Thursday, July 20, 2017


WHY are we glorifying OJ Simpson by televising his appallingly softball parole hearing when we have a catastrophically inept, arrogantly treasonous dumpster fire of a presidency to expose and analyze and humiliate out of existence in the legitimate media?

Man-boy's Twitter archive is like the Hallmark aisle at Walgreens

There's an accidentally prescient arrogant douchebag tweet that's tailor-made for every one of his inevitable failures as a human being.

Burnham Wood

This -- THIS! -- is why I'm so in-demand with the ladies that I have to wear tear-away pants in the show. You have two more chances to behold my feral mane and disco-fantasy mustache on stage this weekend. Because I'll be waiting by the door of the haircut store first thing Sunday morning, and once the forest has moved to Dunsinane -- if I may desperately force an illogical theater metaphor -- Macbeth is dead and gone forever. Which, of course, is the logical conclusion of that desperately forced illogical theater metaphor.

Anyway, get your tickets now at Theatre Cedar Rapids.


It's so humid out that I'm afraid my hair might look egg-normous. But I couldn't even see it to find out when I got out of my air-conditioned car just now. In other news: leg day! I'd make a hamstrings-and-egg-normous joke but that would be weird.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THIS is what's happening

1. I just got my mom a smart TV for her to watch during her shoulder surgery recovery
2. I also just subscribed to Netflix on our new smart TV, which finally dragged our family kicking and screaming into the 21st century of television watching beyond basic cable
3. I have been dying to see the documentary "Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened" since well before the directors and producers even thought to make it
4. I have "Someday Just Began," which is a quote from "Our Time," which is a song from "Merrily We Roll Along," tattooed on the inside of my left biceps
5. I kid you not
6. Because I would never joke about Sondheim
7. Because I can quote the sacred Book of Sondheim by chapter and verse
8. Which I do often
9. Especially in random texts I've been exchanging with my ex since the day we met 10 years ago
10. It's our private shorthand for sharing pretty much everything that happens in our lives
11. Oops -- I wandered off
12. Anyway, I just found out last night that "Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened," which is a documentary about the creation and heady experience of being a part of "Merrily We Roll Along," is available on Netflix
13. Which, I remind you, I now have
14. On, I remind you, our welcome-to-the-21st-century new smart TV
15. I have no plans tonight for the first time since the Carter Administration
16. My mom and dad are gone tonight
17. Which means I have the house and the smart TV and the Netflix all to myself
19. Since I've been planning on seeing this documentary someday, someday is definitely just beginning tonight the second I get home
20. Commence Total Sondheim Geek Out In 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


It's a shame he had to downgrade his Make America Great Again slogan, especially after he put it on all those Chinese hats. #ThisNewSloganIsABigFatLieToo

Monday, July 17, 2017


I just auditioned for Grease by singing "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" with a mustache and reading for Kenicke with a rogue Southern accent that popped up out of nowhere and WOULDN'T GO AWAY.

So I'm pretty sure the role of Li'l Abner is mine for the taking.


Is #MadeInAmericaWeek the same lie as #InfrastructureWeek except with physical proof that it's go-nowhere propaganda to manipulate man-boy's gullible moron base?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

1:46 am

I hate it when the bottom drops out and I have a sudden-onset bipolar depressive episode that abruptly shuts down my night and robs me of the opportunity to spend time with my friends and cast members.

I hate it when I keep getting crushes on straight guys.

I hate it that the arrogance and corruption and immaturity and willful ignorance and daily manifestations of ineptitude coming from Trump and his vile, insular orbit are so pervasive and so ubiquitous and now so normalized that we all just roll our eyes after each bombshell and wait a day for the next bombshell, which somehow STILL doesn't land them all in prison.

I hate that I'll read this in the morning and be embarrassed that I posted it. But it's what's in my head, it's why I'm sitting at home in the dark right now instead of enjoying a late cast party, and it's my free therapy. And somehow I feel less bottled up and alone when I dump my thoughts and troubles out in the universe so I can sleep.

Good night.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Flashback Friday: Grant Park Music Festival Edition

When I lived in Chicago, this was my view at least two nights a week every summer as I picnicked with friends and enjoyed free music and relished in my good fortune to live in such a magnificent city.
If you're ever in Chicago -- or for goodness' sake if you live IN Chicago -- go to the Grant Park Music Festival website NOW, find a night or two or ten this summer with a free concert that sounds appealing or is even just a good fit for your schedule, pack a picnic, stop by the bean (officially named Cloud Gate) on your way for an obligatory selfie, get to the Pritzker Pavilion lawn early to claim a good spot preferably right in the middle, marvel at Frank Gehry's gloriously messy blooming-flower explosion of a stage that lives in harmonious counterpoint with the graceful latticework of poles that curve over the lawn and -- more importantly -- ingeniously and almost organically hang speakers right over your head without interrupting your view of the city or the sky, and then let the concert wash over you like waves of oasis-in-the-city summertime happiness.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance Theater: 

A Four-Act Fantasia on Lies, More Lies, Even More Lies and Cripplingly Inconvenient Stupidity


Sexy level: WOKE

1. How on earth did I manage to cut my forehead taking a shower this morning?
2. Does anyone have a comb I could borrow?
3. Or a weed whacker?
4. I am not a human mustache. STOP. OBJECTIFYING. ME.
5. Should I follow my dreams to become a teen model or be in a boy band?
6. Teen model. I'm probably too cookie-cutter dreamy to be in a boy band and I'd hate to get stuck singing backup with my androgynously non-threatening boy-band clones.
7. If Tom Selleck calls asking who stole his sex appeal, tell him I'm not here.
8. Ditto for Burt Reynolds.
9. By the way, "Cop and a Half" ruined both of our careers. I will never forgive him for that.
10. Seriously: soap + water. What part of that equation caused me to cut my forehead?

Monday, July 10, 2017


My mom grew up in an era where apparently grammar was a blood sport, brutal playground violence was passively dismissed as "having things done to us" teachable moments and multiple pronouns led inevitably to multiple concussions. Naturally, she became an English teacher.
Her childhood "Grammar Can Be Fun" death treatise eventually landed in my impressionable autodidactic orbit, where I couldn't tear my eyes away from dead cockroach-ogres named Ain't and racist caricatures of Chinamen named Ing and inkblotty little spider-people who were doomed page after page to suffer horrifyingly violent deaths at the hands of invisible sharp-shooting hitmen who beaned them into broken, disfigured blots of catastrophic medical trauma using blood-red balls the size of their heads, or what was eventually left of them.

The book filled my young, sponge-like mind simultaneously with nightmarish horror; a lack of inspiration to draw any better than an alcoholic third-grader; and a damn-the-infidels, take-no-prisoners zealotry for parallel verbs, drafty kerning and horribly racist gerunds.

But it made me the man I am today: a needless-punctuation-eschewing, shameless-vocabulary-flaunting, always-silently-judging, endlessly-trump-mocking lapsed grammar columnist and grammatically conscientious tweeter who obsessively re-edits Facebook posts and who can't bring himself to forward even the most brilliant of memes if they contain negligible punctuation errors.

Oh -- and I also write stuff for a living.

It's today

Taco cat
Senile felines
Egad! An adage!
Yawn a more Roman way.
A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Shhh! Billy Elliot Act II is going on as we speak

But I wanted to show you my totally tubular angled-piping pieced-mesh track jacket. And our totally tall endlessly winding kinda unnerving stage-right staircase. But it's cool, Man. It's cool.

Cedar Rapids PrideFest!

Our humble city's pride celebration is 1,000 mph slower than what I experienced for 15 years in Chicago. And it's totally my speed. One complaint, though: I'm all for the all-families-welcome spirit of inclusion, but it makes husband shopping exponentially more challenging in our city's not-so-populated gay population. Adorable Charlie the dog DID make it way easier to meet women and children, though. So there's that.


Friday, July 07, 2017

Week II

In just an hour these seats will be filled with friends and strangers from around the community and -- and I know this for a fact tonight -- hundreds of miles and multiple states away, all ready to be taken on a journey of love and self-discovery and deep-rooted dignity and triumph over challenges both personal and universal. And this stage will be overflowing with the music and the energy and the characters who will lead the way: loving parents and maturing children and workers struggling to survive and people discovering the beauties and truths of art and oddballs (and their mustaches!) who are there purely for comic relief and quiet friendships and mighty tribes and devastating sorrows and euphoric shared joys.

We open our second of four weekends tonight. Come experience the adventure with us at Theatre Cedar Rapids

Trolling cretins is no fun when they don't even notice you

Flashback Friday: Saucy Ankle Edition

The 2008 Atlantis Freedom Cruise -- a gay cruise where we were all held hostage in a zero-carb, all-Speedo environment for a week on a ship ironically named Freedom of the Seas -- included the opportunity to fake surf and for-real wipe out no matter how hard you hold on in front of a line of impatient guys who really want you to wipe out soon so they get a chance to try it. I remember this FlowRider -- yes, that's the name -- experience to be both totally fun and totally not worth it, given the wait-in-line-time-vs-the-time-it-takes-to-wipe-out ratio.

But I sure did have a saucy ankle back then.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Important things to know about me

1. My mom selfishly had shoulder surgery so I'm forced to fold my own laundry
2. I have an El Camino T-shirt and you suck
3. I mean you don't
4. I own underpants in a rich spectrum of blacks and blues
5. Yes, I do own a concentric tie-dyed Captain America T-shirt
6. My smiley-face shirt says "have a nice day" on the front and the back
7. Because I'm so emotionally magnanimous that I want you to be happy whether you see me coming or going
8. Yes, that is a bleach print of a mouse under a mushroom right above the chest pocket on that black T-shirt
9. Because why not?
10. El. Camino. T. Shirt.

Submitted for patent:

My next Nobel Prize will be awarded for the old sock I cut cleverly using my Möbius-strip-making skills into a longer rope to give my mom left-hand access to her right-side-attached electric recliner controller since her right arm is immobilized from her surgery.

I'm sure I'll also receive a Pulitzer for deftly crafting that last sentence.

synecdoche (sin EK doe key) noun: a metaphor using part of something to represent the whole of something or vice versa


fact: Donald Trump is a belligerent, puerile man-boy who doesn't know anything about anything; arrogantly thinks he can fake his way through everything; and spends his empty, appallingly entitled life sending meaningless, childish tweets, lying about his ongoing treason, ignoring his many wives and children, insulting and repulsing other countries to the point of diplomatic alienation, screaming FAKE NEWS! like an uncontrollably shitting toddler, and destroying America for his own financial gain.

synecdoche: The White House is an international embarrassment.

We unfortunately have all day for the pain 

If you can tear your eyes away even for a second from the compelling irresistibility of my ever-thickening disco-fantasy mustache, you'll see I'm still wearing yesterday's other facial hair and mega-patriotic flag T-shirt. I stayed home from work today partly to keep taking care of Mom but mostly to maximize my wearage of my Independence Day shirt, which I spent five whole dollars on but I won't get to wear again for one whole year. You'll also notice in this photo Mom's new smart TV, which I finally got to work but Mom's asleep so it's off and I'm able to take weird selfies safely shielded from her selfie-questioning gaze. And never you mind the subtext in this post that I potentially haven't showered today. Because it's so none of your business that I won't even bring it up.

Oh -- and Mom is doing remarkably well pain-wise today, after a pretty rough night. She still has moments of gasping shock, but they're fewer and farther between. And my handy little 3-hour timer on my phone is helping me keep her pain meds right on schedule. Progress!


I was saving this meme to post yesterday and I totally forgot. I call a do-over. Fire up your grills, light up your firecrackers and patriot up your songs right now so this meme is contextual, timely and funny. Go America!

Midnight with my mom

I'm sitting in the half-dark watching and listening to my mom as she struggles to find a peaceful, restful balance between gasp-inducing pain and the loopy uncertainties of prescription pain medication 36 hours after undergoing shoulder surgery. She was told she'll probably need to sleep in a recliner for 6-8 weeks as she recovers, so she's now wrapped in an almost structural configuration of blankets and pillows arranged to keep her comfortable and stabilized and not too hot and not too cold on a borrowed electric recliner in our living room as I sleep on the nearby couch with a three-hour alarm set in perpetuity on my phone to ensure I give her her pain medications consistently on time.

This woman spearheaded a full-family battle for my health and my very sanity for years as my escalating bipolar depression clashed with a literally bewildering array of ramp-up and withdrawal side effects from increasingly desperate attempts to find the right cocktail of psych medications for me. My parents have helplessly watched me twitch and yell in my sleep, crawl like a blinded animal up the stairs from a drug-onset migraine, lie gray and unmoving in a hell of despondency in my bed, land in the ER after a blackout and a crash to the floor that was so catastrophic that the nurses assumed I was the victim of a violent assault, and stare emptily but gratefully back at them as they admitted me to a locked psych ward for what ended up being an eight-day stay. They've fought for me, they've stood by me, they've repatriated me ... and now it's my turn to start paying them back.

Mom seemed to be doing remarkably well in the first 24 hours after her surgery, but then the last of the nerve block wore off and waves of breathtaking pain started surging through her reawakened nerve channels, and we've watched helplessly as she's whimpered and cried and tried to keep a brave face through her pain and confusion and unsure self-awareness. But she knows she's loved and being cared for and watched over with the attentiveness she's given my whole family over the years. And she seems to be sleeping comfortably and productively at the moment.

I should be asleep right now too. The couch is all made up next to me and it's quite comfortable; this I know from endless days into nights into days that I spent on it as I fought my way back to sanity while sleeping as close to my parents as I could if I needed anything. But I'm rather enjoying sitting here with her in the dark, post-midnight quiet. The war-zone explosions of fireworks that kept alarming her and waking her up a few hours ago have died down, I just woke her to give her her midnight pain meds and a popsicle, she seems to finally be sleeping comfortably and restfully ... and her partial helplessness and need for me have me thinking that there will soon be more medical problems and more nights like this for both my parents ... until they simply won't have any more medical problems ever again. And I want to remember and savor these moments where I can care for and love them the way they have done for me.

When I got out of the hospital two and a half years ago and spent the next two years fighting to regain my own sense of normal, it became clear that I was going to spend this newest chapter of my life under their care. In return, I've promised them that I'll do everything in my power to keep them in their -- our -- home as long as I can as they get older. Because I can't imagine taking care of them any other way.

So here I sit. Watching the mother who showed me without fear or reservation how to love me and all my psychoses unconditionally as she suffers through what by all accounts will be a painful but successful healing process. But it is undeniably a harbinger of the future in our home. Which is scary in the abstract. But right now it's a present and a future managed with love and commitment and a deep, profound honor that I am able -- in no small part from the lessons and examples my parents have provided for me all throughout their selfless lives -- to care for them in the way they cared for me.

And it's all very peaceful.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Trust me on this

If you put something in quotes, you're either attributing it to some spoken or written source, you're being cleverly ironic, or you're too stupid to tie your flip-flops. Factor trustworthy consumer fireworks into the equation and my money's 107% on the stupid.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

PBS, you really, catastrophically suck.

First of all, do NOT get me started on that sixth-grade Blues Brothers medley that brought an irreparable pall of amateur stupidity to your "A Capitol Fourth" broadcast tonight. Or the fact that you clearly spent the evening devising newer and clumsier ways to sneak up on an unsuspecting John Stamos with your cameras.

But the 1812 Overture? As in Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's formally named "The Year 1812" festival overture composed to commemorate Russia's defense of its motherland against Napoleon's invading Grande Armée in 1812? There is nothing about that piece that is pro-America and everything about it that is pro-Russia. And if we didn't need further proof that our man-boy president or his drooling apologists programmed your music tonight, the fact that you skipped all of Tchaikovsky's early exposition and contextual narrative and went right to the loud parts at the end with all the guns and explosions and big hell-yeah booms tells us everything we need to know about your producers' and your target audience's attention spans, cultural awareness and knowledge of history.

I get more meaningful patriotism from the fireworks exploding meaninglessly all over our neighborhood all night.

Holiday greetings from our private beach vacation!

Monday, July 03, 2017

At least the flag is still there

Happy early July 4 from me and Bitch Kitty, who hissed at me and scampered off to no doubt make pro-Putin posters and buy more MAGA hats from China before my camera had time to auto-focus for our patriotic selfie portrait. So the key takeaways here are 1) Bitch Kitty is eliminating your insurance before she bites you, 2) my disco-fantasy mustache makes me positively irresistible even when I sit next to the empty spot where my heartless kitty humiliatingly abandoned me for our patriotic selfie portrait, 3) my Snoopy shirt has a red collar and blue sleeves but Bitch Kitty ran away and killed my patriotic spirit before I got my blue sleeves in the frame and we're all gonna die anyway so why bother, 4) isn't our needlepoint flag pillow super-cute? 5) Mom is stuffed full of pain pills and tucked cozily into her blanket-draped recliner for the first night of her predicted eight weeks of shoulder-surgery recovery while I'm climbing under a blanket on the couch next to her so I can re-pill her every three hours and it feels really good that I'm here to take care of her, 6) she's still hoarse from her nerve block so she has one of my marathon cowbells at her side in case she needs to wake me between pills, 7) she might lose a hand if she actually rings that damn bell while I'm sleeping, 8) she's wearing my pajama bottoms for reasons she describes as because they're much too big for her so they're easier to get on and off with one hand but we all know it's because the hospital vending machine was out of Diet Coke today so I had a real Coke, 9) is it bad to hope that everyone setting off fireworks right now plus all the legislators who gave them unfettered access to all those fireworks lose vital organs in incendiary ways tonight? asking for a friend, 10) seriously -- how super-cute is our needlepoint throw pillow?

Happy fishies!

Mom doesn't want me blabbing about her ALLEGED surgery all over the Internets, so I'll just post this authentic deep-sea happy fishies picture that hovers over her ALLEGED bed in her ALLEGED the-surgery-went-just-fine wake-up room. See? All I posted here was a picture of authentic deep-sea happy fishies! Allegedly.

So this just happened

We were talking about cures for trump

Big. Gay. Gayness.

So Mom's in surgery and for reasons known only to the drugs she insisted I hold on to her lipstick for her AND I brought a mending kit to sew a button onto some shorts -- which I rocked like a boss, for the record -- AND I'm reading a big colorful book about big gay musicals AND my Diet Coke says Veronica AND I have a still-kinda-wispy disco-fantasy mustache so OF COURSE the anesthesiologist is totally hot and all but recoiled around me and my big gay gayness when he talked to us.

But hey -- look at that perfectly placed button!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Nothing good can come of this

We are the last family in this and three adjoining galaxies to finally drag ourselves kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The Netflix Empire is now complete.

Mom is having shoulder surgery in the morning and will have her arm immobilized and be sleeping in a recliner -- and no doubt confusing the hell out of the cat -- for the next 6-8 weeks. Our awesome cousins are lending us a recliner, which is now holding court pretty much in the middle of our living room. And I broke down and bought us a living-room smart TV -- the dark magical powers of which I am just beginning to understand -- which I just spent the last 17 decades tonight setting up, connecting to our WiFi, and repeatedly cursing to an eternity in hell as I've navigated the clearly intentionally confusing channel selection options in the 1,700-screen setup process that involves a remote so tiny that its buttons wrap around the sides so you inadvertently shut the sound and probably the blender and the nearest three pacemakers off and on as you press the top buttons to do all the primarily confusing stuff.

Anyway. We almost never watch TV so we've certainly never had a subscription to a streaming service, which has actually proven to be a bit of a social liability since lots and lots and lots and did I mention lots of everyday conversations sooner than later end up centering around the streaming TV shows everyone but me is watching. But the bone spur in Mom's shoulder is about to improve my social life exponentially -- YAY! -- because it prompted me to buy a smart TV and subscribe to Netflix to keep Mom occupied in her recovery and since I am drawn to the point of crippling distraction like a defenseless moth to a flame every time I'm near a TV -- which is the reason I avoid turning on any TV anywhere ever -- I will now end up bingeing on entire seasons of House of Thrones and Game of Cards and The Handmade Pail and everything else on Netflix every time I enter the living room while Mom is recuperating. I. WILL. BECOME. SO. POPULAR.

Unfortunately, the coaxial cable nipple in the living room wall appears to be dead so we can't watch the cable channels we never watch but we're nonetheless already paying for on the new TV. And as we're now the last family in this and three adjoining galaxies to find out, the "free" "smart" channels that "come with our new TV" involve complex opt-in and -out setup processes and out-of-nowhere commercial interruptions and I'm so frustrated by all that dark-magic "smart TV" chicanery right now that even as a non-TV watcher I'm about to scream so WE NEED OUR CABLE NIPPLE TO WORK.

But first: I have to pick an outfit to wear to the hospital tomorrow for Mom's surgery because you just KNOW there'll be someone there taking selfies to post on his blog.

My Billy Elliot Act I costume presets:

Sailor hat, technically-forbidden-backstage-but-it's-really-technically-in-the-adjoining-hallway Gatorade, badass Frankenstein-looking-pieced-leather biker jacket, bitchin' angled-piping pieced-mesh track jacket, magical surprise pants, cop uniform, not-at-all-no-seriously-not-even-just-a-little-bit-gay tap-dancing sailor outfit, extra hanger left over from last night, cop billy club I use to beat my friends savagely but lovingly on stage.

Unachievable Body Image(R) Lace Fantasy Wedding Barbie(R) sold separately.

I! Have! Three! Notifications! At the same time!

That's normally my cumulative total for one week.

Oh -- and as usual, Kellyanne is confirming that she's still too stupid to understand the directions on a box of water.

Toddler twofer!

I know bitchy gossip queens who demonstrate more maturity and impulse control than our dumpster-fire simpleton of a president-in-name-only.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Hiding stuff is so tacky

A competent president would ask these questions to maybe the FBI or a special investigator or something instead of to Twitter. A competent president probably wouldn't type random noun phrases in all caps while he or she tweeted on the toilet either. But that's just a quibble.

Red, white and gay

I just had a manly arm and shoulder workout but I also managed to dress myself this morning like a majorette at a bunting festival. I even packed a red workout shake bottle. If we had a daycare center at my gym, the toddlers would have beaten me up by now.