Thursday, October 10, 2019

Shithole Genius’ tweet library is like the Hallmark aisle at Nevergonnabuildthewallgreens

One day at a time

Today is World Mental Health Day, an annual global event started in 1992 at the World Federation of Mental Health to promote awareness, education, understanding and advocacy for those of us suffering from mental disorders, the caregivers we sometimes desperately rely on, and the larger populations in which we live and often struggle to navigate every day of our lives.

In this spirit of awareness, education, understanding and advocacy, I'm offering here a view from inside the bipolar volcano hurricane that I wrote years ago as I was emerging from a distinctively catastrophic episode:

Sometimes being bipolar means waking up with your head covered in a gray wool blanket in the middle of a hot drenching rain and the weight of it is practically crippling but you know you're not depressed and you know you're not confused and you know you can breathe and you know you're invested in fighting your way out so you treat every blink and every word and every thought as fuel that sparks the next blink and the next word and the next thought and even though you're foggy and slow and maybe even late you're MOVING and no matter how long it takes and how hard you have to work just to achieve your minimum for now you know that it's just for now and you'll sooner than later find your way out of that hot wet scratchy gray wool blanket and you'll know from hard-fought experience that you may not have the power to make the rain go away but you have the tenacity and the fortitude to outlast it and find your clarity and focus again in the warm, restorative sunlight it was trying to hide from you and even though you're never entirely sure you know exactly what that unclouded sunlight feels like you'll always get close enough to know what you're fighting for and how to be stronger and smarter and even more certain of your indestructibility the next time.

Throwback Thursday: Proto-Gay Edition

Things I had discovered in 1984: The stinky-feet defiance of going sockless in cheap canvas shoes from Target. The gender-bending subversiveness of wearing a hand-braided ankle bracelet. The surfer-wannabe failure of black board shorts decorated with gracefully swirling fish in trendy shades of neon. The glee-club weirdness of fake Ray-Bans with little black music notes all over them. Hair mousse.

Things I had not yet discovered in 1984: Going to a gym. Having the good sense not to wear tank tops in public. Having the good sense not to wear white fake Ray-Bans with little black music notes all over them. Having the good sense to make sure I didn't look like I was in a low-rent Flock of Seagulls cover band before I left the house.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Apparently I’m going through a skulls phase

And a Día de los Muertos Mariachi phase:
Times dos:
And a single-parent-ghost-family phase:
Do not be afraid.

At last! The quartet is complete again.

While these four men lived to varying degrees as ridiculous gay stereotypes on stage, TV and screen--at least from today's perspectives--they still managed to carve out their unique and rather successful niches in an industry and a world that frankly hated gay people. I was at once fascinated and amused and sometimes horrified by what they seemed to represent when I was a kid--but Paul Lynde played Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and my middle name is Arthur and I felt a kinship with him that I couldn't easily articulate in my early teens and that was all enough to make us soul brothers as far as I was concerned. These four made me feel less alone in the late 1970s and early 1980s as I figured out I was gay and what gay meant in the larger world. I know some of them lived tortured personal lives because of their homosexuality, but I thank them for what they gave me and I hope they're finally at peace ... and unapologetically gayin' it up together again wherever they are.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Makin’ Norwegian lefse and listenin’ to Irish jigs

We are very dedicated potato people.

Shhhhh! I'm catching guys ...

FACT: My 1890s-gentleman-with-an-excruciatingly-precise-side-part hair is still totally on point two hours after the show.

FACT: My fireworks-and-sailboats shirt is objectively sexy and makes me factually catnip to the ladies.

POSSIBLY: And the dudes.

FACT: I’m watching a National Geographic documentary on the recovery of the Costa Concordia.

FACT: Every diver and salvage engineer in the entire Mediterranean is HAWT.

FACT: That’s Mediterranean for HOT.

FACT: If they could only see me through my TV they could see how irresistibly catnippy my on-point hair and fireworks-and-sailboats shirt are.

FACT: The combination is romantically lethal.

FACT: The documentary is really quite fascinating.

FACT: So I’m too busy to date all those hot Mediterraneans.

THEREFORE: Sorry, fellas. Now shhhhhh!

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Sundayclothes Seersucker Selfie!


OLD LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS:• Cheapy grandma-blah 1970s-bad-idea Trump-tacky fake gold hardware
• Cheapy grandma-tapioca textured glass bowl that you can actually see through to the ugly lightbulb
• Incandescent lightbulb with shady, mousy-blah, unhelpful yellowish light
• The exact wrong kind of light for photographing clearly when it’s on
• Probably cost $2.99 at The Lazy Ugly Grandma-Blah Trump University Store
NEW LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS:• Handsome, timeless, Jake-has-exquisite-taste-you-should-totally-date-him brushed-nickel hardware
• Lightly frosted, subtly marbled, perfect-amount-of-opaqueness glass dome
• White LED bulbs with clean, pure, flattering, culturally appropriate light
• Though it unfortunately shows how much we need to regularly dust and vacuum at the bottom of the stairs
• Photographs handsomely when it’s on
• I long ago threw away the receipt even though I waited until today to put it up but I think it was $19.99

This will always be my favorite cartoon ever

Friday, October 04, 2019

Flashback Friday: Bow Ties And Billowy Pleats Edition

This—THIS!—is what I thought was acceptable attire for setting foot in Washington DC's Kennedy Center to see Tyne Daly in the 1989 revival of Gypsy. (Early non-linear side note: You never forget your first Gypsy. And while I don't l-o-o-o-o-o-v-e the show like other card-carrying-Platinum gays, I still love Tyne Daly as Rose more than any other women I've seen in the role since then. And that includes Patti. Because she's never met a vowel she couldn't chew into a meaty, puddingy, distractingy triphthong.)

Anywho ... THAT OUTFIT ...

Nothing says "I sit down to pee" quite as efficiently as a bow tie. I taught myself to tie a bow tie when I was in high school, while all the other kids were doing more useful things like—oh, I don't know—hanging out with each other and forming meaningful friendships. I thought my little Madras plaid bow tie made me look so throwback-non-conformist hip 'n' cool that I went out and bought a bunch more bow ties in all kinds of colors and patterns. Which makes this plaid one my gateway bow tie. One reason I was so good at tying bow ties was those glasses. Their lenses were so expansively huge—like the much-ballyhooed-about-to-be-launched Hubble telescope!—that I barely had to bend my neck to look down and see what I was doing. And as we all know, efficiency is the DNA of questionable fashion. You can't see it clearly here, but I also had a coordinating Madras plaid watch band. As in a bow-tie-matching watch band made of sweat-absorbing-and-quickly-gross fabric. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! I somehow decided it was totally-probably-sexy-cool to wear it with the watch face ON THE INSIDE OF MY WRIST. Because WHO THE HELL DOES THAT? And let's not overlook those voluminous pleated khakis—not that we could ever tear our eyes away from the uncharted galaxies of animal-balloon space they occupied around my wispy little goblin hips. They were from The Gap, see, and I'd had a bit of an inferiority complex as a younger person that—and I am not making this up—made me feel not cool enough to shop at The Gap. I'd literally walk by it at the then-fancy Westdale Mall and feel awkward and panicked and a little bit resentful. Do not fear: My therapist has been alerted. Anyway, one fateful day I scrounged up the courage to wince timidly into that Gap and find the men's section (which in the gender-bendy '80s wasn't clearly delineated to me as I entered the store) and immediately found these dream pants with all their essential dream details: classic khaki coloring, heavy cotton poplin (a natural fiber! in the '80s! I KNOW!) (also: like every socially awkward fashionista, I knew what poplin was as a young gaylet ... and why it was more laid-back-casual-and-therefore-better than twill) (also: twill is for librarians who aren't allowed to sit with the other librarians at lunch), voluminous pleats, super-dramatic taper, securely tacked ankle-strangling cuffs. TOTAL MEGA COOL-KIDS FASHION. And I'm pretty sure I was wearing my white suede bucks with red fake-rubber soles with them. Because PLEASE BEAT ME UP I'M SUPER '80s GAY.

So let's review:

Face-swallowing glasses + perfectly puckered plaid bow tie + inside-out sweaty watch + pleats with their own ZIP codes + legs tapered in the shape of super-pointy ice-cream-cones = man who goes to the theater to see angsty-gay-anthem-filled musicals with his mom. Every time.

Thursday, October 03, 2019


1. Get an estimate to have the ugly, bubbly rust on your car repaired
2. Contain your flinching instinct when you get the original ballpark number
3. Head from there to get your oil changed
4. Remember to bring your coupon
5. Refrain from awkwardly flirting with the nerdy straight guy with the ugly shoes in the waiting room
6. Refrain from super-embarrassingly giggling and flipping your hair when you talk to the super-cute guy behind the counter
7. Head from there to the gym for the first time in over two months
8. Make up for all that lost time and all those atrophied muscles in one workout*
9. Sign an international supermodel contract*
10. Read the fine print
* delusions may vary

New flavor. Do not recommend.

Unless you have an insatiable thirst for store-brand cough syrup poured into a melted Slurpee that’s sat in a hot car for five days. Followed by four hours of sweaty jitters, of course.
Also: My office bingo card is as winning as a trump spelling be.

Throwback Thursday: Wachoo

Blerg. I used to get up at 5:00 every weekday to take the train to the Loop and get physically abused by my cruel, brutal trainer at my appallingly expensive gym for an hour before hobbling off to work.

But sometimes I stopped to take pictures of pretty buildings along the way:
Willis Tower peeking between the Federal Reserve Bank Building and the City National Bank and Trust Building. 5:30 am.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019