Thursday, May 31, 2007

C in CS3

It's been about ten years since I abandoned Photoshop and took up with oils, but this evening C came home with a gift: CS3! The all new super delux Creative Suite package of Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Flash, and a whole mess of other stuff that I can't even begin to identify.

Opening up Photoshop was like coming home to the house you grew up in. But it's been renovated and upgraded. Some of the mechanics are the same, but there will be mucho to learn. It is only fitting that I should throw together a quick homage to the boy (wearing a t-shirt of his own design). Clicking it will make it huge and will probably disclose the rough edges of a quick job, but oh is it fun to be back in this saddle.

Monday, May 28, 2007

"On Bear Hill" Now Zoomable.

I've changed the post (two down) called "On Bear Hill", swapping the Flickr photo for the original, to provide satisfaction for those who have requested magnification. Click on it. Examine whatever bulges, hair patterns or skin ink caught your eye.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Friday night @ Therapy

Mark, host/instigator:


Mikey The Good found my name tag on the floor


Placement suggested to improve listening skills:


Placement suggested to improve other skills:



"Gay Prof" rubs inked shoulder of Juan Carlos (non-blogger in the company of a horror novelist whom I introduced to the group) next to guys who had been to that Tupperware show.


I am immune to the "evil eye" from Joe (Next to him is Scott, aka, Atari Age, aka "Esmerelda" per his friends at the Eagle, and with good reason. C got their reference. Bewitched?:




My apologies to Chris of "SeeMyBriefs" for this one, but we know he really looks mahvelous:


Even Joe's Dick was sociable:


Glenn and David:


On Bear Hill

The air was rich and moist as Duncan Hines cake mix this afternoon when weary (I'll soon be posting the pics from Friday night at Therapy) bloggers trudged up and collapsed on Bear Hill in Central Park to open the high season. Don't ask me to identify everyone in the picture tonight. We are off to TheEagle for the third leg of the weekend.

(Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Doing Midweek Dinner

The only way to keep in touch with friends here in the Wretched Little City is to pick up the phone while at the office and to nail down a date on our calendars. Dinner at our place. During the week. On a work night. 7PM. “Nope. Just bring your sweet selves.”

Who in his right mind promises such a thing? The shopping, the prep, the cleaning and the rush all conspire to undermine the very reason for such a dinner: to relax with friends. With years of experience under our belts, we know how to manage this.

A) Do not shop on the day of the dinner. Get it all done the day before.

B) Set a menu that can be prepared either the day before or completed with an hour to spare before your friends arrive.

C) Make choices that keep mess to a minimum. Guests feel guilty if they see your kitchen piled to the ceiling with pots and pans that they know will keep you up after midnight.

D) Make the evening look effortless to your friends. Watching you knock yourself out will not relax them.

Here’s an example. Something we threw together earlier this month for Dan and Jim whom we had not seen since January and who had pictures of their vacation in Costa Rica to share.

I divided the shopping tasks with C:

San Pelligrino bottled water
Three types of cheese (one strong, one mild, one triple crème Brie) An assortment of crackers.
Wine. A white and a red (whatever catches your educated eye).
A chewy aromatic loaf of bread.
Packaged stir fry cut boneless/skinless chicken strips.
Packaged sir fry vegetables.
Components for dessert.
Freshly ground decaf espresso

We set the table the night before. Persimmon Fiestaware, Fire King mugs and Depression era glassware in the Miss America Pattern will keep the table light-hearted and casual. Candles high, and flowers – on this evening, a potted “Olympic” red begonia – low enough to easily talk over. Cloth napkins are a failsafe way to let your friends know how much you like them. They know you had to iron them.

table setting

Home from the office and gym by 5:30PM, I know that I will have everything done by 6PM.

I take the cheeses out of the refrigerator and arrange them unwrapped on a Villeroy & Boch “Design Naif” platter. They will have time to warm up before our friends arrive. Setting out more than one cheese knife encourages even a small number of guests to dive in rather than be shy or expect to be served.

I coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil and shake in a liberal amount of my own blend of seasoning. I think everyone should have his own signature blend, just as in decades past, a refined person always had his own particular “tisane”, a blend of tea and dried flavorings. My seasoning mix usual consists of crushed black pepper, cumin, curry, thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, oregano and sea salt. I’ve learned that although C and I cannot get enough garlic and hot peppers, we leave those out of most meals we prepare for others.

I add the chicken strips and shake on more of the seasoning. I have to pause at this time to wash the raw chicken off my hands with hot water and antibacterial soap.

chicken strips

Next I rip open the package of stir fry vegetables and dump them on top of the chicken.


I replace the glass cover and set the gas flame to medium. After eight minutes, I will turn the chicken strips and replace the lid for another seven or eight minutes.

veg and chicken in skillet

I choose a large oval hand painted platter by Droll Designs into which I dump the vegetables and place the chicken strips on top of the heap, coating them with any liquid remaining in the skillet.
Fortunately, our oven has a warm and serve drawer into which is placed this platter.

I slice half the loaf of bread and place the slices and the intact half in a weathered crackle glazed bowl and set it on the table with the serrated bread knife and the softening butter.

C selects vintage blue glass compotes with silver stripes for the assemblage of a sublime dessert consisting of hazelnut gelato topped with pomegranite gel, dried cranberries and an intricately printed white chocolate pyramid with a ganache center. These are placed in the freezer.

C's dessert

The pot and utensils get either washed or tossed out of sight into the dishwasher. We choose the American standards channel on the cable radio, pick out shirts and pour ourselves some wine. We open the front doors in advance of our friends’ arrival and take a moment to inspect our menagerie of plants. I pick some herbs to garnish the chicken.

front doors open

Nothing left to do but enjoy the evening which is over at a sensible hour with no one feeling guilty about having pigged out or having had to much to drink or expecting to pay the price of excess by dragging through the workday to follow.

I hate work. It is an intrusion that has crowded out the wonderfully debauched all-nighters of our youth, but until I can shed it, we’ve either this civilized mode of hosting friends or the restriction of socializing only on weekends. Before you hit the comments field and remind me that there are things called restaurants for exactly that sort of mid-week interaction, you should know that I hold with Kate Hepburn who had what I consider to be a healthy dislike for restaurants. She once said, “You give me the sixty dollars and I’ll cook you a damn meal.” Really. I don’t know who is behind the kitchen door of a restaurant. I do know that they are not concerned about my health. The chairs always give me a backache, there is usually a draft on my neck, the food rarely lives up to its description, service is disdainful, bathroom suspicious, lighting and noise irritating and the bill is rude. There have been some rare exceptions to this summary, but for the most part I’d rather be home making nice and in bed by 10:30PM with the kitchen cleaned.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

At The Bowery Ballroom

The Bowery Ballroom is my kinda venue. Goldilocksianly right-sized to support the accoustical or the enhanced performance, its dark varnish is redolent with the reverb of music (and rug sales!) past. We cross the open floor already crowded with admirers of the opening act, “Theo and the Skyscrapers” (an insignificant group built on an imposing blonde refugee from “The Lunachicks” in jaggedly unhemmed tulle flounces and size thirteen white pumps with which she stomped the stage while crouching and wailing as if wanting to defecate.)

We took the stairs to the mahagony mezzanine with its gorgeous altar-of-a-bar in front of the soaring arched window that faces Delancey Street and positioned ourselves with beer against the railings in anticipation of the group called “His Name is Alive” that C had brought us here to catch (I myself never suggest going to concerts. Karen Carpenter is, afterall, dead, so what’s to see?).

The blondazon and her group took their bows, and we were treated to a startling intermezzo:Julie Atlas Muz, a voluptuous and totally naked woman with pubic hair twisted into a Daliesque mustache who began to use her index fingers to open and close her labia, making them seem to sing the words to some sort of peppy Mexican song that had been cued up. I was too embarrassed to raise the camera.

‘His Name is Alive” eventually wandered onstage behind Miss Muz, and C excitedly pointed out Warn Defever (He sometimes spells it “Warren”, and isn’t that precious?) who is the leader of this group. C is full of admiration for him but that sentiment would be fully deflated after several songs by which time it became obvious that he just waren’t into it. He seemed detached and bored with his guitar. So was I.

A second intermission allowed for the bright return of Miss Muz! Again naked, she held up what appeared to be a real heart, too large to be human, but perhaps an organ that had once powered an ox. This she held overheard, squeezing so much blood from it that she eventually became Carrie-at-the-prom. At one point, she bit the thing, and I began to know that she is a woman without boundaries. How could I deny her my lens?

julie atlas muz #1

julie atlas muz #2

We considered leaving at this point, but decided to see what the main attraction had to offer. This group is called “Psychic TV”, or sometimes just “PTV3”. The cofounder of this group (and of an earlier one called “Throbbing Gristle”) is self-described pandrogenous transsexual, Ms. Genesis P-Orridge (originally Neil Andrew Megson). Think Carol Channing crossed with Sid Vicious with a dollop of Richard Simmons.

Genesis P Orridge

Always more fascinated by trannies who style themselves as frumpy middle-classers rather than vavoomy divas, I found myself rather mesmerized by this creature whose band was oh so tight and fully charged. Their music had us jubilantly bouncing the wavy floorboards of the mezzanine despite some absurdly bland lyrics such as “I liiiike you. You’re very niiiiice. You’re very nice. Your eyes are ice. I think that I’m in paradise” which we shouted back at them with giddy abandon. We kept with them through several encores. I bought the T shirt.

From the stage, Ms. P-Orridge made an impassioned plea for attendance at Wednesday’s (May 23) benefit concert for the unfortunate ? whose one-hit wonder group, "? and The Mysterions", gave us the wonderful “96 Tears” in 1966. A fire has consumed his possessions. If moved, go to the Highline Ballroom tomorrow where Paul Schaeffer, Tommy Ramone and, of course, the P-Orridge will all perform.

I am always dragged to these concerts complaining and fretting, but I always end the evening feeling glad I went and at least ten years younger than when I walk through the door.

psychic tv t shirt

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rome. May 19, 1977

After the ceremony, we emerged from the chapel and the crowd engulfed the four of us. With St. Peter's Basilica as the proud background for the photos being made by the friends and family who had flown into Rome for the event, we positioned ourselves on the lawn where four lines formed to receive our "first blessings". I remember wanting to feel something spiritually joyful, but the only thought that kept cycling through my mind was the observation that for the past four years, this stretch of lawn had been designated by me as our croquet field. I had organized those games. We had dressed in summer whites. Once, I had set up a large crystal punch bowl full of gin. Those days were now over. The inevitable sacrament had prevailed. In a twelve year contest of wills between me and the Church, I had always assumed that the moment of ordination would mark my victory. Instead, I felt a bit defeated. More bridled, less a bride, and rather broken, in the way that a wild horse in a movie eventually submits to the taming.

I had never once in those twelve years of seminary training said or even thought the words "God's will". Certainly never added the words "be done." I did not believe that God had a will. I had a will. God, was I willful. This moment was my choice, my doing. Now, as the tearfully faithful knealt for my blessing, I wondered if I had been wrong all along. Perhaps there was some reason for this. Perhaps there was some plan for me to be useful. An agent of salvation? This was a dreadful thought. I wanted to continue being exclusively ornamental rather than even modestly functional. I was well aware that as I traced the sign of the cross in the air over each head and recited each blessing in Latin, these folks were totally unaware of my thoughts. I looked over at my three classmates delivering their blessings, and I could see in their faces the true and beatific happiness that I, a skilled performer, was able to project convincingly.

At that moment, I finally had a saving realization. Even a good show eventually closes on Broadway. Sometimes a star hits the road with the touring company. Had I not seen Carol Channing in "Hello Dolly" in Hartford during my first year in the seminary? Had it not been obvious to me that she despised the cramped stage of the Horace Bushnell Memorial Theater? The stiff-necked audience? The bishop who had sent me to Rome four years ago would soon demand my return. That was his right. I would have to go home to Connecticut. He would assign me to some small town with a parish church that was not designed by Michelangelo. I would force a smile as I processed up the aisle of that venue to the glint of rhinestones, rather than flashbulbs. In polyester, not silk. But I could do this! Like Scarlett O'Hara just before intermission, as God is my witness, finding my way back to Rome would surely be easier than rebuilding the South.

That was thirty years ago. Somewhere, in one of those dreary small towns, after a few years "on the road", I began to hate my lines and my lyrics. I could barely deliver them convincingly. The bishop offered me a third parish assignment, hoping a change of venue might make me happy, but I could not pack and go. It was as if my tour bus broke down, and I, without a dime in my pocket, walked into the dark woods and never looked back. Those woods embraced me. Home, I felt. Not quite the Vatican, and this time, I'd have to do some work. Set an alarm clock. Find out about how people live their thrillingly dirty little lives. Make one of my own.

I now find myself without complaint, and without regret. If there ever was a celestial plan, was it not that C and I should meet? Still, once every few years, I open the album that holds this photo and I look deeply into my own eyes, trying unsuccessfully to make an assessment of right or wrong, and wondering where I would be today if I had been obedient and patient rather than willful and desperate. I study the face in the photo and try to recall what I was thinking, and I remember that I was not thinking in those years. I was polishing and refining a brilliant and arrogant delivery of someone who had never been born. Constantly concocting a scene and performing it minutes later without the benefit of a director or an editor. Acting, singing, posing, entertaining and above all, charming. That sort of thing only works when you are young and an ingenue. Would wisdom and love have found me if that had been my route? Or, would I, after thirty years, have become a glittering, trivial hot-house fleur, bitterly beyond my blossoming.

Happy anniversary, Monsignor E, Monsignor D and Archbishop T. Ad multos annos. From the black sheep of the family.

30 yrs ago

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New York Press snags a Perge Modophoto

Oddly, they chose a photo of the parade rather than of the fest which is the subject of the article.

(Thank you, BJ, for letting me know!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

In the flesh

May 12, 2007 NYC bloggers gather on West 68th to receive Richard (Tornwordo) and Serge of Montreal

Saturday evening, Montreal blogger Richard and his partner, Serge, visited. They were scrubbed and polished and glowing in anticipation of an evening's stroll through midtown and a review of some of its watering holes including Posh, Barrage and Therapy. As often happens, the evening spun out of control. Rain began, and Joe, in one of our three taxis, bellowed for the benefit of the driver "The doctor said it wouldn't bleed so much if I would just keep my finger out of it.", and, "So I scrubbed and scrubbed and I think I got them all, but then there's still the eggs." The driver was unimpressed.

We all ended up at the Eagle where R & S learned that dressing up or down doesn't much matter in that place. (The truth is that because they are both extremely handsome and hot, no one noticed what they had on.) Unfortunately, we barely got to exchange a few words, and their social obligations meant we did not see them again. Let them return soon.

Back row: Chris, David, Joe, the two blog-widows: Serge and C
Seated: non-bloggers Joe and Todd of DC, Tornwordo
Front: Jeff and I

Friday, May 11, 2007

why fight it?

Belle, I did this only because I've always thought that tarot cards are pretty, but I never would have expected them to identify me as the very thing I've spent thirty years shunning.

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.