C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend: Shaping Up

Since it's an historic week, here's a happy little flashback to the 1960's by Bruce of Los Angeles.

Need your grass trimmed?




Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thoughts on Stonewall 50, Part 1


While making my coffee this morning, I looked out the window at the cars zooming by on the busy boulevard - from a distance, they are not so much different from those of fifty years ago.  Traffic lights still wink red and yellow and green, just as they did then.  Little birds flit among the trees, and nimble squirrels jog along the fence top just as their long-ago ancestors were wont to do.  The sun shines just as brightly now as in the past, the sky is just as blue, and puffy white clouds still float along in their insouciant way.  The grass and the trees are just as green, the cheerful zinnias and flaming crepe myrtles still as delightful to the eye as ever they were.

Inside our humble bungalow, long since remodeled countless times by who knows how many previous tenants, the potted plants in the windows, the plastered walls, the simple furniture, the striped blue-green-gold tablecloth and old-fashioned china, the kitchen shelves full of pots and pans and dishes and canned goods, are none of them very different from what might have been here fifty years ago.  It doesn't look at all like the Jetsons' home.  A time traveler suddenly popping in from a half-century ago would no doubt be quite unimpressed - apart from the microwave, the computers, and the big flat-screen TV, he would surely think there was really nothing to write home about. How disappointing!

And yet despite the seeming similitude, all is changed, and changed utterly.

The other day, M. P. told me at breakfast that he had just seen an online ad by Michael's, the nationwide arts-and-crafts chain, announcing their Pride Month sales.  And we were both struck for a moment with awe and wonder at how very much things have changed for gay people just in our lifetimes.  Now, at least with some retailers, gayness has joined the pantheon of other commercialized holidays, in the good old American tradition, along with Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  What a breathtaking development.

I understand that certain weenie-whiny children of the snowflake generation decry the evils of "corporate sponsorship," but it cannot be doubted that when Wal-Mart decks its shelves with all sorts of rainbow merchandise, gayness has arrived, it is part of the mainstream of American life, along with apple pie, baseball, Budweiser, and Twitter, like it or not.  (And some don't like it a bit, but I'll get to that presently.)

The petulant Eloi of the modern world, college age and younger, have no memory of the 20th century - they have no real idea of what it was like to live before Stonewall, before gay bars, before AIDS, before gay books and newspapers and magazines and soccer clubs and churches and websites (and free porn 24/7), and all the social media hookups anyone could want, and even marriage - all those out-and-proud things that were simply unimaginable fifty years ago.  Unimaginable, do you hear me, children?  Pure fantasy - things that if we thought of them, we would immediately also think, "Oh, that will never happen."

But it did, every bit of it.  And it's still happening, as each successive generation takes things a bit further.  Now there is even - will wonders never cease? - a gay presidential candidate who is taken quite seriously, at least by the Democratic Party.  Utterly unimaginable in 1969 - and for quite a long time afterwards, too.

Because, of course, it usually takes time for big changes to seep from the culture-churns of the Blue Coasts down into all the hills and valleys, nooks and crannies of the Big Red Middle.  In some ways, I think it is still as true today as it was fifty years ago that people in New York and Los Angeles are living in a future that will not arrive in the far provinces until five or ten years from now - though the ubiquity of television, internet, and smart phones certainly hastens the process, especially among the young hipsters in every part of the country.

But then, impatient youth in every era, in every century, has always yearned for the limpid, dreamy future to arrive as quickly as possible, while age, weary and wizened, yearns for the comforts and certainties of a vanished past.  It's human nature.  We want what we don't have.  And all too often, we don't miss what we do have until we lose it.

This fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots brings up a number of reflections I will share with my truckbuddies over the next few days.  Having been under the weather with one little ailment or another the last couple of months, I just don't have the oomph to type it all out in one sitting.  And of course I would enjoy hearing your comments on this momentous anniversary, too.

Just to jog your memory of prehistoric times, you can watch The Boys in the Band, written just before Stonewall - when "gay rights" were as yet completely unthought-of by most people.  When I saw it again a year or so ago, I was startled to realize which character I most identified with, from the fuller perspective of maturity.  What about you?



Cheat sheet - the cast and characters

Kenneth Nelson as Michael (the host)
Frederick Combs as Donald (Michael's best friend)
Leonard Frey as Harold (the guest of honor)
Cliff Gorman as Emory (Oh Mary, don't ask!)
Laurence Luckinbill as Hank (divorced guy)
Keith Prentice as Larry (Hank's lover)
Robert La Tourneaux as Cowboy Tex
Reuben Greene as Bernard (black guy)
Peter White as Alan McCarthy (straight guy - ?)


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Drive: Summertime

Ella.  Louis.  Gershwin.  It doesn't get any better than this.




Friday, June 21, 2019

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Drive: Do-Re-Mi

The cheery mnemonic song from one of the most beloved films of all time is a good way to start a summer Sunday morning:






Friday, June 14, 2019

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