 26 years old and all of these little old ladies are looking at him appalled. I have to admit that I was tempted to just take his hand and say “Let’s go find your mother little boy.”

Alright, now we jump ahead about 2 or 3 years and the questions start…..

My tactic whenever they asked “What is such-and-such?” was to respond with “Well, what do you think it is?” That way I could suss out exactly where their little brains were on a given topic. It worked very well. I can still remember my 6-yr-old daughter’s response to “What do you think gay means?”
“Guys who like other guys.”
Yeah, that about sums it up, I replied.    (I didn’t know about any of this stuff til I was 16 or so!)

When my son was about 12, he was on a car ride with his dad and he was telling him about a girl he liked in school.     My husband later relayed the conversation to me:

 Dad:   Is she cute, bud?
          Son:   Yeah! Only problem is G likes her too—and he’s my best friend.
 Dad:   Yeah—that’s a tough one….. But girls come and go; your friends are important.                          Don’t mess up a great friendship over a girl….
        Son:   Yeah…. But I think she likes me more—I’ve gotten more off of her than G.

(Dad almost crashes car, cause he knows what he meant when he said that about a girl….)

 Dad: (gulping, but trying to sound calm) What do you mean, bud?
       Son:   She gave G a granola bar, but she gave me a granola bar AND a pack of gum.

(Dad’s heart starts beating again.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What fools these mortals be.....



Oh Philly—you so crazy….



Now, keep in mind that we are the city that threw snowballs at Santa  and some of this might make sense.


Maybe….


In hopes of helping smaller merchants during this economically strained holiday season, the city created a small shopping spot on city property near City Hall. It’s modeled after similar endeavors in Germany. Marketing geniuses that they are—and masters of the obvious—they dubbed it “Christmas Village.”


Well, apparently some city workers were offended by this—it’s not inclusive enough. So, the already cash-strapped city spent money to remove the offending word “Christmas” from the signs and planned to replace it with “Holiday.” I get it, I guess, let’s be ecumenical and open…..


Now, a mere 48 hours after the start of this kerfuffle, the word “Christmas” is being reinstated on the signs.


HUH????


All of this begs the question “Have we taken political correctness too far?”


I have mixed feelings. I was raised Catholic, but became very disillusioned during my teen years. I subsequently attended a Baptist church during my late 20s—mid 30s or so. But the need to earn more money to stay alive necessitated my working weekends. I haven’t attended any sort of church in over a decade.


And with all the many scandals coming to light, I’m completely turned off to organized religion. But, I try to go with a “live and let live” approach to how others choose to worship. As long as it doesn’t involve human sacrifice, or pedophilia, hey, whatev……


And I have a healthy curiosity about the many forms faith takes. I’ve always felt schools should teach students about all of the main belief systems on this planet. That being said, I don’t think Christmas is a religious thing anymore. It’s all about sales and who gets the best gifts and drinking and eating and stuff like that. So what difference does it make what they call this commercial little spot on Dilworth Plaza?






Why not put up a Channukah bush and a Kwanza shrub too.      Anybody wanna weigh in?