Mom…

We stood there, she and I, shivering as our nose hair froze in the February air.

We stood there, she and I, next to the grave of Rick James. One of the last few things worth seeing, up Buffalo way.

We stood there, she and I, simply because my little brother – hoping to grab a photo – had requested that we should.

And she, in her Polish-like ways, was able to convince me to play along, instead of forging ahead with my plan of staying in the heated car. Keeping it “safe” from the no one else that was there at the time.

We stood there, she and I, simply because after all these years, she still places the wishes of her sons above that of her own good common sense. She still loves us more than she does herself.

She’s not just my mom. The woman is a straight-out saint. And I love her.

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Pretty Boys & Pretty Girls

Another walk, another mix tape.

Several years back Kelly, Kevin and I were having a conversation. Now right up front, I’ll let you know that those are their actual names. I had originally thought of using aliases, but quickly realized, that as none but one of you knows who I truly am, then none would know who they are either. Besides, the aliases I had chosen were just going to be “Kerry” and “Ken” at any rate. And if you knew me, you would then know that it was really them that I was speaking of. That, and I’m pretty sure Kevin would punch me if I ever called him Ken, aliasdentally or not. And speaking of Ken – errr – Kevin, he was with Kelly and I, clustered around a warm dinner and cold beers, chatting about 80’s music. Of course.

During the chat, both Kevin and myself were explaining how, back in the day, we had always felt a stronger pull towards “gay” music than that of the “straight” variety. When Kelly asked us to elaborate, she was surprised to hear that the gay culture had such a strong presence in music. Now, I’m not quite sure why she would be so shocked by this fact, but then again she IS from Missouri.

Moving on.

As I’m sure you guessed by now, in an effort to “educate” her, I was only too happy to take the opportunity to create yet another of my beloved “mix tape” CD’s. And if you’ve been reading along these past several weeks, you already know that the title of this one was “for me: The Gay-ties.” The rules of the mix were quite simple: each song had to be either written, sung or “taken in” by the gay community. In addition, each artist and track had to be devoid (well, as much as possible) of gay stereotypes (sorry B-52’s, that took you out of the running). And finally, the mix overall just had to be damned good. It starts off with a no-nonsense one-two knockout punch of Queen’s “Flash Gordon” and Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Two Tribes.” Chosen not so much because these were two gay icons of the eighties, but rather, because each song could almost be seen as a flag bearer to the generation.

These opening shots are followed by such powerhouse hits as – well, hell – I might as well just give up the track listing. Because, yeah, the mix is THAT damned good:

1. Flash – Queen

2. Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

3. You Spin Me Right Round – Dead Or Alive

4. Suburbia – Pet Shop Boys

5. Pretty Boy & Pretty Girls – Book Of Love

6. I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me – Bronski Beat  with Marc Almond

7. Oh l’Amour – Erasure

8. Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

9. Don’t Go – Yaz

10. The Great Commandment – Camouflage

11. We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart

12. Church Of The Poison Mind – Culture Club

13. Freedom – Wham!

14. Take Me Home – Cher

15. Lay All Your Love On Me – ABBA

16. Love To Hate You – Erasure

17. Comment Te Dire Adieu – Jimmy Somerville

18. Crucified – Army Of Lovers (OK, technically a 90’s track. Whatever. We’re talking “generational 80’s” here, not “Calendar 80’s”, OK?)

19. It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls (WHAT??? Can you name a better one to end it with?)

If you happen to have access to all these tracks, I suggest you make yourself a copy. If you don’t happen to, then drop me a line. We’ll get you hooked up. And yeah, to those of you in the know, I DID include Jermaine Stewart, AND he actually works pretty well in the mix. Even IF he never does get around to taking his clothes off.

Sadly, the gay icon that loomed largest in my young life (BESIDES Liberace) doesn’t appear here. And that’s only because – while I love me some Judas Priest – there simply wasn’t one square inch of audio space that I could squeak Mr. Halford and friends into the remainder of the mix. Now, when I first created this, my daughter was young enough as to still think that I was simply the living end of musical knowledge, and a dance talent. As such, we spent many a day twirling around the living room gleefully to the final track. So much so in fact, that she swore that this would be the very song she’d use for the “father/daughter” dance at her wedding (my choice of Bobby Darin’s “18 Yellow Roses” being forcibly dismissed). This is sadly no longer the case however. And last time I checked, I believe we’re slated to stand toe to toe over some artist I’ve never heard of, who requires a voice modulator to sing, and in general is far less “raining menish” then I’d normally care for.

This mix has provided me with many more such plusses as well. For instance, it is the only “for me” in the series to give shout outs to three others for it’s creation (in addition to Kelly and Kevin, T-Bone – also a real name – is credited, as he came up with the title for the mix). However, possibly the coolest thing resulting from the Gay-ties disc (besides the kick assicles mix itself, of course) is that it was through its mention that I started the relationship with my Best Friend That I’ve Never Met; when we inadvertently “took over” a mutual friend’s facebook status for a spell. So even if the mix was total rot (and it is so NOT), then my efforts would still have been more than worthwhile.

Now, based on previous posts of this ilk, I’m sure you’re wondering what brand new window of knowledge was opened during my walk with the “Gay-ties” mix. What pray tell, did I learn this time whilst walking in a solitary fashion, to the beats of gay men and synthesizers? Not one damned thing. I just had me a nice brisk walk with some great tunes to push me along. I can tell you one thing though, of all the solitary walks I’ve taken as of late, this time I didn’t just hump along like a balding middle-aged schlep. This time, I walked Fabulous!

Today’s track was chosen over all the rest because it was one of the first-ever attempts by artists to bring awareness to the AID’s epidemic. Sadly, it was not heard by nearly enough, and ignored by even more. 

The Kid Said It Better…

Previously…

“He” raised what Clive imagined to be a finger to his almost-lips, shushing him about alerting Douglas to his presence. Or at least that’s what Clive assumed he was doing, based on what he knew of the “physicality” of his unwelcome visitors. When they first started making themselves known to him, Clive assumed he was only having some sort of vision problem, in that the spirits weren’t really human in form. No, much like when you break the shell of an egg and the life of it simply runs out all over the place – free of shape or reason – the spirits were very much the same. Their bodies, now broken and discarded, left them free to be. A freedom that also damned them into not being. They could affect human form if they desired, but it seemed almost hard for them to do so. Like a faded habit that they could just never seem to get quite right again. For all but with the notable exception of the man with the red hair, that is. However, he seemed to be so much different from all the rest in almost every aspect. He seemed almost “real.” Though rare in occurrence, he was the one who made Clive’s skin literally crawl with each visitation. The very thought of him was enough to make Clive jump from his seat.

“We have to… I… I have to go Douglas.” “”But Clive, you haven’t even finished your burger, m’man.” “Right now Douglas, I need to leave right now” Clive replied urgently, ignoring Douglas’ concern about the damned burger. Rising quicker than a person normally should, he slammed his knee into the formica top as a reward for his efforts, and left the place with Douglas – grabbing the last of Clive’s burger – trailing behind him. The spirit, the ghost, the “he” – the whatever the hell it was – fortunately did not follow. Clive made sure of it. But had he looked back with a touch more scrutiny, he would have seen the cruel almost-smile that crawled across “his” almost-face, just before he disappeared again into the thin blue air.

Rushing to catch up, Douglas slammed down the last bite of greasy beef before grabbing Clive by the shoulder and stopping him dead in his tracks. “Clive, you want to tell me what in the hell that was about just now? You mind filling in a friend as to why a perfectly good cow had to die today in vein AND I’m all outta breath; when all I wanted to do was to sup with you and a delicious quarter pound?” Clive looked pensively around him, hoping to see no one, and was surprised to see he got his wish. This had to stop. This idea of keeping Douglas in the dark. He was his friend, dammit! So what if Clive spoke and Douglas laughed. Or worse. So what? Clive knew one thing for certain, not telling anyone was bound to kill him, and not in the good way. “Douglas, I need to tell you something” Clive said, almost whispering. “Well, imagine that!” boomed Douglas in response. “Shhh! Keep it down. I need to tell you something that will most likely ruin our friendship. I need to tell you something that’ll make you hate me, because you’ll finally see me for what I am.” “And what are you Clive?” Douglas asked patiently. “I’m a man who sees ghosts, Dougla…” Clive stopped mid-sentence, his heart sinking as he watched the smile that slowly danced across Douglas’ face. “You said you wouldn’t laugh at me Douglas.” “Clive, I’m not laughing at you my friend, it’s just that the kid said it better” replied Douglas. “The kid…?” “Yeah, the kid. The kid in that movie. You know, the whole ‘I see dead folk’ or some such thing. That kid.” “Oh, yeah. But I’m for real Douglas. I’m not making a joke or anything. I really do see ghosts. Spirits. Whatever. They’re all around me. All the time” pleaded Clive. “And what do they tell you, m’friend?” Douglas asked calmly. “Well, they don’t say anything just yet. But with every visit, it seems like they’re getting closer to, well, to starting to make demands or something. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I’m sorry Douglas, I shouldn’t have told you.” “No Clive, I’m glad you did. At least we now what we have to work with here, don’t we?”

As Clive had previously confirmed, there was no one nearby Douglas and himself – neither alive, dead nor other – while this conversation was being held, but the man with the red hair still heard it all. Unlike the others – those ignorant servants, those has-been peasants – he had figured out how to still listen into the other side. The “other side” as it pertained to him. And he had figured out how to do so without actually ever having the need to step “foot” into it. He duly noted the lack of surprise in Douglas’ response to Clive’s news, as he also relished in the fear that could be tasted in Clive’s hushed tone. Yes, things were coming together quite nicely. And freedom – his freedom – was finally well within reach. Ah yes, if even the man with the power couldn’t keep it under control… Then his plan would truly be unstoppable. How he wished that he could step through the veil to taste just a bit of Clive’s fear and self-loathing, but there was little time for pleasure just now. With an almost life-like hand, he casually summoned one of the others. A being that – had he been human in form – would have looked very much like an older, more fearful, version of Clive. “I believe the time nears where we shall speak” the man with the red hair communicated to the elder Clive-like spirit. “Now, why don’t you run along and pay a long overdue visit to your ‘beloved’?”

© t – 2o12

200

So, you know how on holiday’s n’ such, you’re really not in the mood to do much of anything? You know, just like to lounge around in your jammies all day, hunkered down on the couch with a good book, a comfy throw, and a loved one to snuggle with?

Well, while technically not a Holiday – YET – today is the celebration of my 200th Post.

=)

Seeing as it’s Friday, I’m pretty sure the hunker down-jammie-loved one snuggle won’t be happening anytime soon, BUT, I still don’t feel like doing much of anything. So, instead of plunking out brand new useless knowledge, I thought I would instead recycle preexisting useless knowledge. What follows are my two mostest favorite school papers that I created in order to obtain my Associates Degree. Both of which were – interestingly – written for the two classes I dreaded most. True, you can also find these in the “stuff i have to write for school” tab above, but I felt they deserved extra recognition. And I’m thinking that today would be the perfect day to do just that…

• COMM201 – 1 Minute Rant – My Pet Peeve

On almost a daily basis, I find myself literally screaming to the errant driver in front of me “You. Are. In. The. Goddamned. Circle!  JUST. DRIVE!!!!”

It seems that “just driving” is a dying art. Too many people today are far to busy talking, texting, reading, doing their nails – and in at least one instance, perusing a newspaper – to actually just. Drive. And these are not even the worst.

No, the worst are those who are just ignorant of our traffic laws and culture. The worst are those who don’t seem to realize that when you’re IN the damned circle, you JUST. DRIVE!

Another “fan favorite” are those folk who feel that going ten miles under the speed limit is the safer route. It’s not. Especially when I’m about to put a boot up your bumper because I’m directly behind you, and trying very hard to just. Drive.

Listen, I’m not a bad driver. I’m just an aggressive driver with a bad temper, and a place to be getting to. One who – oddly enough, ever since I quit smoking – becomes simply enraged when I find myself trapped behind someone who can’t JUST. FREAKIN’. DRIVE!

So, if you ever see me coming up behind you in a rather aggressive fashion, do me a favor will you, and simply just. Drive.

• NCSCI280 – Global Warming – A Hype Or Reality?

She stared at him with hardened eyes. How could he? How could he sit there so smugly and actually attempt to make her believe that any of this was her fault?  It wasn’t she who invented plastic. It wasn’t she who created the logging industry. Her name could not be counted among those responsible for creating engines that filled the air with noxious fumes. And she had nothing at all to do with factories, daily spewing forth similar pollutants. No, none of this was her fault. None of it at all.

So how could he ever say things like “we’re all to blame” and “we can all pitch in to effect a change.” What was he, out of his hippie mind? Well, maybe he could take blame, but she sure wouldn’t. Maybe he could stop driving, but she couldn’t. Didn’t he understand? She had a job to go to. She HAD to be there. The office was far too far away to bicycle, and she had no earthly idea why he would bring that up as an option any way. Besides, doing something like that might muss her hair. Sure, buses were an “option.” Assuming you didn’t mind sitting next to smelly people, who were most likely only there to mug you anyway. And never being able to come as you go as you please – imagine! That would never work for her. And yes, she knew that carpooling was yet another option (these damned environmentalists, always so chock full of ideas). But honestly, had he ever met the people SHE had to work with, he’d quickly realize how unrealistic that option was. Humph. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Make HIM sit in a car with those silly old crows for a drive in and back, and then see how quickly he’d recommend THAT idea next time.

No, he was one of those “goodie two-shoes”, hell bent on twisting the real world into some sort of tree-hugging fantasy land. All for the stupid idea that “our children deserve a planet too.” What did that mean, anyway? Hasn’t the planet always been here? Why would it ever go away? And certainly, scientists had proved that the changing tides and the increased temperature were merely “cyclical”. She knew she had seen it written somewhere. She was sure of it. No, it was quite obvious that the whole “global warming” thing was just another scare tactic, brought about by commie pinko’s hell bent on removing every last freedom she had.

As she took another drag from her cigarette, she became even more embittered. More calcified. She was mad at him. Enraged even. It wasn’t her fault. She wished he were still there so she could scream it at him again. As she sat there with her car idling in neutral, she seethed. For a good ten plus minutes she sat there, car idling, rage boiling. Not. My. Fault! Counting down to ten, she didn’t calm down nearly as much as she hoped, but proceeded to slam the car into “drive” and race home at breakneck speed anyway. Driving much too fast between the signals, and slamming the breaks much too hard whenever a red one demanded that she stop. So what? She would have to fill up more than the others who drove at a safe speed, and she would have to change her brakes more often to. She supposed that he would’ve blamed that on her as well?

When she finally arrived home, she realized that she had once again left all the lights on. She supposed had he been there, that he would bully pulpit her about energy waste. What did she care? She paid her bills. It was her house – her life. Not his. When you’re as busy as she was, you can sometimes forget stupid little things like turning down the lights. She opened the trunk and became enraged once more. There before her sat the tidy plastic bags, each containing no more than five items each. It was these bags that began the argument, or as he called it, the “conversation.”

“Can I use fewer bags, please miss? It’ll be good for the environment.” No. No, he could not. More than five items per, and the bags would become too heavy. The bags would become too heavy, and then tear. “Well, can I at least interest you in these eco-friendly cloth bags?” Again, no! What a pitch! What a deal! This little salesman costumed as a cashier wouldn’t get the better of her! This entrepreneur disguised as an environmentalist wouldn’t grab her coin through trickery. Of course “it’s good for the environment” if you can make a profit off of it. No, the plastic bags were free, so the plastic bags were good enough for her. “But miss, the plastic bags aren’t free. They’re costing us our ecosystem, they’re costing our descendents a livable planet!” And that was when she lost it. And damned right that she did. “A livable planet?” Again, there has always been one, so there always will be. And if she was proven wrong in the final analysis, what did she care? She’d be dead by then anyway. And besides, her spending way too much for a couple of flimsy fabric bags surely wouldn’t have any impact anyway. The whole thing was a ruse, a scare tactic, a pitch. And she was falling for none of it.

She kept the refrigerator doors open fully until all of her groceries were loaded up (but only after she had first emptied from it the spoiled contents that had built up over the week, half a garbage can’s worth). And once her chores were done, she wiped the sweat from her brow and poured herself a nice tall glass of lemonade, before going to the back porch to enjoy stargazing at the February sky. Particularly beautiful this time of year in Buffalo. It had been another hot one – almost seventy five degrees – and if this kept up, she could only imagine what the summer would bring. Yes, it was getting warmer. But that was hardly her fault.

•••

Still here? Good for you, you deserve a pickle…! Thanks for reading all the way through! And for many of you, thanks for hanging out with me up to 200 times now – I appreciate it that you do! 

Briefly…

I almost didn’t stay with my “100 Words” story this week, but then the rain inspired me. Hope this makes K~ happy…

Here’s this weeks 100 Word Song.

And here’s a picture of the Godzilla CD I snagged on National Record Store DayBecause, yeah, Godzilla is way cool.