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, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year!

Another year has passed into history, and who knows what changes and chances the future will bring?   Whatever it may hold, let us savor peace and celebrate the joy of living when we can, with those we love.  In the scheme of the universe, we are all only here for a little while.

Here's wishing health, wealth, and happiness to all my truckbuddies in the New Year. 


Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast, 2021

Her Majesty the Queen broadcast her annual Christmas message to the nation and the Commonwealth today, and paid tribute to the memory of Prince Philip, who died this year on April 9th.  This is the first Christmas the Queen has spent without her beloved consort since they were married in 1947.  Nevertheless, her message was characteristically optimistic and encouraging.


Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas 2021

M.P. outdid himself this year with the Christmas lights, which took a week to string up.  Some stranger even left an anonymous note of appreciation on our doorstep.

Here's wishing a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my truckbuddies.  Thanks for riding along with me in the Blue Truck. 

A few of my favorite Christmas tunes sung by some of my favorite artists:



Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday Drive: Ave Maria

 The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Deanna Durbin, an undeservedly forgotten singer with an angelic voice, sings the sublime hymn in the motion picture It's a Date, 1940:



Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Fact or Fantasy?


When asked in a press conference at the White House if climate change caused the devastating outbreak of tornadoes in Kentucky and other states last week, President Biden declined to give an affirmative answer.  However, some pundits on the right and on the left are vigorously asserting or denying the proposition; and it seems to me that a great many ordinary people "just know" that climate change was - or was not - the direct and immediate cause.  But then again, many people have short memories.

I have no expertise in this field, so I cannot say for certain one way or the other; but I do clearly remember other such horrific outbreaks in my own lifetime, in Texas and elsewhere.  For anyone interested in the subject, I recommend taking a thoughtful look at this long Wikipedia List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks, dating back as far as 1657.  Many have indeed happened in December, and at least one on New Year's Day.

My point being, it's always a good idea to get all the facts before you make up your mind about weather or climate change or anything else.  Otherwise, it's just a species of fantasy, isn't it?


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Thursday, December 9, 2021

What I'm Watching: Lucy Redux

Of course I love Lucy - who doesn't?  I'm not obsessed with her as some people are - I once knew a fellow who had a whole room of his house devoted to Lucy memorabilia.  (I knew another fellow who turned his whole house into a Wizard of Oz wonderland.  It's a gay thing.)  But even after 70 years of reruns - the first I Love Lucy episode was broadcast on October 15, 1951 - I still laugh out loud at all of Lucy's comic turns and jibes, even though I know the routines by heart.  Few other comedians are still quite so funny after so many years have gone by.  A welcome antidote to the all-pervading sour-pussism of the deadly serious modern world.

So I note here a couple of new productions that extend our interest in Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (without whom there would be no "Lucy") even further.  The first is a podcast on Turner Classic Movies by Ben Mankiewicz, successor to longtime TCM host Robert Osborne.  There have been nine weekly pocasts already and at least one more is yet to come.  You can listen to them for free on TCM, or on YouTube, as of the date of this post.  These are fascinating because TCM has scrounged up numerous never-before-heard sound clips of Lucille, as well as family, friends, and co-workers, talking about her life and career from childhood to old age.


And on December 21st comes the debut of Being the Ricardos, an Amazon Prime production starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.  I am always a bit wary of such latter-day reinterpretations, but I will reserve judgment until I've seen it.  Here is the trailer, and a backstage interview with the principal players broadcast a few days ago on CBS Sunday Morning.  Enjoy.


P. S. -- A few words from Lucie Arnaz:


Sunday, December 5, 2021

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

World AIDS Day 2021: 40 Years On


Dr. Fauci has made a name for himself with a new generation in the fight against Covid-19.  But gay men of my generation have always remembered him as a hero of the fight against HIV/AIDS from the start of the plague, when damn few people in public life had the compassion or the guts to stand up for us, and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

News of the plague didn’t reach me and my friends in the Deep South until November of 1981 – forty years ago. I could tell the story of how we dealt with it in my neck of the woods, but as I spent much of the 1980s sequestered for work reasons in a remote small town, living like a monk (mostly), my story is not particularly interesting or eventful.  As with most other things in modern life, the plague as a distinct reality arrived down here several years later than it did on the coasts.  

It was a long time before we really knew what we were up against, and in the meantime there was fear of the unknown to live with. Eventually, having gotten a job in a city, I volunteered to work at a phone bank as an HIV/AIDS counselor for four years, so although I wasn’t on the front lines in a big city, as the era is often portrayed in movies and documentaries, I felt good about doing my small but useful bit in the fight against the plague. 

And of course, as in every war, there were the casualties. Among others, I lost my best friend to the plague; I paid someone to make a quilt with his name on it, which I sent to the National AIDS Quilt and got to see it displayed on the Mall in Washington, D.C., in 1992. That was an overwhelming experience – all those quilts, all those names, all those deaths. Around 1995, I think, the drug cocktail that effectively suppressed HIV was finally found – too late for some, but a miraculous lifesaver for others.

Another thing not always mentioned by reporters is the great support given by many lesbians to gay men who were afflicted – another collective debt of gratitude we owe. Tragic and devastating though it was, the plague in a large way unified the gay and lesbian community across the nation in a fight against a common enemy. And the just-let-them-die attitude of the Reagan Administration certainly raised the political awareness of many:


I guess all I want to say is that I lived through the plague years, I mourned my dead, I did my bit, and now it's History, a remote era, something schoolkids skim over in dusty books - a story already told.  Except that there still is no vaccine for HIV, let alone a cure, and I really don't understand why that is.  But the answer is probably over my head anyway. 

You still pays your money and you takes your chances - that's life, isn't it? Hope for the best, plan for the worst, and enjoy every happy moment as if it were your last, because it may never come again. There are no guarantees. That's all I can say. 

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