Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Remembering by Betsy

I can’t remember if it’s always been like this, but lately “remembering” issues are cropping up all the time. I’ll think of something I have to do and two minutes later I’ve completely forgotten it and I’m on to something else. Often I’ll list in my head a number of chores and tasks that are absolutely necessary and important to get done right away. So important that I decide that I simply MUST make a list immediately of all the items. Then within minutes I have forgotten to make the list, I have forgotten most of the chores and I’ve been completely distracted by a totally unrelated activity. When I’ve completed that activity, I can’t remember any of the other items that I was going to write on a list that I can’t remember if I have written and if I have written it I certainly can’t remember where the list is.

Having described this state of affairs, I am left scratching my head and saying, “This person lives in a state of constant confusion.” But it’s not like that really. It’s because I am very focused on what I am doing that the other things are forgotten--until I’m finished with what I’m focused on. Again I can’t remember if it’s always been like this.

They say that in our old age we forget things. But I have to wonder if it’s not just memory overload. After all an 80 year old has four times as much to remember as a twenty year old. Shouldn’t that alone make it harder to recall things

When it comes to remembering the past, I often wonder why it is that we have a clear picture in our memories of select incidences. What is it about those particular happenings that make them memorable. For me, it could be a good experience or a bad experience or a rather bland experience. But, for some reason, that memory is the one I access. For some it seems memories of the past are readily available and for others never available.

Perhaps it is a basic talent of sorts for some. I see this in my 3 children who all are of normal intelligence, but one has ready access to memories the others do not.

Then some are predisposed to remember numbers, others remember names, some remember music better than others. 

Then there is inherited memory. An all-consuming topic for the modern psychologist interested in the study of memory. On that subject: someone once suggested to me that I have a phobia for snakes because when I lived in a tree, in a past life, a snake got me. Yikes! I’m glad I don’t remember that!

Most of what I think about memory is based on observation or belief. I have very few facts. The human brain being the complicated “animal” that it is will be the enigma that it is to the lay person for many years to come--at least I believe it will.

Enough rambling about remembering. It’s time to check “write about remembering” off my list and start a new list of what to do next.

© 11 March 2013

About the Author  

Betsy has been active in the GLBT community including PFLAG, the Denver women’s chorus, OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change). She has been retired from the Human Services field for about 15 years. Since her retirement, her major activities include tennis, camping, traveling, teaching skiing as a volunteer instructor with National Sports Center for the Disabled, and learning. Betsy came out as a lesbian after 25 years of marriage. She has a close relationship with her three children and enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren. Betsy says her greatest and most meaningful enjoyment comes from sharing her life with her partner of 25 years, Gillian Edwards.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Details by Will Stanton

There is an old saying “It’s all in the details.” That is, it is good to have grand designs in mind, but one cannot neglect the details if you want to succeed with your plans. Neglecting the details can come back to bite you.

A few years ago, Lockheed Martin spent millions on an aerospace project. It was launched but failed. In reviewing the plans, they discovered that there was a misplaced decimal point.

In the 1980s, the NASA space shuttle Challenger blew up, killing all the crew. Apparently, the engineers ignored the fact that the outside temperature was lower than in usual launches, and the O-rings failed, leaking fuel out of the booster rocket.

Anyone who is familiar with the Titanic disaster knows that the engineers overlooked the fact that extremely cold water weakens metal, an especially critical point considering the primitive production methods of the time. Also, they did not stop to think using cheaper iron rivets instead of steel was of particular concern. The Titanic’s hull was not punctured. Instead, scraping along the iceberg popped open the rivets, letting the icy waters rush in.

During the heyday of steam locomotives, the crews always scrubbed down the drive rods every time that they stopped for refueling and maintenance, Cleaning the drive rods was not meant to make them pretty. The crews regularly looked for possible cracks. If a drive rod broke, that would derail the loco and possibly kill the engineer and fireman. This procedure still is done today with tourist trains like Union Pacific’s big Number 844.

In the late 1940s, the crew on a huge C&O Alleghany locomotive outside Hinton, West Virginia, apparently did not pay attention to details. The fireman did not concern himself very much that the water level had run low. The crown sheet overheated and ruptured, instantaneously turning the remaining water into steam. The huge explosion obliterated the most powerful steam locomotive ever built, blowing to pieces the crew, and scattering torn steel shards hundreds of yards away. The tower man in the signal tower next to the track was unhurt but probably had to change his pants.

I’ve never been much of a detail man. My mind is tuned to view the big picture, to dream of the grand design. Details are such a bother, especially if I am not particularly interested in what I should be doing as opposed to what I want to do. I spend far more attention to details when I am dealing with my hobbies and interests such as my music-video productions or my Story-Time presentations. Then I look carefully at the details. But, when it has come to taking care of my self, looking into the future, and planning for financial security, personal care, retirement, and so on, I seem to have been too bored with those concerns and, consequently, ignored the details.

So, here I am, late in life, discovering that there is a crack in my drive rod, and I have let the water run low in my boiler. I’m just hoping that the rest of my life is not derailed.

© 09 December 2012

About the Author

I have had a life-long fascination with people and their life stories. I also realize that, although my own life has not brought me particular fame or fortune, I too have had some noteworthy experiences and, at times, unusual ones. Since I joined this Story Time group, I have derived pleasure and satisfaction participating in the group. I do put some thought and effort into my stories, and I hope that you find them interesting.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Summer Camp by Ricky

I went to a Boy Scout summer camp only six-times: twice as a camper, once as a staff member, and thrice as a substitute adult leader.

The first three times were all at Camp Winton along the Bear River Reservoir near Jackson, California. Two of the last three were at Camp Sol-Meyer (near the Fort McKavett Historical Site) and the last at Camp Fawcett (on the Nueces River near Barksdale), both camps in Texas.

I was 15 the first time I went to camp. Our Scoutmaster, Bob Deyerberg, was there the whole week and two other adults took half a week each to be with us. We worked on rank advancement, crafts, swimming, canoeing, relaxing, and enjoying a week away from home with many friends at once. It was like an extended weekend campout. I bought a moccasin kit and assembled it before I went home.

The next year I was 16 when we went. One weekend before the camp opened, myself, our Scoutmaster, and three other members of our troop were there for a three-day work detail to prepare the camp for opening. The we were there because at the previous Spring Camporee, we had all been “tapped out” (pushed violently from behind) from a council-fire circle to be inducted into the Order of the Arrow (a BSA honor society). The induction ceremony is held at the summer camp pre-opening work detail weekend. It was called The Ordeal. And so and ordeal it was. But also mostly fun.

When our week to arrive at camp that year was upon us, none of our adult dads could stay at camp with us, so a rather new to our troop 19-year old assistant Scoutmaster stayed with us. We enjoyed the same activities as the previous year except it was not quite as fun when back at our campsite due to the assistant Scoutmaster. He was rude and obnoxious and most of us were afraid of him because he carried a large knife of the Jim Bowie style but not as large. Unfortunately, he liked to brandish it and would poke our backsides with the point, if we were not watching. When our Scoutmaster and other fathers came to get us, myself and the boys in the car I was riding in all complained about him and at the next troop meeting the other adults told him that he must leave the troop. He was disappointed but we all were relieved.

I did not go to camp when I was 17 because the dates conflicted with my father’s 30-days in the summer visitation rights. My Scoutmaster did mail me a postcard from camp, which came in the mail while I was gone. I always thought it was a very nice thing to do. He really liked me.

At age 18, I was on the staff of the camp. I worked in the commissary section making sure each troop received and turned in all issued cooking gear. I also ensured that each troop received the correct amount of food for cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if it was not their turn to eat in the dining hall. I also taught the motor boating merit badge.

The staff members designed and made a large wall plaque on which to record our names to hang on the lodge wall as long as the building lasted. It was my idea to spell “staff” as “staph” and all the other guys agreed it would be funny. So we did.

Staph of  '66 Plaque

As you look at the photo of the plaque, you will notice on the left side a circle with what looks like two “X’s”. That is the symbol or logo brand of the Winton Brothers logging company which donated the land for the camp to the Boy Scouts of America. The “X’s” are not “X’s” but to “W’s” back-to-back representing the two Winton brothers. Because I was teaching the Motor Boating merit badge and because the current TV show, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, featured an Admiral Nelson, I printed my name around the circle as “Admiral Nelson”. I also wrote it normally somewhere else on the plaque, but I don’t remember exactly where.

While undergoing training with the Air Force at San Angelo AFB, Texas in 1968, I volunteered to be a temporary adult leader for the base troop and two other Texas troops because no troop adults could get off work for a week to stay with the boys. The first time I was still 19 and the last two times I had turned 20. The second event was the time I was seduced by the 16-year old senior patrol leader. All in all, those week-long camps were enjoyable because it got me out of three-weeks of “base details” while waiting for phase two training to begin or transfer orders following my being molested by the base psychiatrist which I wrote and posted on my blog under the title of Visits with the Doctor on Summer Afternoons.

In 2011 I visited BSA Camp Winton again after it closed for the season. Fortunately, there were five people there doing some pre-winter repairs and completing the camp shutdown activities. I was able to enter the lodge and wander the grounds reliving some memories and taking photographs. The camp was essentially the same, but the reservoir was significantly lower from when I was there as a boy.

This topic brought back many pleasant memories.

Hiking Trail to Camp Winton

Camp Winton Lodge/Dining Hall

Camp Winton Dining Hall Interior

Dining Hall Fireplace

© 19 August 2013

About the Author

I was born in June of 1948 in Los Angeles, living first in Lawndale and then in Redondo Beach. Just prior to turning 8 years old in 1956, I began living with my grandparents on their farm in Isanti County, Minnesota for two years during which time my parents divorced.

When united with my mother and stepfather two years later in 1958, I lived first at Emerald Bay and then at South Lake Tahoe, California, graduating from South Tahoe High School in 1966. After three tours of duty with the Air Force, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I lived with my wife and four children until her passing away from complications of breast cancer four days after the 9-11 terrorist attack.

I came out as a gay man in the summer of 2010. I find writing these memories to be therapeutic.

My story blog is, TheTahoeBoy.Blogspot.com.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Still Learning by Ray S

Concerning today’s topic here are some words of wisdom from a wise old elder of the tribe.

The saying goes “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks (depending on the trick)” but here’s a selection of learned gems to remind us what we may have already learned or can still work on for our own enlightenment.

1. Compromise is what you do when you think you have to.

2. Seems like it is never too late to try something new and learn from it.

3. Did you parents know what they did with you and where did they learn it?

4. Life is learning. A lot like a pin ball game. You bounce from one pin to the next and ultimately end up in a hole.

5. Learning’s most beautiful aspect is the acquiring of the ability to love one another and the defeat of learned guilt.

6. Still, learning is knowing oneself and how to love yourself and knowing that in the end everything’s OK. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.

The End.

© 18 November 2013

About the Author

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday by Phillip Hoyle

Holiday: an old word arising from the elision of holy and day back in the years of Middle English. Often the word connotes in modern usage a break from the usual, its old religious origin often forgotten. Philosopher Josef Pieper’s essays on Festivity bases holidays as a break in schedule, a change from the norm. The European origin, and probably others, is located in setting aside time and activity in honor of the Gods and in some Christian groups to the Saints who afford access to God.

I can ask: What holy things are found in the American Christmas Holiday? Of course there is always the theme of deified incarnation, the reading of holy stories from a holy book, the cult of midnight mass, Christmas communion, and a vast array of holy songs sung. But I often attend a family Christmas Eve function of my partner’s clan in which not one word of religion or prayer is spoken. There is a tree in each of the houses through which the celebration circulates. There may be Christmas music on the stereo system, but movies watched are not religious in nature. No word of piety is breathed. If there is a religious symbol present, it is the family itself or a bauble on the tree.

My guess is that my partner’s father, the one who died over ten years ago, did lead a prayer before the meal. He was pious in some sense related to his Holiness Methodist upbringing and may have led a prayer with and for his family at such gatherings. When his voice ceased, no son or daughter took up the task.

Well, back to the philosopher Pieper. The clan does leave work and gather on such days as Christmas and Easer. Some of these folk do go to church—two Catholic families, one Lutheran, and one wife in another who is Pentecostal. Most grandkids and great grandkids seem to have no current religious connection. The concept of civil religion seems to have triumphed in my partner’s Scots-Irish derived clan. The day off is sacred in itself; family responsibility rules the gathering; and thankfully, individuals in the group generally like one another.

But this analysis begs the question of our storytelling group. I’m supposed to be telling my story. I do retain a meaningful relationship with holy notions and practices. I attend the annual confab as the gay partner of a son of the family.
They are kind of my family now—well, one of them—these past years.

But what about me, about my Christmas? I pulled away from the church, professionally; a dozen years ago I left the planning, programming, and pastoring aspects of church life. I attended a number of churches after that but didn’t find a home. I began to work on some Sundays. I ended up with gay partners who didn’t attend services or otherwise identify with a congregation.

So Christmas comes. Do I want any part of it? (I analyze so much I can’t stand it), but I do like the gatherings, the giving, and the great gobs of goodwill, to say nothing about the generous portions of food. I like the decorations. I like the specials on TV and radio. I like the music although I tire of its incessant use for sales promotion.

I like the music but don’t believe literally the mythology of births, Santas, elves, Saints, shepherds, kings, and angels. I loathe the content of the well-meant sentiment of putting Christ back into Christmas as if he were a commodity to be manipulated. I laugh at statuettes of ol’ Santa (that means holy) Clause kneeling before a manger that cradles a holy baby. I accept that such symbols may be meaningful, sacredly meaningful, to others, and I don’t sneer publicly. I simply groan inwardly and think how relieved I am that I don’t anymore work daily in the task of religious education!

I want to keep Christmas, so my Cratchet asks Morley for the day away from the office. I want to keep the day holy. It’s in the Big Ten to remember certain days to keep them holy. So I do keep a holiday in which to recall a divine idea that lets laborers and working animals rest as the old myth asserts of the creator who rested on the seventh day.

I try to relax, sing a song, laugh, tell a story, give gifts, receive gifts with gratitude, take stock of the human condition as I understand it, have sex, read a book, tell a joke, hug and kiss my partner’s relatives, and say “Merry Christmas” in a polite and warm manner. 

So on this day of days I say "Merry Christmas to you, too."
Denver, 2010 (revised 2013)

About the Author

Phillip Hoyle lives in Denver and spends his time writing, painting, and socializing. He worked in churches for thirty years, and for fifteen years kept a massage practice that funded his art activities. He has retired and now focuses on creating beauty in art and writing. He volunteers at The Center leading “Telling Your Story.”
He also blogs at artandmorebyphilhoyle.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Letter to My Younger Self by Pat Gourley

My goodness where to start? Perhaps Dan Savage has written the ultimate short three word letter for many of us: It gets better!

If I ever needed to hear that advice it was probably around the age of eleven or twelve. For several years around that time, the late 1950’s, I was really tormented with the whole concept of sin and that I was certainly going to hell for being the major league transgressor I was sure that I was. My weekly confessions to the local parish priest were affairs I would agonize endlessly over for hours. I often felt they were not complete and that I had left some major heinous sin out of the litany for that week.

One might think this had to do with newly discovered joy of masturbation but I was nowhere near that, not for a few years yet, I was a late bloomer really. No it was more a vague persistent ennui, a sense that I was not quite right but different from my peers in not a good Catholic way. I distinctly remember around that time hearing or perhaps being called “queer” and looking this up in the dictionary. The definition given was “odd” and when I decided this was a great word to hurtle at my numerous siblings and cousins I was reprimanded soundly by my mother to not use that word because it could mean something besides “odd” though I was never provided with other meanings until several years later.

There was never much overt bulling in my Catholic School. The nuns were very good at enforcing order and beside they and our other non-clergy instructors were too busy enforcing a much more insidious and blanketed psychological form of bullying under the guise of shaping and forming the minds of young Catholic citizens.

Because of this nagging worry and guilt that my confessions did not include every sin committed I would often not take Sunday Communion. The injunction was that you needed to have confessed all outstanding sins on your books before partaking of the flesh and blood of Christ in the form of a miraculously transformed little wafer.

I don’t want to venture too far into the weeds of self-psychoanalysis here but I do think it was my fledgling queer awakening that was at the root of much of my sense of not being worthy to ingest the body and blood of Christ. It would of course attract much unwanted attention from family and fellow parishioners when I would not go up for Communion many Sunday mornings. My parents were aware of my ongoing angst and my dad even tried to address it one evening in a car ride we took together. In hindsight this was a very loving gesture but tended mostly to cement even further that there was something different about me. I now am reminded of a favorite caveat from Harry Hay one where he would say that straight fathers could smell a gay son. We actually smelled different was his conversation evoking meme. Perhaps my dad smelled something distinctly different about me.

My mental and physical agitation around trying to be the “best little boy in the world” would often take the form of behaviors now easily labeled as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). My actions were called “scrupulous” at the time and though I am not sure of this I think the parish priest reassured my parents that I would outgrow it. My OCD was of course really the result of buying into the Catholic Religion and its not so subtle forms of child abuse and trying I thought to respond appropriately. I am not referring to the really rarer than you might think forms of overt pedophilia some clergy excelled in but rather I feel the much more widespread, serious and damaging psychological terror inflicted by the relentless indoctrination. Applying the word ‘scrupulous’ to me was of course incorrect. The correct word to use would have been “temperamental” a code word for a gay fellow in the 1950’s. Is he ‘temperamental’ men would ask of one another when discretion was appropriate?

The Baltimore Catechism to call attention to one such codified bunch of superstitious baloney from my childhood was a daily part of our school lives. This catechism was a set of questions and of course the absolutely correct answers, which we were repeatedly, told we needed to accept on Faith. Talk about a recipe for mental strife if ever one existed particularly those who are not prone to being comfortable with simply being a quiescent blob of protoplasm. It is I now feel one of the worst forms of child abuse to begin fostering on young innocent emerging minds while still at their mothers breast that they are sinners right out of the box and in need of salvation. Later on in one who is beginning to sense a profound difference from all those he encounters around him this can be quite the obstacle to overcome! A brief quote here from the late Christopher Hitchens on “Faith:”

“ Faith is the surrender of the mind, it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals.”

So my letter to myself at this time in my life of great mental turmoil would really just be advice to hang in there and it will get better. In a few short years you will run into a nun who will challenge many of your most firmly held beliefs on how the world really works. You also will meet and begin having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of your high school teachers and the first such episode will be on a dissecting table in the school biology lab with Jesus looking down from a crucifix right behind you. Wow, did it ever get better.

© October 2013

About the Author

I was born in La Porte Indiana in 1949, raised on a farm and schooled by Holy Cross nuns. The bulk of my adult life, some 40 plus years, was spent in Denver, Colorado as a nurse, gardener and gay/AIDS activist. I have currently returned to Denver after an extended sabbatical in San Francisco, California.

Monday, December 23, 2013

No Good Will Come of It by Nicholas

‘No good will come of it’—now that’s a really sweeping statement. Even bad things can have good consequences or side effects. But this is definite and universal. There is no hope, no chance of redeeming value. It’s a lost cause. Give up, get out, I’d turn back if I were you. Absolutely no good will come of it.

It’s hard to think of where this sweeping judgment could apply. Since the only absolute I really accept is to never say never, I am pressed to think of situations of no good whatsoever. Only a few situations come to mind and that surprises me because, as a pessimist, I am sure there must be plenty more.

One such situation is the closing of bookstores. There is no substitute to browsing bookshelves in stores and in libraries. You get to touch, handle and sample any part of the book you’re contemplating. You find other books that you never knew existed. Internet shopping can give thousands of titles in a flash but they’re just titles, most of which are irrelevant and planted by search engines paid to flaunt them. Looking for something on the Internet is like trying to find that postage stamp you mistakenly threw away in a garbage can. You have to plow through a ton of rubbish to find that little thing you need. This advance is not an improvement.

If that example is small, here’s a bigger one. Very clearly no good will, or has ever, come of the combination of politics and religion. Religion can sometimes produce good and even politics can sometimes produce good. But put the two together and, you can be sure no good will come of it. Uniting religious fervor and self-righteousness with political power is a recipe for disaster. Islam is showing us that now; Christianity had its romp with power and violence centuries ago. Christianity now is kind of a toothless tiger but countless millions had to suffer and die to take the teeth out of that tiger. Islam once saved Western Civilization from itself (see Christian violence above) but as it comes more to be identified with politics seems to have degenerated into being hardly civilized at all. Religion with power makes for no good.

Another situation from which no good will come is the arbitrary, unilateral use of military or covert violence by one nation against another or against individuals one government deems dispensable. I am a member of the nation currently most guilty of this offense. From toppling democratically-elected governments in the 1950s to suit US interests (i.e., oil and money) to trying to squelch popular revolutions for independence (e.g., Vietnam) to sending drones to pick off individuals designated as enemies, military power almost always creates situations worse than the ones it supposedly fixes. All those actions have generated more threats to American interests and security than did they stop. National self-interest can be its own worst enemy.

Jumping from commerce, theology and international relations to the personal level, repressing one’s sexual or gender identity guarantees that no good will come of it. One pays a steep price for tampering with something so basic and innate as trying to smother a natural and irrepressible side of personality. By tampering I mean refusing to be gay or lesbian or your true gender. Your own life can be reduced to emotional squalor and others’ lives around you will get caught in the back splash. It is simply dangerous not to be who you are.

This has really been more of a hodgepodge sermon than a story but I hope some good can come of it.

© May 2013

About the Author

Nicholas grew up in Cleveland, then grew up in San Francisco, and is now growing up in Denver. He retired from work with non-profits in 2009 and now bicycles, gardens, cooks, does yoga, writes stories, and loves to go out for coffee.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Visit to the Doctor and Nurse by Michael King

I think the first time I had a severe swelling reaction was in Duluth in 1964. I woke up one morning and my face was so swollen that I couldn’t open my eyes. After a few hours the swelling subsided enough for me to go to the base medical clinic. No one knew what it was, why it was and nothing was done. The swelling went down and the mystery was unsolved.

I’m not sure how many times I had these swelling occurrences but they were always in a different part of the body.

The last one was the most dramatic. I woke up with a terrible need to urinate, a greater need than at any other time in my life. I was in terrible pain and unable to pee. My wife drove me to the emergency room. I remember the doctor stated that it was unusual for this to happen to someone so young. I was around 37 I think. My urinary track was swollen shut and my bladder was close to bursting. In another hour or so it would have. The doctor thought at first that it was an enlarged prostrate. It wasn’t. I had never had a catheter and felt totally violated as it was being inserted. The nurse appeared in front of me with a bucket and when the tube finally entered the bladder the force of the urine was too much for her bucket. It was knocked out of her hands. She was doused from head to toe and the wall and door across the room was generously sprayed.

I had to use the catheter for some days until the swelling totally subsided. The doctor was concerned that next time it could be my heart or at least a more serious place if and when I would have another swelling episode. He had no idea as to the cause.

As I have done in the past I pulled a Jimmy Carter and sat in a chair in the living room and declared that I wasn’t going to move till I had an answer as to the cause of these swelling episodes. Jimmy Carter did something similar with the Rose Garden during the Iranian hostage crisis. Almost instantly I had an answer. A memory of my ear swelling some years before when I wore a cheap earring popped into my consciousness. It was nickel plated. Therefore I must have an allergy to nickel. My dermatologist said there was no such thing as a metal allergy. I knew better and since then the medical profession acknowledges and treats metal allergies.

I eliminated all aluminum cookware, foil and used only glass, iron and stainless steel cookware, avoided restaurant food (they cook in aluminum almost exclusively). There is often nickel in aluminum products. The amount varies as aluminum is often recycled. I have not had a swelling episode since.

There were many other times I ended up in emergency rooms, but I think seeing that nurse get doused is one of my most vivid memories when it comes to a visit to a doctor and a nurse.

© 24 May 2013

About the Author

I go by the drag name, Queen Anne Tique. My real name is Michael King. I am a gay activist who finally came out of the closet at age 70. I live with my lover, Merlyn, in downtown Denver, Colorado. I was married twice, have 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren and a great grandson. Besides volunteering at the GLBT Center and doing the SAGE activities," Telling your Story"," Men's Coffee" and the "Open Art Studio". I am active in Prime Timers and Front Rangers. I now get to do many of the activities that I had hoped to do when I retired; traveling, writing, painting, doing sculpture, cooking and drag.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Favorite Fantasy = Gay Power by Louis

Off the top of my head, I would say a roll in the hay with Tom Selleck – Darn, he’s so hairy, and he has such a pretty smile.

On second thought, my favorite fantasy is the bulk of gay people, instead of pursing “assimilation,” rather they should accept the radical view of history. I heard that Martin Duberman was disappointed with the direction of American liberation these days. I guess I agree with him.

Not so many years ago, after a long barrage of cheap hate mongering from certain Republicans claiming Black people are parasites because a large number of them live on Food Stamps, I believe it was the Black Panthers who responded by saying they did not want Food Stamps, they wanted Power, Black Power.

I think the LBGT community has to go through this radical stage. We do not want grudging scanty tolerance from some liberal churches. We want gay power. This means, we are well organized enough and interwoven with the power brokers of Wall Street, the European Economic Union, etc. that we can tell someone like Putin, that, if you mess with gay people, you’ll be sorry. We have to have the power to back up our threats. According to the radical view of history, considering the large number of gay people in the world, we can achieve this power. Have faith. Organize! Remember the cry to organize, expressed by so many American and European labor leaders of the 1930’s.

Once “empowered,” the priests, ministers, even the Imams and Mullahs will start preaching the holy nature of gay people, instead of what they are doing now. The Pope will gladly speak with our gay lib leaders, our real gay lib leaders, not the phony balonies, of which there are many, let’s call them smiling homophobes. When our real empowered leaders sit down with the Pope, the Pope will HAVE TO LISTEN.

Especially, when we go to church, we do not want to hear about the evils of same –sex attractions, we want to hear about how Christianity can empower the international gay community, the “Homintern,” as J. Edgar Hoover called us. Some precious few theologians are talking turkey. Make sure you listen to them. Jesus spoke at length about empowering the powerless. Of course, so did Mohammed, and Buddha and on and on. Listen!

Have you ever been to a gay lib protest rally? Some time the chant went, “What do you want?” “Power!” What kind of power?” Gay power!” That was music to my ears.

I was taught to believe for many years, that yes, there are gay people, a few poets and artists in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. They can be tolerated by the powers that be, but they are very, very few in number and they are powerless. What a crock! I have just “learned” there are gay people in Denver, Colorado.

I also “know” that there are gay people, by the millions in Russia, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, to judge by the size of the Pride Marches.

A few years ago, there was even a “congress,” a meeting of lesbian and gay Muslims in London, England. It is vital that there be a gay and lesbian positive news agency to tell us more about what happened at that meeting, what strategy did they come up with to liberate gay and lesbian Muslims, again, of which there are millions and millions.

What about the millions of lesbian and gay Catholics? How do we organize them? What about the millions and millions of lesbian and gay Chinese and Indians? How do we organize them?

One of my co-authors in this group described his youth in Germany. Why not a lesbian and gay Deutschverein right here at the Center? Denver Colorado has an Alliance française, thanks to in good part due to contributions from the Gay and Lesbian Fund. Why not a lesbian and gay Alliance française at the Lesgay Center of the Rockies? Accept the challenge, organize! If these groups could be organized, can you imagine how much our prestige would be enhanced?

The Jewish people set up Yeshiva University. The Black people set up Howard University and a large number of other black universities and schools. Where are the lesbian and gay schools, universities, religious societies? We can have it all if we think big, organize! Think globally, think international! Look carefully at what the Blacks and Jews have done to organize themselves.

Carlos Castillo also reminds us of the need for a lesbian and gay Spanish club. Well, we have the same language; there is a need for a British lesbian and gay club. Don’t you want to say hello to lesbian and gay Europeans, lesbian and gay Asians, lesbian and gay Africans, lesbian and gay Australians, lesbian and gay Central and South Americans? I do. I heard for many years the lesbian gay pride marches in Sydney. Australia, were the largest in the world.

MCC is setting up lesgay positive churches in South America. What’s happening down there south of the border? Educated people want to know. Information please!

One day, I am sure, because of sheer necessity my fantasy will become a reality.

© 10 October 2013

About the Author

I was born in 1944, I lived most of my life in New York City, Queens County. I still commute there. I worked for many years as a Caseworker for New York City Human Resources Administration, dealing with mentally impaired clients, then as a social work Supervisor dealing with homeless PWA's. I have an apartment in Wheat Ridge, CO. I retired in 2002. I have a few interesting stories to tell. My boyfriend Kevin lives in New York City. I graduated Queens College, CUNY, in 1967.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sorry , I'm Allergic by Lewis

The first naturally-occurring object that comes to my mind when I think of allergies is the cat. It's not that I'm OK with house dust, pollen, molds, and serums derived from horses, such as the old tetanus serum, it's just that my cat allergy has most inconvenienced my friends.

I even had a pet cat once. Or, perhaps, it was just a stray cat that hung around our house a lot. I don't remember it ever being in the house or sitting in my mother's lap or feeding it.

Unfortunately for the cat, I was an only child. As I had no younger siblings upon which to take out my frustrations, it was the birds, insects, and other living creatures in the neighborhood who suffered the brunt of my repressed anger. The cat fell into this category. Perhaps I also blamed cats for the ringworm that had scarred my scalp a year or two before.

Anyway, on this particular summer day, my job was to expunge dandelions from our rather vast--to my four-foot-tall way of thinking, anyway--lawn. The appropriate implement for this task was a long-handled dandelion digger. Perhaps I was contemplating how it was that the dandelion got its odd name when this particular cat made an appearance in our front yard. Naturally, I associated the word "cat" with "lion" and wondered how effective the dandelion digger would be as the means to rid our property forever of this furry intruder. With my make-shift spear raised over my head in the fashion I'm sure I had seen some aboriginal hunter use in spearing fish on the pages of National Geographic, I began to chase the cat across the lawn. Just as the cat was about to round the corner of the house, I let fly from about 20 feet away. The "spear" went exactly where the cat had just been a second before but instead of a cat, the spear embedded itself in the trunk of one of the shrubs that formed a hedge along the edge of our property.

I was instantly struck by the lethality of the act I had just done and how awful I would have felt had the weapon found its target. Instead, I felt elated at how nicely things had turned out. "Cool," I think I said to myself.

Forty plus years went by before I gave much thought to cats again, that is, aside from the allergy shots and antihistamines that kept my symptoms, from a myriad of sources, in some measure of control. That was when Laurin came upon the scene. Laurin loved cats. Living alone in his "Hobbit House" outside Flint, MI, he had two of them. One day, he found one of them dead, apparently of a heart attack, after its claws became tangled in the fibers of the shag carpet on his staircase. He was broken-hearted. I don't remember what happened to the other one but, obviously, he had to get rid of it before he could move in with me.

After we moved to Denver, we lived in an apartment building that did not permit cats or dogs as pets. One Christmas, I spent some effort in finding a stuffed toy cat that Laurin had suggested he might like. Turns out, it just wasn't the same thing for him and I returned it.

Now, I actually like the concept of cats. I admire their independence, their cleanliness, their beauty--all from a distance. I find that they are much easier to keep from jumping up on my lap than dogs. Usually, they don't even try. Perhaps, they are allergic to me, too.

© 4 November 2013

About the Author

I came to the beautiful state of Colorado out of my native Kansas by way of Michigan, the state where I married and I came to the beautiful state of Colorado out of my native Kansas by way of Michigan, the state where I married and had two children while working as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company. I was married to a wonderful woman for 26 happy years and suddenly realized that life was passing me by. I figured that I should make a change, as our offspring were basically on their own and I wasn't getting any younger. Luckily, a very attractive and personable man just happened to be crossing my path at that time, so the change-over was both fortuitous and smooth.

Soon after, I retired and we moved to Denver, my husband's home town. He passed away after 13 blissful years together in October of 2012. I am left to find a new path to fulfillment. One possibility is through writing. Thank goodness, the SAGE Creative Writing Group was there to light the way.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Patriotism by Jon Krey


Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt (“Fascism anyone?" Free Inquiry Magazine, Spring 2003, page 20) has studied the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile) and found they all had 14 elements in common. I believe any country can fall into such an abyss, often unaware, especially when in a crisis of magnitude. We are not there at this point but we must be aware that making ourselves vulnerable through lack of present awareness and overlooking history could provide a dangerous precedent through which democracy could fall. Those of us who are aware should begin educational processes to prevent such. The characteristics listed below are a warning only. Let us be ever mindful as a nation to stave off such a calamity.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for Recognition of Human Rights

Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/ Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe; racial, ethnic, or religious minorities; liberals; communists, socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism

The government of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media

Sometimes, the media is directly controlled by the government. But in other cases the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war-time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security

Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are intertwined

Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the governments policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected

The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation, often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/ government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed

Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even out-right stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections

Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.


"There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to Him:

1. Haughty eyes

2. A lying tongue

3. Hands that shed innocent blood.

4. A heart that devises wicked plans

5. Feet that make haste to run to evil

6. A false witness who breathes out lies.

7. A man who sows discord among brothers."

--The Book of Proverbs—

© 13 November 2013

About the Author

"I'm just a guy from Tulsa (God forbid). So overlook my shortcomings, they're an illusion."