Monday, December 31, 2007

I still love all my stalkees

This is Grant Miller's cat. Mine are cuter.

Hey everyone,

Just a few quick notes:

1) I have been totally remiss in catching up with all of your blogs and leaving profound comments. Not for lack of love, just for lack of time. I'll make it up to all of joos shortly.

2) As if I don't have enough to catch up on already, I agreed to guest post over at Grant Miller Media while he's out of the office. Maybe I should get someone to guest-comment on all your wonderful blogs so that you don't feel so neglected.

3) It's my birthday today. Please worship me.



Friday, December 28, 2007

Virtual Round Table, or how CP became overwhelmed

Lulu and Melinda June can attest to the fact that I'm a strange bird and a difficult person to get to know because I feel shy and awkward around people I'm not well acquainted with. When you combine that with the fact that I am both a freak AND borderline retarded, people often walk away from their first few interactions with me thinking "what the hell was THAT all about?"

It is only due to some sort of miracle that I manage to earn a living in sales. I suppose 42 years of life experience and some decent legal training have taught me a thing or two about sucking it up and just talking to people, but none of it comes naturally. I'm much more comfortable sitting at a keyboard with unfettered access to my "backspace" and "delete" keys. If only I could carry those with me everywhere I go.

All of the foregoing are reasons why, when Lulu first got together with a large group of bloggers about a year ago, I told her I wouldn't want to do that. One or two at a time maybe, but not a whole room. I'd probably freeze or start babbling like a retard when faced with having to talk to that many people.

"No you wouldn't, you'd be fine," she replied.

"Well of course I'd be fine. I'm only slightly retarded, not a complete moron."

"Yes, and your point is. . . ?"

"It's just that I would find it overwhelming to have all these people come to life right in front of me. We know each other on paper and everything seems to work well that way. Why would I want to screw it up by making them deal with me in person?"

"No one is looking to get married here, CP - they just want to talk to us. You're so uptight. Why does everything have to be some sort of religious experience with you?"

Of course, she was right. Which is why this year, when Lu and I were both planning to be in Chicago for the holidays, I agreed to accompany her to a large gathering of bloggers we've gotten to know over the past few years.

It's not that I have anything against meeting bloggers or pen-pals. Dale, Chelene, Beckeye and I have all become semi-regular real life friends and I haven't managed to alienate any of them yet though I am still working on it. And I've had great single face-to-face interactions with Wonderturtle, Hapabukbuk, Write Procrastinator and Deadspot. I just wasn't sure how I'd react to a whole room of them at once.

I was able to lay a few of these concerns to rest after last night's blogger party in Chicago. The experience was definitely overwhelming, but mostly in a good way.

This is going to sound weird, but it was kind of like how I've always imagined it would be to die, go to an afterlife and then meet your cat from childhood in person form. "Hi Tom, I think you remember me - I'm Betty."

I'd say "Betty, is that really you? Wow, it's so great to meet you in person!" And then I'd stand there and feel overwhelmed.

That is how I felt when Lu, Poor George and I walked into a crowded room last night at the Hala Kahiki Lounge in River Grove, Illinois. Within the space of five minutes I shook hands with and looked all of the following writers straight in the eye:

Grant Miller from Grant Miller Media
Chris from Some Guy's Blog
Megan from By and By
Bubs and MizBubs from Sprawling Ramshackle Compound
Splotchy from I, Splotchy
Johnny Yen from Here Comes Johnny Yen Again
Chaylene from Better Living through Bacon
Vikkitikkitavi from Bells On
Bubbles from Anonymous Blogger
Sharon from Tenacious S (though I've known her for 20 years so that meeting wasn't quite as intimidating)

Vikki's sister from Two Minutes in the Box was also there but sadly I did not get a chance to speak with her - either that or she heeded someone's sage advice and avoided me.

I don't have time to say a whole lot more about it right now except that it felt natural and easy for me to talk to all these people, which only enhances my astonishment that we have all been able to come together because of our writing. It's like a virtual Round Table, only maybe even slightly more bitchy.

Which is always a good thing.

Except who gets to be Dorothy Parker here?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Isn't that 30 years in straight time?

Happy 10 year anniversary to CP + PG.

Although this picture was not taken at our celebratory dinner last night, it sums up how the two of us feel about each other: happy, full of love and always ready for another meal.

We celebrated here last night. Food was good, but the service was a bit lacking considering the exorbitant prices we were paying for the whole experience.

This place is about the same price as where we went last night, but ever so extra special, and worth every penny. We celebrated PG's birthday at Chanterelle a number of years ago. It's one of those places where the waiters don't hover over you but you know they must be spying because the second you act like you need something they are there faster than a whore changes bedsheets.

Anyway, I'm very proud that my Poor George has stuck by me all these years - and hope he'll have the stomach for ten more before he finally shoots me.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Newhanakwanzmas!

I like Christmas as much as the next guy. I also appreciate the fact that the vast majority of the traditions and symbols we use during our end of year celebration have their roots in various forms of paganism, and have very little to do with the birth of Jesus.

What we now call the "Christmas Tree" was originally used by Germanic pagan tribes during their winter solstice celebrations, which occurred during the darkest time of year, now know as the end of December. Other traditional "Christmas" symbols such as the yule log, Christmas ham and others derive from similar origins.

As Christianity spread northward and started to engulf the pagan tribes, one of the bargaining chips in the whole conversion process was that these winter solstice symbols and celebrations would remain, just with a new "Christian" angle.

So, on a personal level, I have no beef with us wishing each other a "Merry Christmas" since in my mind all this stuff is just American tradition that really has very little to do with Christianity. On the other hand, can I just say that I am SICK of all these jackasses who talk non-stop with their verbal diarrhea about "the death of Christmas?"

These are those poor souls, those poor Kristians who feel oppressed when people have the audacity to wish them "Seasons' Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" instead of a hearty old "Merry Christmas."

Poor, poor Kristians. It must be just terrible for you that large segments of our society still view your sacred holiday as a symbol of oppression, not to mention outright genocide. Those damn Holocaust survivors and their families should just get over it and suck it up when Christmas is constantly thrust in their faces, using their tax dollars to finance manger scenes on public property.

Or those silly Indians (or "Native Americans" as they like to be called) who STILL complain that they were being massacred by the thousands while the Europeans simultaneously shoved Christianity down their throats. (Just doing them a favor in attempting to save their souls, I know, but still.) And I won't even talk about those damn African slaves and their descendants. Christ was the best thing ever to happen to them, chains and all!

I have a message for you Kristians who are so fed up with having your holiday diluted by all these "politically correct" kinds of people who are trying to be sensitive to groups who have suffered great injustices at the hands of Kristians throughout the ages. Go and have yourselves a merry little Christmas. I certainly will.

As far as I'm concerned, you can wish the entire world a "Merry Christmas" if you really want to. If someone acts offended at these seemingly innocuous words, you are free to apologize and/or walk away. But PLEASE, whatever else happens, just do us all a huge favor and shut the fuck up about your so-called "oppression."

As you are crying real tears over your lonely, neglected manger scenes, may I remind you of the wise words once shared with us on this very blog by the immortal Vikkitikkitavi?

To take the attitude that you are beleaguered members of a disenfranchised sect is neither attractive nor accurate.

Ho! Ho! Ho! and Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 07, 2007

Here's an idea

Let's continue to make the recent shopping mall shooting incident front-page news for the next several months. Let's spend a bunch of time leading every TV newscast and talk show with more and more eyewitness accounts of the tragedy. Let's also get a bunch of experts from various fields to sit on discussion panels to hash out all the problems in American society that would cause a troubled young person to act out in this way.

After all, it's way more interesting and compelling than, say, the fact that we're on the brink of bombing the nads right off of Iran. Or that our economy is in the shithouse. Teenage shooting sprees are way more fun.

Maybe if we talk a whole lot about this shooting, we'll encourage other troubled teens to act out in similar ways! Wouldn't that be great? A lot of troubled people have a morbid fascination with macabre forms of celebrity, like this mall killer and the Columbine kids. If we play our cards right and continue to obsess over this in the media, we might get lucky and enjoy a few more sensational stories of this ilk before the '00s are up!

And as a bonus, maybe we'll even get to have metal detectors installed in every shopping mall across the country to protect ourselves from this ever increasing phenomenon. That would be awesome!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hypothetical question

Is it wrong to eat an entire Entenmann's Raspberry Danish Twist over the course of 17 hours? Just wondering.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

R.I.P. Bjørn Vågland

A fine man and a loving father. He will be missed.

Gratuitous cat shots

Grover Derwood

Ava Wilhemina

I'm working on a post but I need to scan a few photos before I can publish it. Enjoy these gratuitious cat shots while you wait.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Mama Gin Files: Poor George Tries to Practice

Poor George has forbidden my posting this video because he is in it. So I'm hiding it in my archives (which Poor George never reads) and am asking my blogger friends to direct their readers to it. I won't get caught because Poor George can barely stand to read my blog let alone anybody else's.

However, if you stop hearing from me for an extended period, go ahead and notify the police because it will probably mean that George discovered the posted video and murdered me.

That being said, this may be my favorite Mama Gin video yet because it is so illustrative of what we deal with almost every day.

In tonight's episode we witness Poor George trying to practice his bass clarinet while being subjected to Mama Gin's usual litany of "advice" to the tune of "find gurlfriend get marry have baby!"

He tries just about every trick in the book including tuning her out, arguing back at her, and finally, his attempted coup de grace of blowing an incredibly loud, shrill, high pitched bass clarinet note to try to scare her off.

Of course none of the above have any effect on Mama Gin. She would continue to harass Poor George if a hydrogen bomb went off twenty feet from her. "Ma, your face is melting off!" "But Georgie get marry have baby!" would be her reply, no doubt.

I've provided a partial transcript below although much of the dialogue is in Chinglish - which is mostly Chinese with the words "gurlfriend" and "get marry" peppered throughout in English.


MG: [Chinese . . . ] gurlfriend, get marry!

PG: I don't want to get married, I'm with Tom!

MG: What, gurlfriend no likey you?

PG: No, no likey me!

MG: [Various Chinese reprimands]

PG: Mo gurlfriend, mo gurlfriend! (Chinglish for "No girlfriend, no girlfriend!")

MG: [Chinese rebukes]


MG: [Chinese]

PG: No, no, can't do that.

MG: [Chinese]

PG: [Chinese] and something about California

MG + PG: [Chinese banter]

PG: (noticing me with the camera) STOP IT! What are you doing? You're recording this, I know you are!!! Get out of here Thomas!!!

CP: Ok, bye bye.

PG: (begins playing the bass clarinet)

MG: [Chinese], despite George's playing


MG: [Chinese]....gurlfriend....[Chinese]


The rest of the video depicts Poor George trying to shoo her away by playing shrill notes on the clarinet, while I move the camera to include shots of our really cute cats.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poor George tastes his first corn dog, California State Fair, Sacramento, August 2007

Our friend Sarah looks on from across the table as Poor George bites into his first ever corn dog. He gave it a 5 out of 10. I can't help it if he's out of his mind.


I was sitting here being impressed with myself for taking such a cute picture and was marveling at all the bright colors - so I decided to enlarge to take a closer look and just noticed the woman behind George - she is covering her mouth and has this horrified look on her face. I'm even more impressed with myself now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Tormented by Mormons in the Night

A Mormon Temple Recommend. You need one of these bad boys to get into a Mormon temple.

And if you think you'll get your hands on one of these before you fork over 10% of your pre-tax income, you'd better think again.

Lulu recently had a boring dream with me in it. I should be so lucky. What kind of dreams to do I get? Well, last night I dreamed about Mormons.

This sick occurrence is probably due to my recent online fight with Pussy Boy (aka Sushi.) Pig fucker.

In this dream I was at a mall that was for some reason attached to a Mormon temple. For my non-Mormon-watching readers, a Mormon temple is where card carrying Mormons perform all the creepy rites they stole from the Masons more than a hundred years ago. They do things like baptize their dead relatives and seal themselves to their families for all eternity.

Sounds kind of like going to Hell to me, but I guess the Mormons like it.

Only Mormons in good standing (read: the ones who regularly fork over 10% of their pre-tax income) get to enter the temples. To be admitted you have to have a special card called a Temple Recommend, given to you by your local church leaders after you hand over those checks they use to purchase all that celestial underwear and the really gay looking white garments they make you wear inside the temples. (A lot of that money also goes to helping suppress the gays, but we've already discussed that ad nauseum on this blog.)

So anyway, I dreamed that I was in this mall and got a bug up my butt about wanting to get myself inside that temple. So I started scheming on how to get my hands on a Temple Recommend.

I ran into one of my law school classmates who is a nice Mormon girl (as if there is such a thing) and asked if I could borrow her Temple Recommend. She said "sure, why not?" and handed it to me.

I approached the mall door that led to the temple and started worrying that they would notice my Temple Recommend was issued to a female named Stephanie and that my little plan might not work.

I don't remember anything else. I guess this story isn't even very interesting, except to note that these God damned Mormons, in addition to not letting me get married, are now ruining my sleep. Fuckers.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

CPW Writer's Block Series: Diary of Not a Rice Person

Gentle Readers,

I'm suffering the dearth of inspiration that is writer's block. To keep my newer readers entertained I will occasionally direct you to past pieces that I particularly enjoyed writing.

Our first in this series is my essay Diary of Not a Rice Person which only a few of you saw on its first time around.

Enjoy. For God's sake.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NYC Blogger Reviews: Deadspot (or, how Beckeye and I became the official NYC Blogger Welcome Wagon)

NYC Blogger Reviews is a new CPW series where we will review and critique bloggers that we meet in person. After all, assessing the respective strengths and character flaws of those in our blog circle is an important task, not to be undertaken lightly. NYC Blogger Reviews will provide most of the scathing commentary you have come to expect from CPW; for the rest you will have to turn to Beckeye who might slip in a review when she's not reporting on important news about Glenn Tilbrook, Britney Spears or Top Chef.

Today on NYC Blogger Reviews we will recap our evening with special blogger guest star Deadspot from over at Dead Spot on the Web. (It's a spot. It's on the web. It's dead. You know the rest.)

It had become quite the comedy of errors trying to figure out how and where to get together. Beckeye was brave enough to suggest an actual meal rather than a drink; already knowing me in real life, she probably fell for that whole "safety in numbers" thing and felt no need to worry that we might pass out and end up in Deadspot's basement. After all, he has at times toyed with the notion that some might think him a creepy cyberstalker, something that would only increase my respect for him.

Since Beckeye suggested eating actual food, I tried to come up with a few interesting ideas for people out for a fun evening while sticking to a sensible budget. My first idea along that line is always to get Indian food in the East Village. After Deadspot's enthusiastic e-mail reply to this, Beckeye bristled at the notion of being required to eat something other than a burger, although rumor has it she has recently broadened her palate to include meat loaf - so I'm trying not to be too hard on her.

I moved to Plan B and compiled a list of every halfway interesting place I could think of that didn't cost an arm and a leg, and called Beckeye to help me narrow it down.

"I really don't care where we go - you guys can pick, just don't make me eat anything spicy. And that way, if I don't like it I still get to complain," said Beckeye. I wasn't going to let her get off that easily though, since complaining about the venue is usually my specialty.

"I recently went to this trailer-park themed restaurant that serves tater tots. That would be good!" she offered. I looked them up and found their location in Chelsea, noting to myself that a trailer-park restaurant amongst all the snotty queens in that neighborhood seemed like an amusing juxtaposition.

I headed with Poor George into the city, trusting that Deadspot would call me eventually so that I could instruct him on where to meet us. Apparently, maintaining one's status as a creepy cyberstalker involves not purchasing a cell phone since I suppose cell phones make it easier for the Feds to track you down.

I did hear from him as we were crossing the Manhattan Bridge into the city.

"Hi Deadspot. Since you're from Central Illinois we figured you might like something to make you feel at home. So we're taking you to eat in a trailer-park." Unfortunately, Deadspot has a sense of humor and wasn't as offended as he would have been if I'd really been on my game.

"By the way, we have no idea what you look like, or if you even exist at all, so you'll have to recognize us," I noted.

"Oh, that's ok, I'll describe myself. Just look for a guy with dark hair, jeans and a leather jacket." Fair enough.


I dropped Poor George off at his music rehearsal and headed over to Chelsea where I found street parking without even having to threaten anyone. The evening was moving along just swimmingly; it was exactly 7:00 which is when Deadspot and I agreed to meet. Beckeye was coming in on the subway and would take a bit longer.

I found the restaurant, only to be notified that they were closed for a private party because some Chelsea queen was seeking to return to his white trash roots as part of a birthday celebration, or at least that's my theory since I'm really just making most of this up.

Anyway, with the restaurant being closed, I was required to stand on the sidewalk and keep my eyes peeled for a non-cell phone wielding dark haired man in jeans and a leather jacket, probably not an unusual activity in that part of the city.

Thanks to Deadspot being 30 minutes late on account of an unfortunate subway direction mishap, every dark haired man in Chelsea in a leather jacket and jeans now thinks I'm cruising him. Although the exercise resulted in several dirty looks of the "what the fuck are you staring at, faggot?" variety, I'll admit it was fun to people watch for a bit.

Deadspot apologized profusely upon his arrival, and remained admirably unshaken when I berated him for casting aside my rather simple subway directions in favor of those given to him by a semi-coherent hotel doorman who had sent him over to 23rd Street in Queens, probably as a practical joke. (You really have to watch out for those doormen.)

We headed to a nearby bar & grill and had drinks and conversation while we waited for Beckeye. Topics ranged from soccer and religion to freeze-dried boxed potatoes and what neglectful bloggers we have been lately.

Beckeye arrived, we had more drinks and then enjoyed a fine meal of burgers, fish & chips and shepherd's pie.

Most importantly, Deadspot convinced Beckeye and me that he is not a creepy stalker but is a nice guy and a fine dinner companion. He gets the CP+Beckeye Blogger Stamp of Approval.

He also promised to let his own blog circle know that Beckeye and I are normal people, although he promised to make it sound more flattering than just calling us "normal." Little does he know that normalcy is a quality I've long aspired to.

Thanks, Deadspot!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Home office

Sorry I've been such a bad blogger pal lately. I hope this snapshot of my daily home office view will make up for it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Rise of CPW

Although Sushi's underwear-generated attacks on CPW may result in permanent blemishes, some good has come out of all this (aside from knowing how many great bloggers stand behind Poor George and me, that is.)

My recent post entitled Marriage Mayhem Redux: The Return of Sushi has won me a Rising Blogger Award!

Rising Blogger trolls the world of online essays looking for individual posts to promote and award. What a great idea. And since I regularly come across stunning pieces by you, my fellow bloggers and Gentle Readers, I personally will be nominating many of your posts in the very near future.

I would like to thank.... oh, wait, I guess no one asked for an acceptance speech.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Marriage and Mormon Mayhem: Sushi hates me now

Well Gentle Readers,

So much for my attempts at diplomacy. Sushi Boy, after sending me these sweet little emails inviting me to post "Friday Field Trips" and signing them "Your friend, Sushi" has written me off because of my former Mormon-watching posts.

True, I had promised to stop taking pot shots at Mormons, which I did - but I forgot to take down the old posts.

So, instead of reading my posts and responding with thoughtful comments (not that he has much ability to think for himself, let alone spell) he decided to read the rest of my blog and was INCENSED at my unwarranted attacks on the Mormon religion!

Just think, how dare I actually MAKE FUN of a religious group that has spent millions of dollars putting ads on TV comparing Poor George and me to a couple of dogs.

Sushi, if you're reading this, hear me loud and clear: I have some nice Mormon friends who actually understand concepts of justice and fairness. Although they love their church, they have apologized to me personally for the pain their church has caused.

You, on the other hand, are not even good enough to call yourself a Mormon. I think you should rip off those underwear and not put them on again until you repent for your atrocious behavior. Someone reaches out to you - and instead of trying to look for understanding and common ground, you go out of your way to find things you can throw back in their face. I gave you how many apologies for having said mean things about Mormons? Many. Even if I did forget to take down the old posts (which I am leaving up, by the way.)

How many apologies have you given me for the things you and your church do to me?


Who is acting like a Christian here, Sush? Um, not you, methinks.

Since you obviously equate making underwear jokes with denying civil rights to an entire population of people, I've decided (long after my Gentle Readers who are obviously a lot smarter than I am) that you are not worth the struggle. You are a hopeless case.

Reprinted here for my Gentle Readers is the most recent expression of affection I received from Sush.

Coincidentally, he failed to answer any of my arguments or questions. Hmmm, wonder why? Could it be because he's so wrong he doesn't have anything left to say?



Tom, So, I read you post. Its the biggest line of BS I've heard lately. I was willing to talk before, but I'm not now.

You have lied to me multiple times, and I'm not going to stick around why you or your friends take shots at me. I've also read the rest of your blog, so I could take you in context. So I could understand how you and George got together, how you felt about one another. Instead I found your Mormon watching junk. When I asked you about it you lied.

You said on Chris's Blog, “But obviously I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feeling seriously.” Do you honestly expect me to believe that? If its your goal to not hurt “anyone” your either hopelessly inept (and being a lawyer, with many a writing classes under your belt I doubt it), or your lying.

You also said, “"Mormon Watching" is exactly that: keeping an eye on the LDS church to see what they might try to do to me next.” Also a huge line of crap that I'm not buying. Yah, you're full of it.

I could accept you didn't like Mormons. But don't lie to me. Mormon watching is nothing more than your personal vendetta against Mormons. Don't lie to me and tell me its,"I want to see you Mormons will attack me next" You've stated the opposite on your blog, more than once.

I think this whole 'conversation' was a complete ruse to have a go at me. I've never done anything to hurt you, my church despite its political opposition to your 'rights' has also never gone out of its way to hurt you. Never called you names. Never gone out of its way to go into a gay bar and try to hurt as many people as they could. (Like your little temple excursions, where you go trying to make people feel stupid).

I thought maybe you could actually explain why Gay Marriage was a good thing, and not just “not bad” or “not hurting you”. Or at least why you thought so. How dare you tell me to stay on the issue and not defend myself. If I'm called something I'm not I'll defend myself. But Whatever. You stated your purpose almost a month ago, “I'm all for antagonizing Mormons any way I can”. I should have believed you then.

How have you hurt Mormons? You've made a hobby of it.
Yah I'm angry, but nobody is perfect. I still will not go out of my way to hurt you or belittle you. You want to bash on Mormons? Go ahead its your first amendment right. But don't expect me to return the favor, and don't expect me to sit around while you do. I've got better things to do.

I'd prefer not to here from you again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Calling all Steve Buscemi lovers

Gentle Readers,

I am serving on the host committee for a special screening of the restored version of "Parting Glances," a very cool film from 1986 that launched the career of Steve Buscemi.

Here is where you can purchase tickets and read more about the event which will take place on October 29, 2007. Kathy Kinney (of "Drew Carey" fame) was in the movie and she will be at the screening. I was told that Steve would be there too but I'm not sure.

If you decide to go, please email me and let me know so that I can claim credit for having sold your ticket. (I get no commission or anything; I simply have to prove my value as a host committee member. I'm constantly being judged no matter what I do.)

Poor George and I will be there.



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Marriage Mayhem Redux - The Return of Sushi

My pal Sushi Boy replied to some of my questions in Marriage Mayhem. He was a bit put off by some of the snarky comments he received, although I am continuing to extend the olive branch on my own behalf and continue the, conversation.

Following are some further thoughts and responses and I would very much like to hear from Sush once again. (I call him "Sush" sometimes on accounta we're becoming friends & all.)

1. Sush, while I appreciate the time you took to provide thoughtful responses, one central question remains for me. In my opinion, you have as yet failed to provide one concrete example of how my marrying Poor George would hurt you in the slightest. Please elaborate, because I really would like to know.

2. Wow, I've been called a bigot before I've even said anything, I wish that was something cool. But its not, It kinda sux.

Sush, we've already been through this. I want you to think of this conversation on substantive issues as a beautiful woman standing in front of you. And think of the angry comments from my Gentle Readers as her boobs. Now, the beautiful woman is saying to you "hey, Sushi! My eyes are up here! Eyes up here!"

3. I'm not going to invite anyone to my house and say, “Would you mind not being gay while your here?” I'm not going to ask the smoker to pretend not to be a smoker, just not to smoke.

I'd have to agree with Vikki - the smoking analogy is inappropriate. Gay people are tired of having our lives compared with sins such as smoking, drugs, incest, bestiality and child molestation. Talk about hurling insults! We really don't appreciate that.

4. Coaster if Poor George is in the hospital I think one person has the right to say who visits him. George does.

You are correct. Same goes for your wife. But you are missing the point here. If your wife is in a car accident and is unconscious and on life support, you get to see her, hold her hand, spend all your time with her if you want and consult with her doctors on treatment. If I am in an accident like this, what does Poor George get? Squat.

Sure, Poor George can spend $300 an hour visiting a lawyer to try to get every single possible future circumstance wrapped up to ensure I am protected and given the same privileges as a spouse (where even possible.) But you don't have to do that. And neither should Poor George. Why are you so much better than him that you deserve this and he doesn't?

5. If [marriage and law are] so intertwined, shouldn't we we look before we leap?

I believe we have been debating this topic in earnest for at least 10 years. Do you think that's sufficient time for us to have flushed out the pros and cons of allowing us equal rights? Furthermore, we on the pro side are still waiting for one - ONE - convincing argument that gay people must remain second class citizens. If you have one, I'd really like to hear it.

6. I don't want Homosexual person to eat in a separate restaurant. Ride in a different bus , or forced to ride in a different part of the bus. But I do not think that Equal means identical. Man marrying a woman is not identical to a man marrying a man. Or a woman marrying a woman.

No, they are not identical - but what is? Consider that these EXACT arguments were made back in 1967 before the Supreme Court finally decided it was unlawful to forbid civil marriage between blacks and whites.

And please, stop calling us "homosexuals." That's such a clinical term - appropriate for a biology lab where you are studying the behavior of mice, but not so much in talking about your friends. "Gays and Lesbians" is fine, thanks.

7. There is also the issue of children.

Not sure what your point is here. Yes, children can result from sex between a man and a woman, but last I checked there has never been any requirement that married people reproduce or even try to. Therefore the ability to procreate or not has absolutely no bearing on this conversation or the right to marry.

If where you are going with this involves arguments in the "children of gay people will be teased on the playground!" variety, might I remind you that our society should not encourage or tolerate mob rule by poorly behaved school children?

8. Now I think most everyone here can agree that the KKK is intent on keeping (unsuccessfully) the black race down....

Yes, and as you recall so was the LDS church until 1977 or 1978, when black men were finally granted the the priesthood. Not this has anything to do with marriage - but since you brought up the topic, I thought our Gentle Readers should be aware of this for context.

Note that while I personally see this former policy as abhorrent, I am in no way suggesting that the LDS church should ever have been forced to admit blacks, gays, women, Indians or anyone else as members or holders of the priesthood. Within the confines of your faith, you all get to make the rules and stick to them as you see fit. The rest of us can find other churches.

9. We see it as a lifestyle that we do not agree with.

Fine. Then don't live a gay lifestyle. And tell your members that if they live a gay lifestyle, they will be excommunicated. No arguments from me.

But you still haven't answered me: why aren't you satisfied with that? Why do you have to insist Poor George and I continue to be denied rights because we live a gay lifestyle? How are we interfering with you in the slightest? I really would like an answer here.

10. Do I think you should lose your house/loft/apartment if PG needs the care of a nursing home. I think if you are kind enough to foot the bill, you should receive some financial safety net, some protection from the government. Put it on the ballot and I'll vote yes.

Sushi, I will go to these troubles if you agree to forfeit your automatic rights as a married spouse and do the same. I would like you and your wife to spend the same amount of time, money, trouble and worry as Poor George and I will have to to protect ourselves. Agreed?

11. My point in studying that court case it that the LDS church limits its political opposition strictly to the issue of marriage. No ad campaigns nothing.

Since you brought up the issue of ad campaigns, I'd like your opinion on the ads the LDS church paid for in Alaska and Hawaii that said things like "I can't marry my dog. I can't marry my sister. Please protect traditional marriage in Hawaii." Can you imagine how offensive that is? We make a few underwear jokes, while you are comparing us to dogs. Maybe we can call some kind of truce?

12. I've been informed that saying “homosexual lifestyle” is what all the 'haters' say, sorry my goal isn't to offend anyone in the gay community (I hope that is a better term).

It is, thanks.

13. OK, who is against teenagers either contracting an STD, or conceiving a baby before they are emotionally and financially ready? Any Yeas? Any Neighs? Has anyone here supported a campaign to hand out condoms to High School Students? How is this not a moral stand? What makes supporting your Moral stand more worthy than a religions?

There are solid, incontradictable arguments that all of the examples you cite above are things that can and do harm people. STDs are bad - people get sick and die from them. Early life pregnancy can be devastating in so many ways. Of course any reasonable person, religious or not, would speak out against these things and do what they can to prevent them. Condoms, although not foolproof, can and do prevent STDs and pregnancy when used correctly. Abstinence is also a great thing to teach and encourage.

You are helping prove my point. Moral stances on all of the above are warranted and necessary to protect the health and welfare of teenagers and other people.

Denying the right to marry to consenting adults does not do anything to protect anyone. It only hurts the people who can't get married. I'm still waiting for just one example of the harm same-sex marriage will cause.

14. Studies also indicate that condoms slip off the penis....

I have absolutely no argument with you that "safe-sex only!" education is not the end-all be-all for kids. I think abstinence is a great thing to encourage. However, I do think kids are better served having the facts about sex and what it can do. It is well established after thousands of years that kids will sometimes find it next to impossible not to surrender to their overwhelming sexual urges. Knowing how to protect themselves is a good thing. Whether teaching safe-sex actually encourages sex instead of abstinence is a matter of debate beyond the scope of this discussion, but it is an interesting topic that I wouldn't mind exploring with you in the future.

The context you bring it up in seems along the lines of "religions teach abstinence and you agree it can have value - why do messages you disagree with have no value?" At least that's how I interpret the gist of what you're getting at.

Short answer is that I find no value to society in telling people outside one's faith whom consenting adults can and cannot marry. Until I hear a convincing argument on how Poor George and I are hurting you or society by getting married, I will continue to see no value in such a message.

15. So every church is forced to perform gay marriages. Now you've forced the Jew to sell Pork in a Kosher shop.

I can guarantee you that this statement is 100% wrong. Our Constitution provides for the free practice of religion as well as protection against having religion forced on you. Mormons will always be able to say who and who isn't married in their temples. I would bet my life on this.

If this is the message your church leaders have been pushing on you, and if you've been convinced by it, I beg you to reconsider this - and see it for what it is, which is a shameless scare tactic designed to promote a mean-spirited point of view against gay people.

16. I've heard this over and over. Gay marriage will never hurt anyone.... The point is I've gone out of my way to not hurt anyone, and people have gone out of their way to hurt me..... I'm done being insulted, and I'm done making myself an easy target for people to insult. What does my underwear have with civil unions? Why attack me in completely unrelated areas?

Sushi, I agree with you on this. But see point #2 above: Eyes up here, young man! I have acknowledged and will continue to do so that fighting words aren't going to help us find common ground, which is why I've agreed to stop using them with you. I really appreciate the time and effort you've taken to have this conversation.

That being said, my regret is that these fighting words enable you to drop the focus of what I'm trying to talk to you about. You opened this paragraph with the exact statement I want you to try to convince me is not true: "Gay marriage will never hurt anyone."

Instead of addressing this issue, the fighting words have allowed you to dodge it by saying "well you hurt me too with all your jokes" etc. I agree. But I would still like you to address the issue, if you wouldn't mind.

(Not to mention the fact that you have a funny definition of "not going out of your way to hurt anyone" when your church has done, and is doing, exactly that.)

17. What is Mormon Watching all about?"

"Mormon Watching" is exactly that: keeping an eye on the LDS church to see what they might try to do to me next.

So again, even if you would like to discuss this in private on email so that my (not always so Gentle!) Readers won't insult you, I am more than willing. Maybe we will eventually find some common ground.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Spring Awakening

Go see this show if you like musical theater. It's a little on the bizarre side, but it has some hauntingly beautiful numbers, like the tear-jerking closer "Song of Purple Summer."

I annoyed my co-horts Chelene, Dale, John, Poor George, Arlene and Otis for about twenty minutes after the show trying to figure out the significance or meaning behind "Purple Summer." Chelene came up with a Prince-related theory, and Poor George told me to put a sock in it.

I did a small amount of Googling today but got sidetracked by writing my own piano arrangement of the tune. So, this is a call to all you bookworms out there - what is "Purple Summer?" I figure it must be a literary reference.

First reader with the correct answer gets serenaded over the phone.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Marriage mayhem

A new reader has popped up on CPW. Sushi Boy has an interesting blog where, among other things, he hosts a weekly "Friday Field Trip" where participants are encouraged to post photos of their surroundings or other places they have gone (or might like to go...I haven't memorized all the rules yet.) I would like to participate at some point but as I told Sushi, I'm not very good at keeping up with any kind of regularly scheduled blogging activity. So there may be a field trip from me at some point.

Sushi is also a Mormon, as we found out when he stumbled upon a post over at Some Guy's Blog wherein Some Guy denounced the Mormon (and Jehovah's Witness and . . .) practice of making unsolicited door to door visits to discuss their religious beliefs. Understandably, Sushi was offended and said so. This led to an extended bitch-slap session consisting of several strongly worded comments. I joined the fray by taking Sushi and his church to task on the church's multi-million dollar lobbying efforts to keep gay Americans from marrying.

After a little back & forth, I agreed to knock it off with the cheap Mormon jokes and Sushi agreed to have a civil discussion on the issues that make me so angry.

Rather than clogging up Some Guy's comments on what is becoming an ancient post, I figured I'd move the next round of discussion over here.

Sushi has not yet had a chance to respond to my last comment at Some Guy's blog, except for mentioning that he wanted to talk about a 2006 court case from Utah. I told Sushi privately that I wasn't intending for this to become a whole legal analysis, since for me the discussion revolves around one thing:

In my opinion, churches should enforce their religious beliefs on their own members, and should not bring those into the political arena - at least not with the same fervor that the Mormons have with respect to marriage. In my opinion, if Mormons don't believe in same-sex marriage, Mormons should simply not marry people of the same sex. It doesn't need to go further than that. Jews don't eat pork, so their rabbis remind them in temple not to eat pork. There is no multi-million dollar lobbying effort to remove subsidies from pig farmers simply because the Jews say pork is forbidden.

(As background for our new readers, the LDS church has spent millions of dollars lobbying state and federal governments to continue to deny marriage rights to gay Americans. I have a big problem with this.)

My arguments center around the fact that working so hard to deny gays the right to marry is, in reality, working to deny them a whole host of life-or-death rights and benefits. While expressing an opinion about what you see as the role of men and women in society is one thing, I feel that working so hard to deny these important rights is simply mean-spirited and inhumane - making it quite another thing altogether.

Anyway, while we're waiting for Sushi's responses to my last comments, I wanted to look at this court case he mentioned so I could try to see where he might be going.

I am assuming he brought up Utah Third District Court Case 050916879 as a way to say "when we attack your right to marriage, we're not attacking your right to health insurance. Look at this great court case where the judge is still allowing same-sex health benefits in Utah."

I read up on this case, and the following is my response.

A brief summary of the court case for our readers:

A Utah state judge ruled in 2006 that a municipal law offering health benefits to unmarried dependents (including same-sex partners) of city employees does not violate Utah’s other laws that specifically deny any marriage-related rights to same-sex couples.

While it is heartening that a handful of state courts and legislatures are trying to show some compassion, measures like these fall short of resolving the injustices shown to tax paying, law abiding gay Americans.

For one, we’ve already learned from the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement that separate can never be equal. The rights associated with marriage in this country are so far reaching that it is impossible to provide those rights at a state and federal level unless you allow same-sex civil marriage - which again, in my opinion, should have absolutely no effect on religious marriage.

Even if this court case in Utah does allow health benefits to unmarried partners of city employees, it is just that: for city employees. How many people are we talking about here? A few hundred? A few thousand?

The US is currently comprised of over 300 million Americans. We’re talking a drop in the bucket here.

Also, what hoops do people who want to take advantage of such benefits have to jump through to attain them? A friend of mine who worked at a large bank with domestic partner benefits was required to hand in a notarized affidavit swearing that she and her insured partner really were “domestic partners” who met a whole host of criteria (including having had to live together a certain amount of time.)

That is not equality. A married person need only list the spouse’s name on the benefits form. No living together requirement. No notarized affidavit. No need to consult a lawyer to make sure you’re not getting screwed. Again, while it is a noble step to provide some benefits out of the goodness of our hearts, it is not equality.

And health insurance is just one issue amidst a whole quagmire of problems. Here are a few things to chew on.

Taxes. Gay employees who do receive health benefits for their partners have to pay taxes on those benefits, unlike married spouses. I insure Poor George under my job. The amount of additional “taxable income” appropriated (and therefore taxed) to me is over $400 a month. Which means I’m being paid roughly $200 a month less for doing the same job as my married co-workers who insure their spouses. Is this equality?

Hospital visitation. Married couples have the right to visit each other in the hospital and to make medical decisions for incapacitated spouses. Gay couples have no rights and can be denied entry altogether. Is this equality?

Social Security. Married spouses receive SS payments upon the death of the spouse. Gay partners receive nothing - despite the fact that they paid the exact same payroll taxes over the years as the married couple. Is this equality?

Immigration. Bi-national married couples are almost automatically guaranteed entry and/or citizenship for the married alien partner. Gay bi-national couples have no rights at all and must separate or move to another country if they want to live together. Is this equality?

Estate taxes. A married person automatically inherits all the property of the deceased spouse without paying estate taxes. A gay partner must pay estate taxes on everything he or she inherits. Is this equality?

Retirement savings. A married person can roll a deceased spouse’s 401k into his or her own retirement account, while a gay person inheriting a partner’s 401k will have to forfeit up to 70% of it in taxes and penalties. Is this equality?

Family leave. Married workers are legally entitled to unpaid leave from their jobs to care for an ill spouse. Gay partners get no family leave for their partners. Is this equality?

Nursing homes. Married couples are legally entitled to live together in nursing homes. Elderly gay people have no right to spend their last days on earth living together. Is this equality?

Home protection. There are laws protecting married spouses from having to sell their homes to pay high nursing home costs. Gay couples have no protection and can be forced out of their homes when a partner is ill. Is this equality?

Pensions. Most pension plans pay survivor benefits only to a legally married spouse. Gay partners are excluded from pension benefits. Is this equality?

And the list goes on.

I'm sorry, but I simply resent any church working so hard to do this to me and Poor George. Or anyone else.

Feedback is welcome. Remember, we’re keeping it civil here, so no underwear jokes, please.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

CP + Beckeye dancing through the eras

My friend Michelle finally sent me her pics from Friday night. Although this shot does not do justice to Beckeye's eyeshadow, hair or silver lamé top, it does illustrate what a happy drunk I am.

Thanks to all for reliving our evening with us.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday Night Diary

Blogger legend Beckeye and I felt sorry for Chelene who, due to a nasty cold, had to miss this week's East Coast Blogger Conference. To make her feel better, I am providing this play-by-play of last night's activities.


5:35 pm: I arrive home from work and call my sister-in-law Ruby to arrange travel into the city. I advise her to take her own car since Poor George and I may be visiting Pyramid Club after the ABBA party and she may not want to stay out that late. Ruby complains, loudly. Just to get her off my back I agree to give her a ride and let her drive the car home, leaving me to take a cab.

5:45 pm: I shower and shave, nicking my neck in the process. Charming.

6:00 pm: I dress for the evening, regretting that I own nothing flashy or tacky enough to wear to a disco party. I briefly recall having discarded from George's wardrobe some old plum colored jeans and a hideous colored shirt that might have suited the occasion.

6:15 pm: I get into the car and head over to pick up Ruby.

6:18 pm: Ruby gets into the car and begins talking.

6:20 pm: I tune Ruby out.

6:50 pm: We arrive at McDougal & West 4th Street and discover a parking spot right on the corner in front of a large SUV.

6:51 pm: I pull into the space and discover my bumper hangs just a few inches over the crosswalk. I become annoyed.

6:52 pm: Owner of SUV appears and starts admonishing me not to get anywhere near his bumper. I seethe inside.

6:53 pm: Owner of SUV agrees to back up five feet to allow me room to park. I feel grateful until he again warns me not to touch his bumper. I am overcome by a desire to get out of the car and punch him, but I refrain.

6:54 pm: Ruby orders me to pull my car closer toward the curb. I try to reposition but have to dodge half a dozen stupid NYU pedestrians while cringing in fear that I might get too close to the SUV.

6:56 pm: Ruby tells me for the fifth time that I'm 5 inches from the curb and I should really be 2 or 3 inches. I ask Ruby to verify the position of my front bumper but she ignores me.

6:59 pm: After various requests to Ruby to verify front bumper positioning I yell "FINE, I WILL GET OUT OF THE CAR AND DO IT MYSELF!!" I verify that I am no longer overhanging the cross walk. I become pleased with myself.

7:00 pm: Ruby tells me again to pull in closer. I opt to ignore her.

7:03 pm: We arrive at AMA for our 7:00 pm reservation. The rest of the party is not there.

7:04 pm: We are seated at our table and Ruby says "let's get you a cocktail to calm you down. You're getting hyper." I reply that she was really annoying while I was trying to park the car. Ruby looks hurt.

7:08 pm: My cocktail arrives. I heave a sigh of relief as I take a sip.

ALCOHOL CONSUMED: One large gin gimlet

7:20 pm: The rest of the party arrives. Poor George orders a bottle of wine.

8:20 pm: We are enjoying a wonderful dinner. Stanley and I have sweetbreads, Poor George has pasta, Ruby has quail, Pauline has fish. Poor George orders a second bottle of wine, much more tasty (and expensive) than the first. We opt not to care because we are filthy rich.

ALCOHOL CONSUMED: Approximately three or maybe four glasses of red wine.

9:07 pm: To avoid an embarrassing Asian arm-wrestle over the check, I go to the back of the restaurant and pay for dinner in private.

9:10 pm: Stanley learns of my secret pay-the-check scheme and practically throws his brother to the ground in an attempt to cram cash into George's pocket, causing a larger commotion than would have occurred if we would have simply arm wrestled over the check. The maitre d' approaches cautiously to ask if everything is ok.

9:17 pm: En route back to the car Stanley and George engage in a private conversation on the topic of why Ruby has to be invited to our outings, since she ruins things with her annoying personality. I am cited as the reason she often comes along, due to my "soft spot" for her. Silence ensues.

9:26 pm: We reach the car where I retrieve my cell phone and George and Ruby stash some personal belongings. We bid "good night" to Stan and Pauline.

9:30 pm: I retrieve a voice mail message from Beckeye who is concerned about the strange looks she is getting at the gas station as she fills up her car while wearing a 70s disco outfit. I admire her preparedness.

9:37 pm: I retrieve a text message from my friend Shania who was going to come but ended up puncturing her foot on a nail or something. I make no attempt to see if she is OK. George offers that she is probably lying to get out of the party.

9:42 pm: My friend Shelly calls to see where we are because she has arrived at the party on her own and is being circled by a lecherous looking blond guy. I assure her we will be there very soon.

9:48 pm: George lectures Ruby about the need to stop embarrassing him by talking non-stop. Ruby does not hear the lecture because she is talking about something else.

9:52 pm:
We arrive at the club and are told to stand in line outside for a few minutes.

9:54 pm: I text Shelly inside to tell her to stash up some free drinks for us before the open bar closes at 10:00. Shelly doesn't notice my message and does not order us any drinks.

10:05 pm: We enter the club. Shelly is standing near the bar trying to ignore the lecherous blond guy who is still staring at her. We hug.

10:07 pm: I order two gin & tonics and a glass of water. The bill is $18. I decide we will be drinking $5 Carslbad beers for the rest of the evening.

10:15 pm: We make our way to the back of the club and congregate at a table near the dance floor. Ruby sits down next to a handsome gentleman and then proceeds to whisper to Shelly that the man has a strange, pungent odor. Shelly looks at me questioningly.

10:18 pm: We are told to move away from the table because it has been reserved for certain VIP guests.

10:25 pm: Beckeye arrives, dressed in a gold lamé halter top, leg warmers and approximately three ounces of blue eyeshadow. Her hair is feathered in an attractive style that vaguely suggests "key party."

10:38 pm: George complains loudly that there is not enough ABBA music playing, and scorns the random assortment of 70s pop coming from the DJ's booth.

11:07 pm: Ruby looks like she's about to pass out, and George reluctantly offers to drive her home. She accepts, and George bids us a good evening with an underlying "I'm going to kill you, CP!" tone.

11:29 pm: The gals and I continue to dance and gawk at the odd assortment of party guests, which includes a disco dancing 70+ year old couple and a bona fide giant who is close to eight feet tall. We start wondering whatever happened to the guy who played Lerch on "The Addams Family."

11:47 pm: I offer to buy Beckeye a drink, and she requests an Amstel. I inform her she will be drinking Carlsbad because it's a Swedish party and it's on sale.

11:59 pm: Shelly suggests we ditch the ABBA party and head over to Club Pyramid. We agree.

ALCOHOL CONSUMED: One Gin & Tonic, two Carlsbad beers

12:07 am: We cab over to the East Village and enter Club Pyramid. I am the only one not carded at the door.

12:15 am: I buy small 5 oz. plastic cups of beer for Beckeye and me. I do not bother asking Beckeye if she would like anything else. Shelly disappears into the dance floor in search of her friends.

12:19 am: Beckeye graciously accepts her drink, assuring me that she really does like the taste of flat, room-temperature beer.

12:25 am: We join Shelly and her "gays" on the dance floor. We start dancing to "Thriller." Shelly regales us with tales of having played "Zombie Number 3" in her grade-school remake of the video. I feel old.

12:32 am: The DJ heats up with a well thought out playlist of popular 80s songs, and we get into a serious dance groove with Shelly and her Gays.

1:17 am: We are still dancing, and I scream "they are killing me with these songs!" every time another great oldie starts up. I pontificate on the fact that 80s pop music is more danceable and more fun than 70s disco. No one is listening to me.

1:28 am: I exit the dance floor and buy two more beers.

1:32 am: I return to the dance floor and empty the better part of a cup of tepid beer onto Beckeye's arm. She thanks me and keeps dancing.

1:39 am: As the first few bars of "Our Lips are Sealed" start up, Shelly asks me what group it is. I chastise her severely, then dance like crazy.

1:47 am: Beckeye complains about the noted lack of "Duran Duran" songs and suggests we take a break. I follow her off the dance floor and buy two more beers while she excuses herself to the ladies' room.

1:53 am: I sit on a bar stool with my two beers and begin talking to one of Shelly's friends. I tell her about the blogs and she asks what we write about. I try to say "I don't know, funny things I guess" but it sounds more like "I dullo, fuddy tings I gezz." I sadly come to the realization that I am plastered.

1:55 am: I attempt to recite a list of everything I had to drink until I realize Shelly's friend has no interest and that the math is too hard anyway.

2:07 am: Shelly's friend says she would like to be able to write like David Sedaris, but is worried that she's not original enough. I try to think of something inspiring to tell her, but all I come up with is an "opportunity cost" question about having sex with Mary-Ann vs. Ginger. I take comfort in the fact that my speech is too slurred for anyone to understand me .

2:11 am: Beckeye reappears and suggests we leave soon. I go back into the dance floor to say "good night" to Shelly and her Gays.

2:14 am: I hug and kiss Shelly as well as all her gays, and then fall face first onto the large platform they are dancing next to. I make a brilliant comeback to the effect of "who puddthis stage here?" Everyone ignores me because I am incoherent.

ALCOHOL CONSUMED: 4 small beers (I drank Beckeye's last one when she didn't return from the ladies' room right away.)

2:18 am: Shelly and her girlfriend follow us out of the club and we all attempt to hail cabs. I end up standing in this bizarre twisted leg position for a brief moment, and nearly fall over backwards. I feel grateful that I didn't break anything.

2:24 am: Beckeye and I walk to 2nd Avenue where we find a cab and ride back to her car. I continue to babble incoherently. Beckeye secretly toys with the idea of ditching me.

2:32 am: We arrive at Beckeye's car, and she lets me in after all. She makes me promise not to blog about some garbage she hadn't had a chance to throw out yet. I agree as long as she agrees not to tell everyone I'm an alcoholic.

2:45 am: We cross the Manhattan Bridge. I need food and decide to ask Beckeye to go with me to Purity Diner for some onion rings.

2:52 am: We get on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and as we approach my exit I realize we missed the Purity Diner. I decide to forget the whole idea.

2:57 am: I deliver explicit instructions on how many stoplights to go through to get to my street, and resume babbling about God knows what. We pass by my street and I continue talking. Beckeye asks if we passed my street and I suggest making a U-turn.

2:59 am: I exit the car and walk up my block. I consider turning around to wave to Beckeye but opt not to risk such a move for fear of falling over.

3:02 am: I enter the apartment and thank my lucky stars George had the good sense to leave a slice of pizza on the counter for me. I repeat my mantra "Georges rock. Everyone should get a George."

3:03 am: I put the pizza in the toaster oven, and fix myself a plate of cookies and a glass of milk.

3:07 am: I remove the pizza from the toaster oven and sit down on the couch to enjoy my treats.

4:48 am: I awake slouched over on the couch with half the slice of pizza on the floor below me. I pick it up and eat it.

4:56 am: I hear George in the bedroom saying "what are you doing out there? Come to bed!" "Ok," I reply, as I lie back down on the couch.

6:53 am: I awake again and finally go to bed.

TOTAL UNITS OF ALCOHOL CONSUMED OVER 8 HOURS: 12 (although the last four beers were very small.)

OVERALL EVALUATION OF CP: Inexperienced light-weight or total sad-sack lush. End result is the same either way.


Needless to say, much of today has been a wash. But now we're getting ready to go out for some Italian comfort food, so all is becoming right with the world again.

And so, Gentle Readers, until our next East Coast Blogger Conference, I will sign off.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Calling all NYC area bloggers!

Those Chicago bastar---- oops I mean bloggers, don't get to have all the fun with their exclusive little cliquey blogger gatherings. The New Yorkers are taking it back!

NYC area bloggers as well as their friends, loved ones, admirers and creepy stalkers are ALL invited to gather THIS FRIDAY, September 28 for an ABBA party hosted by a bunch of damn Swede bastar----oops I mean people.

Starting at 9:00 pm on Friday, come to NYC to meet CP, Poor George, Chelene from Bliss & Bile, Beckeye from The Pop Eye and many more as they drink $5 Carlsbad beers and dance the night away to the sounds of the greatest group of the 1970s (and no Dale, we don't mean Peaches & Herb).

Click here for details, address, directions or to buy a ticket online. (It's $5 more if you buy at the door.)

I have no idea where we'll be, but by this time you've seen enough pictures of Poor George and me on this blog to be able to spot us. Just don't do what Write Procrastinator did and walk right past me if you don't see a Chinese guy nearby; PG and I are not always joined at the hip!

You can also email me at to warn me that you'll be coming - that way I can keep an eye out for you.

Most importantly, please don't let CP and Poor George be the only Dancing Queens at this party!

See you there!

If you are a Croc-bashing flip-flop-wearer I will kill you

Flip-flop wearers force the world to look at things like this

Dale recently posted an interview with a new blogger friend who allegedly hates Crocs.

Fine, hate Crocs if you must. Personally, I love my Crocs. I don't wear them around town, mind you. I wear them in the house, in the yard, and slip them on if I have to run outside for a limited time (e.g. to take the trash out or down to the corner to buy a quart of milk.)

I do NOT wear them to work, in the office or on public transportation. I basically think of them as glorified slippers.

That being said, I do love my Crocs. They are super comfortable, provide good arch support, have breathing holes for your feet to breathe and they are easy to sanitize for good foot hygiene.

You may think they're ugly, and I would tend to agree, although they seem more kitschy than anything else. And I'm not wearing them for high fashion.

So now that we've said all that, let me just tell you all this one thing so that we can be sure to understand each other:

If you rip on my Crocs, you had BETTER fucking not be a person who wears flip-flops. And if you malign my Crocs while being a flip-flop wearer who actually wears them to work or on the subway or on Manhattan city streets, I may have to kill you.

Flip-flops suck for the following reasons:
  • They provide no support to your foot whatsoever
  • They provide no covering or protection so that, God forbid, if you should ever step onto a CROWDED SUBWAY TRAIN OR CITY STREET you will risk getting your toes stepped on. But maybe you would like that because then you get to act like a big baby instead of taking responsibility for your poor choice of footwear
  • And worst of all, they force the general public to have to look at your dirty and probably diseased feet.

Tell me people, how on earth can THIS:

be more offensive than THIS?

I know some of you wear flip-flops and you do work to keep your feet clean, well manicured and attractive - and for this I thank you. And I will not bother you about it UNLESS YOU MALIGN MY CROCS!

If you do, it will be war.



Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things I Wonder About Vol. 1

Sometimes I wonder if I should develop a drinking problem just to make life more interesting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Annoying Things My Sales Reps Do and Say to Me, Vol. (is anyone really counting these?)

Today, when asked about pricing during a presentation my sales rep and I did for some clients, my sales rep replied that he would get the initial pricing from our finance people and then he would try to "Jew them down."

He actually said this. To our clients.

The only thing that kept me from bitch slapping him later is that he happens to be Jewish. But no matter. There are certain things you don't say in any kind of professional setting, let alone in front of one's clients.

And I believe "Jew them down" would be one of them.

Would somebody please help me get the fuck out of here?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Tale of 9/11 Post-Trauma

I don't particularly care for 9/11 hype of any kind. While I understand the spirit behind wanting to honor the memory of the fallen victims and heroes of 9/11, I can't help but to feel suspicious of some of the motivations behind all the hoopla. Political motivations, or the motivations of a lot of drama queens trying to feel closer to the tragedy. Human nature either way, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Last year was particularly annoying. For months leading up to the big "five-year anniversary," anyone coming within 100 yards of a TV set within the United States was bombarded with gruesome images and ominous reminders that 9/11/06 was going to be some special sort of milestone in post-9/11 US history. As if the pain of burying your loved one is going to feel any different one year, five years or ten years later. I was sick of all the buzz almost even before it began.

I haven't discussed my personal experiences of 9/11 much at all, which is unusual for me as I've always been a big fan of talk therapy. Something's bothering you? Unload to a friend. Get it off your chest. But I find it difficult to talk about any of this stuff. Or especially talking about the death of my nephew in the Iraq war, a direct result of what happened on 9/11. Talking about either of these things doesn't make any of it go away, and doesn't decrease the pain one iota. All it does is make me tear up and try to change the subject or leave the room. It all sucks no matter what you do, so I just try not to do anything.


Despite my desire to shun all things 9/11, I did allow myself to be drawn into the 2,996 Project where 2,996 different bloggers, of which I was one, researched and wrote a tribute to one 9/11 victim. It seemed like an interesting endeavor, and something I could do quietly in the privacy of my bedroom with my laptop computer. No need for a lot of fanfare. I enjoyed writing about my "victim," Geoffrey Thomas Campbell and I was glad to have a chance to ---I don't know, do something. I heard from several people who knew Geoffrey, and it made me feel good to know they were touched by my tribute as well as to receive their thanks.


I posted my tribute to Geoffrey late at night on September 10, and then as any egotistical blogger would do, got up in the morning and went straight to my blog to see if there were any comments. There were quite a few left by other 2,996 bloggers, and so I felt compelled to link to their respective blogs to read their tributes and leave comments of my own.

I got quite caught up in this little project, and soon noticed it was close to 9:30 - meaning I was late for work. No matter, I thought, I didn't have anything incredibly important going on in the office except for a client meeting later that morning. I took my time, showered and got dressed. I made it to the subway around 10:30 or so, which was kind of nice as the morning rush had already well passed. I sat down with my New York Times and settled in for my 45 minute ride into Manhattan.


The New York Times was rather odd that day. A lot of full page remembrance ads from large corporations and other companies based in New York, commemorating the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The train was very quiet, and I recall getting stuck on one of the ads. It was mostly white space, with small black lettering. So stark that I couldn't look away.


After about 20 minutes we came to the Manhattan Bridge, which my usual morning train crosses. Riding across the bridge is always my favorite part of the commute, especially when it's a nice sunny day, as 9/11/2006 was. I enjoy feeling the train emerge from the dark subterranean tunnel into the natural outdoor light, and often I'll stop reading the paper and just enjoy looking out the window.

This day was strange, though. I looked over at lower Manhattan and just thought about the towers. I thought about the morning that George rode that same train and watched the towers on fire as he made his way to work. I thought about what people must have been thinking. I thought about the people who were on that train who knew people in the towers. What that ride must have been like.

Then I started thinking about my own personal 9/11 trauma.


I had flown from New York to DC on the morning of 9/11/2001. I was completing law school at Georgetown, but was only living in DC three or four days a week, generally spending Friday through Monday home in Brooklyn with George. I had stayed in New York late on Monday September 10th because I had job interviews--- so I decided to fly down to DC on Tuesday morning rather than taking the train on Monday evening as was my usual habit. I figured I could get to DC in time for my 9:00 tax class and all would be fine.

I landed in DC around 8:00 am, and rode the Metro from National Airport to the Georgetown Law campus which is about four blocks from the Capitol. I don't recall exactly what I did - I think I went right to my classroom to finish up that day's reading. Pretty soon it was very close to 9:00 am and there was no one coming into the classroom. Strange. But I was glad for the make-up time because I was behind on the reading.

At about 9:45 I was sick of reading my boring tax law textbook, so I decided to go ask around about my missing classmates - I figured the class had been canceled and I hadn't been informed. (As an aside, that is what happened; the professor had canceled the class on Monday night, but the registrar's office somehow neglected to leave me a phone message as they usually do in that circumstance.)

I walked down to the lower level of the school building and saw a huge crowd of students hovering around a TV set in the small dining area. I approached and asked a young woman what was going on.

"Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and another one bombed the Pentagon. They think it's terrorists." Her face looked ashen as she said this.

"What???" I exclaimed. The World Trade Center was one thing - and terrible of course - but the PENTAGON? Someone bombed the PENTAGON? I felt my insides start to churn.

"Are we at war??? What is going on?"

"I don't know." She started to cry and ducked into the chapel room in the middle of that floor. I proceeded into the TV lounge to join the crowd.

The next few minutes are a total blur to me now; I was just trying to comprehend what was happening. I remember thinking it all had to be a mistake. Something must have gone haywire with the air traffic control signals which was causing the pilots to crash. Or some crazy shit like that. I just couldn't believe we were being attacked.


Then the towers started falling down, and people were screaming and crying.

"They said the Capitol is next! We have to get out of here!" I heard someone say.

"But where are we going to go?"

"There isn't anywhere safer. Just everyone stay put." It was starting to feel like pandemonium. I couldn't look at the TV any more so I decided to pace around the floor when I ran into my friend, Father Alexei, the campus priest. He looked like he was going to have some kind of fit, and he grabbed me into a big hug. I felt numb.

"Well this just brings Bosnia and Lebanon and Israel right home to us, doesn't it?" he said. I followed him into the chapel because I didn't know what else to do. Students all around were kneeling in prayer, most of them crying.

We all thought it was the end. That any minute the bombs were going to start dropping.


I sat down just to be quiet for a few minutes and started thinking about George. I knew George usually took the train that goes over the bridge, but that is an express train. What if he didn't feel like switching to the express train that morning? What if he had decided to stay on the local train, the one that goes right under the World Trade Center? It wouldn't be unthinkable for him to do that.

And what about Mindy? She was in New York that day for a client meeting. Her meeting was originally supposed to be in the WTC, but she had told me the day before they had switched the location to midtown. But what if something happened and they switched it back? Could she have been in one of the towers?

And on & on & on. Not to mention that I was fully prepared for all hell to break loose on Capitol Hill.

I started to panic.


I was an officer in the law school's gay & lesbian student organization, which gave me unlimited access to our little office on that floor of the law school building. (Being a member of an oppressed minority group does have its advantages.) So I decided to go hang out in the office where there was a couch and a phone.

When I used my code to open the door lock I discovered about five other students already in there, all making panicked phone calls to their loved ones. "I think we should rent a car and get out of the city" one guy said. I can see why people say it's important not to panic in an emergency; it spreads so easily. That one panicky sentence out of his mouth threw me into another tailspin of intense worry. People are running all over crying, talking about needing to flee to the countryside. This is war. This is seriously fucked up.


Eventually I got my turn at the phone, which I used to make teary calls to George and Mindy. They both thought I was crying because I was so worried about them - which I was, of course. I just don't think either one of them ever understood just how much I thought our entire world was coming to an end, though. At the moment I left those messages I thought it was probably "good-bye" for all three of us.


Next call was to my sister. She picked up the phone so nonchalantly.

"Hi! How's my favorite little brother?"

"You don't have the TV on, do you?"

"No. Why?"

"We're being attacked. New York and DC are under attack."

"WHAT?" She shrieked. I heard her flick on the television, at which point she started gasping. "I can't believe this! What on earth is happening?"

Then I lost it.

"I'm stuck down here on Capitol Hill and they say we're next and George was probably on the subway and he could have been on the train that goes under the towers and I don't know where he is!!!!" I was bawling now. Being no stranger to familial hysterics, Marg snapped into nurse mode.

"Deary, George is fine, I know he is. Now give me all the different phone numbers where you guys can be reached, or other people who he might call to let them know he's OK. I'll help you find him."

"OK. I have to go. I love you." I thought it could have been our last conversation.


I stayed in the office for the next several hours with a few of my law school friends who eventually showed up, which was a great comfort at that point. Every 20 minutes or so one of us would venture out into the TV lounge to see if there were any updates.

After three hours with no more extreme calamities (save for the horrible Pennsylvania plane crash of course) we started to calm down, figuring nothing more was going to happen that day. My friends invited me to come home with them, but I decided I wanted to get to my room in Silver Spring, Maryland, and start thinking about how I was going to get back to New York to find George.

Luckily, I knew he was alive at this point because we had both had the good sense to call my cousin out in California to let him know we were OK and to ask for his help in finding each other.


I barely slept a wink that night. I left my radio tuned to NPR because I wanted to know right away if anything else happened. This meant being forced to listen to the same gruesome newscast all night long. Over and over they kept playing the voice of a woman on the street who was screaming "they're jumping out the windows! People are jumping out the windows! Oh my God!"


The trains were running again the following morning, so I got myself on an Amtrak Acela back to New York. It took an unbelievably long time because of all the dramas and delays getting into the city. Hours and hours later the train finally pulled into Penn Station under Madison Square Garden.

And this is the memory I just can't shake.

I had just exited the car of the train and was making my way to the subway tunnels when I noticed that every inch of every wall was covered, completely plastered with "Missing Person" posters. Makeshift posters with photos and magic markers, people as desperate as I had been to find George, but who weren't as lucky as I was to have my loved one still alive. People who had watched the towers collapse, knowing their loved ones were inside. People who already knew the truth, but who needed so badly to hang on to any small shred of hope.

It absolutely broke my heart.


I didn't return to DC for another week; I couldn't bear to leave George alone up here. Everything was just so bizarre. An eerie quiet in the streets, with such a sad heaviness in the air. And the smell. It was just awful, as we live just downwind from lower Manhattan, across the water. Sometimes the odor was so strong I wondered if we should be wearing some sort of face mask to avoid breathing in the dust and fumes. One time it got so bad it actually woke me up in the middle of the night, and I rushed to turn on the TV just to make sure nothing new was happening.


After about three days of non-stop 9/11 talk (even though we weren't yet calling it "9/11") I just kind of shut down from it all. I didn't want to hear any more stories about where people were and what they were doing when they heard and who they called etc. etc. Listening to any of that just brought me back to that awful place when I thought George was crushed in the subway and the bombs were about to drop on the Capitol. It was a place I didn't want to be any more.

So, any time the TV started talking about the attacks, I switched the channel. I stopped reading the newspapers. I averted my eyes whenever I encountered a wall of "missing person" posters - which was pretty much anywhere you went in public. After about a week my friend Stephanie and I were talking and she blurted out "I wish they would take all those posters down. What, do they think these people are just wandering around the city?"

Every now and again I would notice some "pre-attack" poster or advertisement featuring the World Trade Center, which just seemed so bizarre - and unbelievably sad. One day I was on the subway and was noticing all the "old" posters with pictures of the WTC. I just stared and stared at one of them for so long that I missed my stop and had to turn around. I felt like a zombie. I think everyone in New York did.


Which brings us back to my subway ride to work on September 11, 2006. The big five-year anniversary. As I looked out the window at where the towers used to stand and thought about the sheer horror of that day, the image of those "missing person" posters creeped up on me. I felt myself go short of breath, and I sat down, closing my eyes. Nothing but miles and miles of posters. "Last seen 9/11/2001. Worked the breakfast shift at 'Windows on the World.' If you have any information about this person, please call (212) 555-1234."

All those people. All those people.

I started tearing up, which I really didn't want to do on a public subway train. But the harder I tried not to, the more the tears just forced themselves out.

All those people. All those posters with all those people.

I started sobbing. The gentleman across the aisle looked over at me, so I just turned my head.


Pretty soon we were back in the tunnel coming into lower Manhattan. We approached our first stop and I was still crying.

"Ok, this is getting ridiculous," I thought. I have cried many times before, and it's usually a somewhat cathartic experience. A release of pent up emotion. But this was starting to feel different. I really didn't want to be crying, and I really really wanted to stop. But I couldn't.


After about the third stop in Manhattan I was starting to freak out with the crying thing. "What is wrong with me? Something must be wrong with me or I wouldn't be in a non-stop crying fit!" Of course, the best thing to do in any emotionally tenuous situation is to panic and allow the whole thing to snowball. I'm really good at that.

"I have to be at my client's in 45 minutes. And I'm a mess. What am I going to do?"

I decided just to pack it in and go home. But I didn't have my cell phone! OK, so I'll use the pay phone. But wait, I have no change! It's OK, I'll just call our 800 number and speak to my boss. She'll call my client for me. But what is our 800 number?

I was COMPLETELY useless. A total mess.


Lacking a better alternative, I decided to go into the office with the hope that I would stop crying by the time I got there. By this time I had been crying so long and so hard that I was kind of doing that panting/gasping kind of thing which would have made people think I was crazy if it hadn't been for my smart business casual outfit.

I started considering whom I could talk to in the office in the event I couldn't stop crying. It was not going to be a pleasant decision.


I did the gasping sob thing all the way up 44th street until just the point where I had to turn the corner onto 5th Avenue, where my office is. And suddenly I regained my composure, or at least well enough to fumble in my briefcase for a pair of sunglasses and pack of Kleenex. But no more sobbing.

I went up the elevator and zoomed past our receptionist with a very quick "good morning!" Thankfully, hardly anyone was around and I was able to make it all the way to my cube without having to see or speak to anyone. I immediately called my client and begged off sick.

"Wow, I hope you feel better. You sound awful."

"I know, I really need to go home to bed. Thanks for understanding."


The thought of returning to our neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn was more than I could handle. Bay Ridge had just about the highest concentration of 9/11 victims of anywhere in the city. It felt like a very sad place, and I didn't want to be sad.

I called George.

"Will you come to the city and get me?"

"Oh, aren't you feeling well?"

"No, I'm OK. But I'd just like to spend the day with you."

"Awww!" He made a sweet noise, the kind he makes when he gets the warm fuzzies over me. "What do you want to do?"

"I don't care. Have lunch, maybe. Just come, please."


Georges rock. Everyone should get a George.


George and I had a lovely afternoon together, just enjoying each other and enjoying being alive. Isn't that the secret to life?

And that is the day we saw Little Miss Sunshine. Which led to our online pageant.

So I guess 9/11 doesn't always have to be bad, does it?