Monday, April 30, 2012

Do Tell

I was a draft dodger back in 1969. I'd do it again.

In late 1969 I got a letter from the U.S. Government telling me I was to be part of the Army. I knew that in 1968 over twelve hundred U.S. Troops were being killed per month, and in 1969 over a thousand a month. I wasn't going to be part of that. The Vietnamese had not invaded the United States, nor attacked us in anyway. And if you look at what happened after the U.S. withdrew, it makes you wonder what the hell it was all about. Vietnam is now a peaceful country, and the rest of Southeast Asia did not fall like a row of dominoes as LBJ, and Nixon said they would.

I arrived at the draft board induction center on Van Buren Street in Chicago with a bunch of fellow inductees from the south suburbs. We were ushered into a large room where some guy started going on about what was what. At one point he asked if anybody was for the overthrow of the government. I raised my hand. He looked away. Then he asked if anybody had ever been associated with any anti-American groups. He started reading off a list of those groups, and when he said 'Women Against the War' I raised my hand. You see I had bought some Christmas cards from them the year earlier. "War is not healthy for children and other living things" was their slogan. Again, I was ignored. When it came time for my hearing test I did not respond to any of the sounds in my ear. I passed. When I took the eye exam, I would read the first line and then feign blindness. I passed. It was late in the day and I was getting to the end of the induction physical. I needed to do something or by Christmas I'd be in a rice paddy trying to figure out how to shoot somebody.
"Excuse me sir. What about if I like boys? You know, queer."
It wouldn't be hard to convince these guys, because it was true.
I was immediately ushered off to see a psychiatrist.
"What kind of sex do you have? Where do you go to find it? How many times?" Stupid questions, that I had answers for. Turned out that the United States did not want me after all.
At the last station I turned in my stack of papers to a guy behind a counter.
"Faggot, you got out but you'll never get a good job." He told me.
Thirteen years later I was working in the Great Lakes Naval Base computer room. It was a pretty good job.

I bring all this up because on Friday evening I walked into my favorite gay bar, and it was full of sailors, United States Sailors, in uniform. It was fleet week here in Fort Lauderdale, and because of President Obama none of these American service men and women had to hide from who they are. I was very proud to see them there. The only problem I see is if we ever have another illegal, immoral war, and the government institutes the draft again, how the hell would you get out of that? I guess you'd have to go on Facebook and call the president a jackass

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo Friday; Melanzana

After fifteen years Mark has finally produced a really good garden.
He has kept it weeded, and watered. Now the tomatoes are almost six feet tall, 
and the garden has produced exactly one tomato, and one Chinese eggplant.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Rave About Special K

As a kid, I was a cereal hound. I ate cereal every single day for breakfast, except for those rare occasions when dad would bring home donuts from Klepper's Bakery. Then I was a Boston Cream filled Bismarck hound. When it came to the cereal, I liked rice puffs. They were kind of fun to eat even though they tasted like paper. You did have to pour at least a half cup of sugar on top of them to keep them from floating out of the bowl though. Wheat Chex were also on the breakfast list but also required a ton of sugar. Not because they floated, but because they taste like cardboard. Then there was Frosted Flakes. They were perfect, didn't float, didn't taste like crap, and needed very little sugar added.

I got away from cereal in my adult years, but recently Mark has been buying it again. Usually whatever is on sale. My favorites now are Honey Nut Cheerios, and anything with fruit in it. This week Mark brought home a new one for me, Special K. I don't know what the hell Special K is. It doesn't tell you in the name other than it's special. Turns out this Special K that Mark brought home is special because it has red berries in it. Not blueberries, not strawberries, not raspberries, but something called red berries. Little red disks, that when milk is added to the cereal, turn into slimy mush. I've found that if I put enough sugar on them though, they are almost palatable.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Curb Your Yourself

I'm sitting in the living room watching television at three in the morning because Mark ate supermarket deli fried chicken, half a bag of Milano Raspberry cookies, and drank a strawberry/banana smoothie before going to bed. I know, only half a bag of Milano cookies, I'd have finished that thing off easily. Anyway, he's in the bedroom moaning with his gut churning away, and gassing the place out, so I opted for the television in the living room. I flip through the channels and there's not much to choose from. Very early morning television is even more of a vast waste land than usual. There is nothing on except infomercials about mops, abs, and diets, so I downloaded three 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' episodes. 'Curb' has been on HBO for many years apparently, but I just discovered it two years ago. I love the show, however it seems that I might just love it for the wrong reasons. From what I see, Larry David is supposed to be an uncaring, and selfish person. My problem is that I identify with Larry David. I can see where he's coming from. Sometimes people in wheelchairs are assholes (season 4 episode 1). Sometimes I say the wrong things out loud just like Larry David, but that doesn't mean they're not true.
Anyway, after two hours of Curb Your Enthusiasm I went back into the bedroom. The air had cleared, so I shoved the dogs aside, climbed into bed, blew a fart, and fell asleep.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Going Postal Part II

You can read my original post by clicking here, but in a nutshell this is the story. I needed a second mailbox on my building for my tenants, who apparently have deep dark secrets that would be exposed if I were to rummage through their mail. So I bought a new mail box and while I was putting it up the mailman came by.
 "No! You can't do that. You need permission."
So after four calls to the post office to obtain permission, I finally got frustrated and contacted the United States Postal Service, Customer Service, via email. What I did was copy and paste my little blog post, and send it off without any other explanation. What that got me in return is a call from a very irate lady named Joanne who wanted to know exactly what I said to her manager. I started to repeat my plea for two mail boxes, and that the guy on the phone had said Donna would call me. She stopped me, "Oh I know all about that. Donna's sick. I want to know what you said to Leroy, my boss."
She said this in a demanding and accusatory voice. Joanne was angry.

The fact is that I already have figured out what it is that my tenant didn't want me to find out. It isn't anything I haven't seen before, and I really don't care. So I think I will keep just one mail box. No sense in antagonizing Joanne. After all, going postal is more than just a saying. It has basis in fact.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fluff Piece

From deep in the heap of pillows that Mark has stacked at the head of the bed, I hear the muffled breathing of little Sasha. After some digging, I find her head and try to extract her. Mark rolls over, awakened by my excavations.
"Wha you doon?"
"Trying to keep the dog from suffocating. Go back to sleep."
Not that I really had to tell him, he's snoring again before I can get Sasha out from under the pillows.

Why the hell Mark needs six pillows on the bed for sleeping is a mystery to me. Not only does he have those six, but he has a couple of 'decorative' pillows that I have managed to toss on the floor. If Mark had his way I'd be sleeping across the foot of the bed while he and Sasha draped themselves over the mountain of fluff at the head of the bed. And it's not just the bed that Mark stacks with pillows, he also has throw pillows for the sofa taking up more valuable space. Our sofa seats three comfortably, four in a pinch, but you'd never know it. With all the pillows and dogs on it, skinny ass Mark is the only one who fits.

I bring all this up because this afternoon Mark came traipsing through the house with some gigantic bags from the Home Goods store.
"What's in the bags?"
"Awful large nothings."
"It's just a couple of pillows."
"But you have plenty of pillows."
"I know, and now I have more."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pain in the Ass

I don't mind guests or visitors, even unannounced. Well unannounced only if they bring me something. My problem is with guests who use my bathroom. Now I understand that when visiting you might on occasion need to use my bathroom, especially if you brought some vodka. I find that I need to pee a bit when I've been drinking too. No, that's fine. Take your pee, but put down the seat when you're done. I have dogs.

What I have a problem with is one specific visitor. Every single time he visits, he goes into my bathroom and takes a crap. I don't know if he's trying to save on toilet paper, or he has a bowel problem, but I don't like it. He'll be here for ten, twenty, thirty minutes, and then he disappears. After a while he'll come strolling out of the bathroom along with an aroma that will peel the wall paper off the wall. That aroma, that awful smell of poop mixed with Glade Air Freshener. For some reason it clings to every room, and hangs around for hours. This evening I opened the windows for half an hour, and still, the aroma was there. But as bad as all that is, that isn't the worst part about this whole thing. What really ticks me off is that almost every time I go into the bathroom after our visitor, I find evidence that my tube of Proctozone-HC has been tampered with. Go ahead, Google it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gay Bar Pickup

April 9, 1997, I was sitting at the bar of a new club in Fort Lauderdale with my best friend and drinking buddy, Dennis. There is one thing about having a good friend to drink with, they can always act as a second pair of eyes. Dennis nudged me and pointed to a man standing only a few feet away.
"Take a look at that guy, he's cute."
He was cute. Tall, lean, with a handsome face and a dark  complexion. As I sat there staring at him, he turned around and our eyes met. Now sometimes that's a good thing, but this evening I didn't feel like going through the ritual, so nothing came of it. Four days later, Dennis and I are in the same bar.
"Alan, there's that guy again."
Sure enough, he was standing across the room sipping on a cocktail, and looking very available. I excused myself, and walked over to him. I'm not quite sure how I started the conversation, but I'm sure it was something fairly clever, such as.
"Cool Video, huh?"
He took his eyes off the video monitor behind the bar and looked at me. He smiled and said,
"Uh, it's okay."
That's how I met Mark. Isn't it romantic?
After a few drinks and some conversation about our jobs (turned out we were kind of in the same computer business), I suggested he come over to my house.

About a week later I was leaving the super market, and there was Mark, standing out front with his bags of groceries, waiting for a taxi. That was when I stopped my car and uttered those fateful words.
"Hey, remember me? Would you like a ride?"
That ride led to being invited over for dinner, and that dinner led to another date, and on, and on.

I think back about that often. If I hadn't offered him that ride, but just said hello and kept going, I wouldn't be living in this house full of clutter. I wouldn't have to strain to hear the television while a negro man sitting next to me shouts back at it. I wouldn't be forty pounds overweight because he stuffs me full of fatty foods. He often makes me do what I don't really want to do. I wouldn't have had to walk up 284 steps to get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. In fact I wouldn't have even gone to Paris if not for Mark, nor Amsterdam, Rome, Venice, Florence, or Prague. I wouldn't have driven across the United States with my dog if not for him. I wouldn't have redecorated, and remodeled my home. No, I'd probably still be living in my little place here, decorated as Mark said, "like a bad dorm room".

Mark has a lot of flaws, I of course have none. Life without Mark would have been vastly different from what it actually is now. But when I weigh what my life would have been like if I hadn't offered him that ride, if I hadn't walked up to him and let loose with that cool pick up line, I think it might have been quite a bit emptier.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Friday

Chandler: "Psst, Sasha. Slide that bowl over here."

Sasha: "Do you hear something? Munch, munch, munch. Sounds like a beggar to me."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Video Thursday

 Why your pizza tastes like sweat, boogers, and Gummi Bears.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Early Bird

"Are you ready to go?"
I looked up at the clock and over at the television, Judge Judy was still on.
"Now? It's not even five o'clock yet."
"I'm starving, let's go now."
Mark had asked me earlier if I wanted to go to Tequila Sunrise, one of his favorite cheap restaurants, and I agreed knowing that they had the gigantic margarita special on Tuesday. So I grabbed my sun glasses, since the sun was still high in the sky, and warned Mark to drive carefully.
"It's rush hour you know."
At that very moment Mark screamed out the window at a slow moving Toyota, "Get the hell off the phone and drive!"
I guess he figured out it was rush hour.
It is a running joke here in Florida, that the old people live off the early bird specials at restaurants. Now here we were doing that very thing. It's just another scary indicator of how old we are getting. The only difference between me, Mark, and those eighty year old folks, is that as we were entering the restaurant, they were leaving.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

R.E.M. L.E.D.

Somewhere around midnight I turn off the television and fall asleep. I am warmly ensconced in piles of blankets, pillows, and dogs. I sleep pretty good, for hours I am in a deep sleep. Around five in the morning I start dreaming. This means I'll have to get up and take a leak soon. I have noticed that my middle of the night pee breaks are always preceded by some kind of bizarre dream. Don't get me wrong, I like the dreams. They are one of my favorite forms of entertainment, and cutting them short for that pee break does ruin it. It is when I come back from the bathroom that I notice, it's almost like daylight in here. Five in the morning and I can see everything in the bedroom. Chandler flopped out in the middle of the bed, Sasha stretched across the pillows, and Mark, skinny Mark, taking up most of the rest of the bed. So why is it so bright in here? The answer is LEDs, Light emitting diodes, the ubiquitous signal of the modern world. The television has a blue one to let me know it is off. On the dresser is Mark's Kindle charging with it's green led. Next to that is the Directv receiver, and Mark's cell phone charging up behind it. Both have led's just so that I know they are doing their jobs. Over on the other side of the room is the house phone sitting in it's cradle, recharging, and helping to light that side of the room. But worst of all is the new fan that Mark has bought. It not only pushes air around, it filters it, and adds ozone to the room. It's the ozone function that causes the brightest blue led I have ever seen to remain lit all night. I have asked Mark to turn off that part of the fan, but he insists it helps him breath. So I have a choice to make, let Mark breath, or let me sleep. There is one benefit to the giant, bright blue, ozone led. It does act as kind of a beacon so that I will always find the bathroom in the dark. Nothing worse than stumbling into the closet instead of the bathroom....   Yes, I have done that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kweeks Draw McGraw

I have lived sixty two years. Twenty three of them here in this sunny paradise, Florida. For every minute of those sixty two plus years I have never owned, nor thought I needed, a gun. I am starting to think that maybe that should change. Seeing as how Florida is awash in guns, and crazy people are shooting other people every day, I possibly should join them. I mean think about it. If we all had guns, and all had concealed gun permits, we would be able to free up the cops to just write speeding tickets. Think of the revenue they could generate instead of wasting their time on criminals. Citizens would be taking care of all the criminal activity themselves. That guy across the street who stands out front talking on the phone every night, probable drug dealer. I'll just shoot the bastard, and say he was an imminent threat to my safety. No, I don't really have any proof that he's a drug dealer, but he's on the phone every night! I feel it in my gut that he is.

So yeehaw! Let's shoot'em up and return to the American tradition of the old west. Let's all pretend we live in a frontier town without any law enforcement. Most cops are assholes anyway, and we would need a lot less of them if we just made getting the bad guys our job. Oh, and one more thing. Mark and I have discussed this, and we agree, everybody gets a gun. Every black guy, including the ones that scare white people, every Mexican, every Puerto Rican, everybody gets a gun. That way we will all feel so much safer knowing we can protect ourselves. That's all for today because I have some practicing to do, and very little time to do it in. That quick draw skill doesn't come easy at my age.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Photo Friday

Here I am in 1955 on Neighborhood Watch. 
My gun is hidden under my fancy pants.
I am not sure if I am taking this woman into custody
or I am saving her from.....
...this guy. Obviously he doesn't belong in our little lily white town.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Stink at Bowling

After four weeks, this godawful cold that has hung on like a visitor from up north, seems to have abated. My sense of smell has returned. You would think I'd be happy, but I actually wish it had hung on at least one more day.

I always look forward to Monday night bowling. I enjoy it even if I often look like an uncoordinated boob. I do bowl well every once in a while, just often enough to keep me trying, but the norm these days is crap. This past Monday we were competing against a team with a very special member, I'll call him Pepé Le Pew. Pepé is a guy who has no sense of smell or no sense of what he smells like, and apparently does not own a bathtub. He stinks. When we bowl against his team I usually spend most of my time upwind, near the bar. This has a two-fold benefit. I don’t have to smell his stench, and If I drink enough the smell doesn’t bother me so much. The biggest problem with Pepé is that he is distracting. When it is your turn to bowl it is very disconcerting to have a cloud of Pepé’s odor wafting under your nose. The only benefit I can see bowling against this stink bomb, is that on those nights I don’t feel so bad about my silent little farts.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Going Postal

A simple request by my new tenants, "Could we have a separate mail box?" Understandable that they wouldn't want me pawing through their mail everyday as I retrieved mine. For eighteen years I have had one giant mail box that all the apartments used, and I have to admit, I like seeing what my tenants are getting. It has given me a heads up on at least one occasion that a certain tenant was preparing to leave us. It also lets me see when they get late notices on car payments, and credit cards. And then there was the tenant who got weird underwear delivered by mail all the time.

So last Thursday I went to the Home Depot and bought another mail box. I was just about to install it next to the existing one when our mail carrier came by.
"Hey, I'm putting up another mail box so that each address on the building has their own box."
"No, not permitted. You must get permission. I say what mail box you have."
Did I mention that we have a Chinese mail man who can barely speak English, and I suspect can't hardly read it as well? He also parks his truck under a tree in the church parking lot and takes two hour lunches. I know this because I see him as I walk around the block to deliver the mail to my neighbors that was mistakenly put in my mail box. Fine, I thought, I'll just call the post office and clear this all up.

"You want to do what?"
"Put up a second mail box. We have two addresses on this building, and I want each address to have a separate mail box."
"Okay, hold on."
Fifteen minutes later the same guy picks up the phone again.
"It shows that you have only one address there. You can only have one box."
"No, I have two address on my building, two electric meters, two water meters, and you have been delivering mail addressed to ##09 and ##07 since the place was built in 1960."
"Uhhh, let me go back into the records room and look again."
It is refreshing to know that our post office has a 'records room', and hasn't entered the twentieth century yet. When the guy came back from the 'records room' he told me that I would have to call back on Monday when the Post Master would be in.

Well that all happened last week. Yesterday, Monday, I called again.
"What? We don't have a Post Master here. I'm the supervisor, waddaya want?"
I again went through the whole story.
"I'll have to take your number and have Donna call back. She handles those things."
"Where is Donna now?" I asked.
"Oh, she's off today."

Monday, April 2, 2012

The War on Sleep

 Somewhere in the distance I hear a noise that keeps getting louder and louder. It's the telephone, and it seems far away because I've been in a deep sleep for at least an hour. It's one in the morning. Reaching, and fumbling around, I find the phone and answer it.
"Squawk! The car won't start, the car won't start! Squawk! Squawk!"
It's Mark. He had gone out about four hours ago to hang out with Anthony, his friend from New York. Now he has a problem and figures I would love to be part of it.
"What the fuck are you calling me for?"
"It won't start.... " Mark weeps into the phone.
"Well call Triple A. What the goddamnedhell do you think we pay them for?"

Thirty minutes later, and I have finally drifted back to sleep. It doesn't last long. The phone is again ringing, and I know it's Mark.
"What? What the goddamnedsonofabitchenhell do you want?"
"Triple A isn't going to be here until two fifteen." he whines.
"And what? Why are you calling me? Sonofamother..... "
This time Mark hangs up before I'm done cursing him and his very existence.

I don't know why Mark hates to see me sleep. He seems to think sleep is somehow stealing time I should be spending with him. It doesn't matter that he went out for a good time without me, I still shouldn't be sleeping on his time. If I am sleeping in my big fluffy recliner, Mark wakes me. If I sneak in a little afternoon nap while Mark is out shopping, he calls me. I swear he has taken ten years off my life by denying me my beauty sleep.

It is now two thirty in the morning, and I have been sleeping soundly since Mark's last interruption. Suddenly Chandler launches himself from the end of the bed, and Sasha scrambles across my face, both of them barking madly. It's Mark. He's coming in the front door and the dogs are doing their job of protecting the house from unwanted intruders. Unfortunately, this time they have failed in their duty.