Sunday, May 31, 2020

Funny

It's not funny here any more.


  • Covid 19 deaths are still rising quickly. We are over 103,000 dead.
  • In the past few weeks 3 Black Americans were killed by police officers (or retired PD) on video. 1 on-camera with seemingly no remorse.
  • Riots have occurred in dozens of American cities. Many encouraged and egged on by outsiders - often white groups, either white supremists or undercover police - others by far left agitators trying to encourage violence against police.

8 1/2 minutes the officer this. 3 minutes more after George Floyd was completely unresponsive


The President has moved quickly to

  • NOT address the nation
    • This is in contrast to George H W Bush after the LA Riots, Clinton after Waco, Geogre W Bush after 9/11 and .. well pretty much every President ever
  • But he did tweet, tweet, tweet again and retweet to encourage violence
    • Retweeted racist comments from 1968 when protesters were killed all over America
      • "When the looting starts, the shooting starts"
    • Threatened to release vicious attack dogs on blacks (echos to Civil Rights)
  • Decided to defund the World Health Organization
  • Through a fit when Angela Merkel said she could not attend the G7, so he claimed the G7 is obsolete and invited Russia (the G7 disinvited Russia after it occupied parts of Georgia and then again after it occupied Crimea).
Trump, who lived through this, said he didn't understand the imagery of "vicious dogs and portests"


This is a horrible situation, and I do not blame Donald Trump for all of it. But as President he is shameless in ignoring the hurt of the country. He is derelict in not trying to heal the country.

Everytime you think it can't get worse - it does.

I would say it is rock bottom - but I would have said that after 100,000 deaths & the murder of Ahmad Arbery and I would have been totally wrong.

Friday, May 29, 2020

New York Times Food Editor loves this book

The New York Times Food Editor loves that this book finally was reissued. It is from the Tampa Bay Junior League in the 1960s.

Apparently the Tampa Bay Junior League of Pirates!


We Are Living in an Irwin Allen Disaster Movie!

We are living in a horror movie! Kind of a funny in the "end of the world" way, but a horror movie.



LINK

Have we ever had a President that doesn't bring us together in a crisis?

One of my main worries about the United States is that our leadership is fragmenting the country. In both the literal term and in the friendly fire "fragging" sense. I lived through earthquakes, massive fires, landslides, hurricanes, previous virus outbreaks. And always the President has tried to bring the country through together.



During the Rodney King riots, the attacks on the World Trade Center, the destruction of a Federal Building in Oklahoma, the med-fly infestation, during all of these the President pulls the country together. But Trump has activated the base against half our own country over pool parties and mask usage!

Granted, in this he has the full backing of Fox News propaganda - which also benefits from an angry, frightened viewer base. And I understand that if he can rile up his base enough, and wear down the rest of us, he might win re-election, but at what cost.

This is the verbal and political flailing of a man more interested in self than country. A man who is willing to burn everything down rather than be an American first.

One final notice here, Mitch McConnell setting blue states versus red states in federal aid is doubly bad. Not just are blue states net contributors to the fed, you are going to set states against each other right before hurricane season? That's not smart.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Larry Kramer Passed Away


Larry Kramer has passed away. He was the original driving force behind ActUp!, and brought the world's attention to AIDS.

He was living in New York as his friends began dying of AIDS and the world didn't talk about it. Or, when they did, it was discussed as the gay curse or hidden.

Living in Los Angeles, we had our own ways to fight and publicize the deaths, but forcing people to be aware was critical. Gay men, particularly white gay men, can easily blend into the background - it is a privilege that other minorities do not have. But int he AIDS crisis it was a curse.

You see lots of people ignored it. When young men died, particularly back east, family didn't tell people it was AIDS - so it was easily ignored. It was silent in the fact that embarrassed parents, aunts and grandparents held secret. ActUp! fought that stigma. Larry Kramer spearheaded the groups that refused to die quietly.

What it took to change AIDS and LGBT rights was tangentially good people doing good things. But primarily, it was friends, then parents and grandparents who refused to ignore death and destruction. My friends were out and everyone's parents knew, but we didn't talk about it - until AIDS.

When my parent Mark died, I told my grandmother and she took it to her Bible Study group in Orange County.  After discussing it for a while, the Bible Study group told Zela that Mark's death was like any other spouse's death. Suddenly you have 10 women in a conservative Christian Bible Study group advocating for people. Not gays or fags or queers, but people - sons, grandsons, partners and friends.

And once people admit the deaths, they have to admit to the lives. That is when LGBT rights grew. When we, the Larry Kramers, the Gavins, the Bible Study groups, the friends, demanded that family members wouldn't die in silence or hiding.

I have more I could say, but I shall, for a change remain a bit silent here. I leave you with a picture of friends. These are the 4 Marks. The two blonds are both dead. My partner Mark was on the far right. The far left is our friend Mark G, who has lived with HIV for a long time .... decades. And, if the Larry Kramer's of the world were NOT loud, did NOT demand action, all four would be dead and, worse, forgotten.





Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sometimes you just have to know your husband

I got him a gift. He loves it.


Good News in the Future?

This is fascinating to me. They have been able to train dogs to sniff out Covid 19. AND, the results are as good (probably better in many cases) than actual tests.


You can read the entire article, there are a lot of diseases that dogs can smell already. Actually I have read (elsewhere) that dogs are fantastic at sniffing out some cancers (like prostrate) from samples - but it is super boring work and dogs don't like it. Because they have to be in a lab, and just sniff those of beakers over and over.

Right now the have proven it with urine samples, but if they can get dogs to sniff people and find out- then they could use them at airports just like drug sniffing dogs. That would be great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

An Odd Little Week-end

Well, as week-ends during the lockdown go, it was abnormally annoying. I rented a place in the Pennsylvania Pocono mountains so we could get out of town. But, VRBO didn't tell the owner or me that PA is still in lockdown. So that was a bust!



We went on a hike in Pennsylvania.  We had the masks if needed (we didn't eeally wear them hiking).


It was a gorgeous green


Not sure what this was. It looked like it was a historic site or something, but the actual descriptions (on the plaques) were missing. Just empty.


This is the wildest thing, there is wild wisteria all over New York's palisades and Pennsylvania's Pocono mountains.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Aaron Tveit and Gavin Greel : Broadway Backwards



One highlight of each Broadway year is "Broadway Backwards" where Broadway actors sing the song meant for the opposite sex. 

This is Aaron Tveit, my very favorite Broadway actor, singing Take Me or Leave Me from Rent between 2 women. He is singing it with Gavin Creel. Gavin Creel is also great. 

Ed and I  (sometimes just me) have seen Aaron in Next to Normal, Catch Me If You Can, Moulin Rouge and Saved! He is amazing. You might have seen on TV in Gossip Girl (I did not) or Graceland or Grease Live or at the Hollywood Bowl in RENT.

As for Gavin. We saw him in Hello Dolly, where he won a Tony with Bette Midler. We also saw him in Hair on Broadway. He was also the original Elder Price in London.

Enjoy.

No, No this isn't my worry at all.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Very Many Different Per Captias

English Language meet your death....


I do not understand hate against Asian-Americans

It is consistently hard for me to understand the hatred directed towards Asian-Americans*. And it is getting worse recently with a combination of President Trump's antipathy towards China, the blame of China for the Coronavirus (debunked, but that means nothing to our freaked out citizens) and his followers general belief that any non-white, non-straight American is evil.

It is all but impossible for me to understand because I was raised with Japanese Americans. And my parents, not massive progressives by any means, never displayed anything towards Japanese Americans. Not anger, not pity, not surprise, nothing because they were just neighbors.

Current Chap. Ave. School class


My early (K-4th grade) schooling was in Gardena. Until 2014 (and obviously when I was young) Gardena, California had the highest percentage of Japanese American residents of any city on the mainland - Honolulu has a higher percentage, but only just. It seemed normal to me that my school, Chapman Ave - which was no where near an actual street named Chapman**, was made up of caucasian kids, Japanese-American kids and a few hispanic kids. In fact, for many years I just assumed the entire country was about 1/2 Japanese - kids, right?

My first kiss was with Lisa Kitsuda, Doreen Ida's father taught me about planting and bonzai trees. To me they were neighbors, not "them".

What I learned was that after America interned Japanese nationals during WWII, many of them resettled in Gardena. And so we were taught this early in school. My school performed amazingly in the LA City School district (the school district Gardena was in).

And so the anger and hatred towards all Asian-Americans is difficult for me to both process and understand.  This isn't the first time hatred has boiled over against this community. There was lots of anger during the Vietnam War as well. Hatred tends to lump all "others" into groups.

Under President Trump hatred towards all people has skyrocketed. Attacks on blacks, hispanics, asians, Jewish people, trans people and gays (when they find us) has blown up. But I still don't understand it.

One last thing, I found a picture of my favorite - ABSOLUTE FAVORITE restaurant when I was little. It was in Gardena. The Tijuana Inn. It s the place I went with my parents and they never really fought while there. They would make me ground beef enchiladas (still my comfort food. I made them last night) with a side of french fries.


Yum!!!!!!

*For my British friends, in the states "Asian-Americans" are normally used to describe Americans of east asian descent, like Chinese, Japanese or Korean descent. The British term "Asians" usually describes those of Indian descent, which we simply call Indians or Indian-Americans.
** Seriously. Chapman ave School was bordered by Gramercy Ave, Saint Andrews Place, 150th and Compton Blvd, (name later changed to "Marine Blvd"). Who the F knows why?

This is snarky, but I find it humerous

There is no doubt really mean, and probably true. But my favorite line is the last about Trump's "laser like focus".


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A Trip to Bear Mountain and Hessian Lake



This last week-end Eddie and I went up to Bear Mountain State Park and the Hessian Lake. It is a smallish lake/pond next to the Bear Mountain Inn. It was a lovely drive.


This is the Bear Mountain Inn itself. It was closed, but the parking lots were open and there was a pretty big crowd. But everyone was 6 feet away from other groups and almost everyone wore their masks.

Here is something I found out, that N95 mask REALLY keeps out pollen.I was sneezing like crazy when I lowered it to drink water, but I was okay when it was up.  I was surprised as I have pretty bad allergies.

You can see people on the rock on the far side of the lake.


This is the view from that rok.

Yes, Of Course, the Democrats are the "Elite"

File this under out of touch. President Trump fired the Inspector General (another one!) for the State Department. The reason is that the Secretary of State was trying to approve $8Billion dollars of sales to Saudi Arabia. Because it is sensitive and secret equipment it has to go through Congress. He was trying to sneak this around Congress and the IG found out and started an investigation. Sec of State Pompeo asked Trump to fire him and he did.

But this is a touchy time to  be hiding favors to Saudi Arabia. The FBI just released information that the Saudi citizen in our military training - the one that shot up a bunch of Americans, yeah he was in touch with Al Queada over and over the days right before he murdered American. At an American base. That we were paying for his training at.  So yeah, bad time to be doing a favor for the Saudis.

So Pompeo has "let it slip" (ie lied about) that the IG was investigating a staffer doing his errands. And that worked up President Tiny Hands. After all, our Very Stable Genius thinks, the Secretary of State shouldn't be doing dishes when his wife isn't around. Why should't his staffer do it?



Why? BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL YOU DUMB ASS HICK.

Look, we pay Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over $200,000 a year to be Secretary of State. We give him a work staff. If he wants someone to do his fucking dishes, hire a housekeeper. I had a woman come in once a week when I was make $60K 30 years ago. You can afford it you cheap ass fuck.  As for Donald.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Come On Scott - It Can't Be That Bad....

Just as I start to spiral - thank go, Netlix brings me a smile.  And, if you don't get it, no worries. It's the Umbrella Academy. Either you do, or you don't.




The Original from the Series (number 5 isn't back yet and the urn holds the ashes of number 6 - who are both in the preview dance)....


Our, Literal, White Power President

Our President is flailing as he moves towards a possible electoral loss tis November. He has always been willing to burn the house down, rather than leave it, but it is getting worse.


Our President has always had a "dog whistle" out to the very worst among us. Starting with the White Power march in Charlottesville, Virginia - home of Thomas Jefferson - the President has proclaimed these were "very good people".  The people above. The people with the Tiki torches marching against blacks - and a reference photo in case you choose it ignore the obvious. The people that murdered one female student and drove a car at full speed through a crowd - the very thing he called terrorism in Europe. Very Good People.

This is not from the 1920s, but the 1970s - the hated Vietnamese then.

This has been repeated in the new attacks on Governors and the Media trying to keep people safe. I am all for protesting what you don't approve of. But protesting with AK 47s, closing legislative sessions and generally threatening lives is terrorism, not protesting. 

Read below for the Hawaiian shirt on the Very Good Person threatening everyone with his big boy gun



As for the Hawaiian shirt with the semi-automatic. I'll just fucking quote.



And now his daughter (Ivanka - not Tiffany) and Elon Musk have gone full white-power asshole on us all. The Red Pill reference noted here is to the Matrix, where the "red pill" shows the truth of the world. It started as a "Men's Power" incel statement. "Incel" refers to men that are involuntarily celibate because women won't have sex with them, because they are too "alpha male". It has, since Donald Trump has been elected, often used as an awaking to white power in general and adulation to Donald Trump in particular.



So when the US goes all fucking Nazi Germany, and Americans say "Gosh, we had no idea!" Yeah we had a total idea.

Lynn Favorite Bird of Florida: The Swallow Tailed Kite

Lynn commented on a post the other day and said her Florida favorite bird was the Swallow Tailed Kite, so I took a look.  It is a beautiful bird.


There are some that live all year in the Amazon, but there are a lot that come to Florida to mate and raise young. The high Cyprus trees there are their favorite.
There is an episode on Youtube about them in Palm Beach County (link)


They are raptors and were long known as Swallow Tailed Eagles, before being reclassified as kites. They have been tracked and may migrate as many as 10,000 miles a year. Which makes the ones that live all year round in the amazon sound kind of lazy.



Beautiful birds, they each lizards, insects and small snakes, so we like them.
A flock of Swallow Tailed Kites at Sunset on Sanibel Island.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Today is not a good day

Today is not a good day. I should not let news bug me, but as I watch the slow motion car wreck that my country is becoming I cannot help but be heartbroken.

how can you allow this to happen?

It's heartbreaking to see the United States become like some shit-ass banana republic that let's thePresident get away with shit because our representatives don't have the balls to do anything.

Fuck, if I was President Tiny Hands, I would do the same thing. He has gotten away with lying, breaking the law, soliciting foreign involvement in our election and the Republicans (bar Mitt Romney) have greased up, bent over and asked for another one.

I cannot watch.

Friday, May 15, 2020

One of the most Brilliant things Trump has done

President Trump and Fox News are super effective. I mean, President Tiny Hands isn't smart, but he knows people and emotions more than most anyone. He is super effective as a bully. And when that doesn't work, as a manipulator.

Having literally watched my father, a short, fat, bald man sleep with lots and lots of women and a few men, I must say sociopathic narcissists are talented like few others in that way. No empathy or moral compass can be helpful when manipulating those of us that care.

In this case, Trump has convinced his supporters that Democrats and liberals (the same in Trumpland) do NOT want the country reopened. That is bullshit. We all want the country opened. We are all tired of staying home, not working (or staying home and working). 

And now that the country is reopening, in some places safely, they have convinced Trumpland that wearing a mask is communism. Protecting others and thinking of others is now a sign of an oppressive regime.

They need enemies. If you happen to live in a blue state, be a person of color or a woman or a fag, they hate you. Not "you" individually, but YOU generally. For many of us it is / was scary. Now it's just pissing me off.

Fuck you. If you hate us, don't take our money.


Birds from the Sanctuary in Australia.


When Ed and I went to Australia - so many years ago when travel was still possible (January) we went to an animal sanctuary. We went mainly to see the animal saved from brush fires. But there were also some very cool birds.  I love birds.

Kookaburra (I believe sitting in an "old gum tree") 

Emu

Ibis - Just hanging out

Little fucking birds

Big fucking birds.

Fox News tends to change their opinion, based entirely on the whims of President Trump

The Judge in question here is tough. When he was tough on anti-Trump lawyers, 18 months ago, Fox News praised him. Wednesday he was tough on President Trump's Attorney General - now the praise is lacking.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Want to Hear a Story

So this shot means a ton to me. I will tell you why, it holds layers and layers of LA (and my) history.


Let us peal back some layers of this, we'll start some recent notes.

This is the intersection of the 105 (the Century Freeway) and the 110 (the Harbor Freeway). 

1. From the image's vertical center (the 110) to horizontal left (the 105) is a two lane flyover interchange. This is where the opening number from La La Land was filmed. It bugs me a bit because they used the southbound AND northbound car pool lanes - yet in the shot all the cars are traveling northbound.

2. The 105 had been planned for years, but was the last freeway approved and built in the Los Angeles county part of the greater metro area. Other freeways (and even a few tollways) were built in Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County - but this was the last one built in LA county int he built up sections. The 105 was fought over and finally built with some odd limitations: it was allowed no more three lanes each way (not counting car-pool). It had to have car-pool lanes and was the first (in LA County) to have car-pool to car-pool only interchanges. It was also the firsst freeway to have the bad idea of signals on some interchanges to regular traffic flow. A freeway should NOT have signals once you are on.

3. The major road just north of the interchange is Imperial Ave. The highway to the left going north to south is Figueroa Ave, and the next one to the left is Vermont. My Grandfather, Ham, used to work right there at Cambridge Wirecloth. Way before the Harbor Freeway because the 110 and before the 105 was a gleam in its father's eye.

4. Before the 105 was built the 110, was widened massively, including carpool lanes that were elevated above the freeway.

5. If you follow Figueroa up in the picture until it disappears into what looks like a building. That is USC, University of Southern California, which I attended school year 1976-77. 

6. Just south of that, and barely visible, is the Colosseum. Built for the 1932 Olympics it has been used by USC (still), UCLA, LA Rams, LA Raiders, LA Dodgers, the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, the 1959 World Series (as the Dodgers base before Dodger Stadium) as well as John F. Kennedy's acceptance speech in 1960.
6a. I was a cheerleader for UCLA at that stadium the 1979-80 season of UCLA football.
6b. I went to a Papal Mass with John Paul II at the Colosseum.
6c. In 1984 I attend the Los Angeles Olympics there and saw Carl Lewis and Tommy Hitnaus compete.

7. North of that - up in the foothills is a spec of white. That is the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park. Famous as hell and you've seen it in a zillion movies from Rebel Without a Cause to Charles Angles, Full Throttle.

8. The 110, the Harbor Freeway, wasn't always US 110.  It was built by the city to connect downtown Los Angeles (in the upper section of the image) to the Los Angeles Harbor (not seen) after Los Angeles annexed half of the harbor (now known as the Port Of Los Angeles / Long Beach). It marches down Figueroa Blvd - which was built in that thin strip of land LA annexed to connect the city to the port. Figueroa was, for many years, the longest street in any single city - it stretches 30 miles almost all in the city of Los Angeles. Back then the Harbor Freeway was known as the 11. The 11 means that it was not part f the Interstate highway system when it was built. The expansion changed the name to the  Interstate 110 because federal funds were used. And still, the part of the roadway north of Los Angeles' downtown is known as the Pasadena Freeway, but is numbered 11 because it is too small and limited to be part of the Interstate system.

9. Next to the freeway at USC is a car-lot called Felix Chevrolet. It has had a giant Felix the Cat  sign out there very visible from the old 11. The expansion put a second level and you can't really see Felix anymore. But it always brings a smile to me - because as you drove from Inglewood or Gardena (my childhood homes), the 11 would move from slightly below grade to above grade and the Felix sign would pop up. My grandfather would say, "Hi Marty Mart" and wave at the sign, called my aunt (who was down syndrome) the cat. She would laugh and yell "Hi Daddy, daddy daddy". It was a game that never failed. And Zela would often give Martha a nudge right before the sign so she could say it first. It still brings a smile to my face.

10. In the upper center left, the first set of hills that suddenly dip, that is the Cahuenga Pass. When Ed and I lived in the Hollywood Hills, we lived right there, towards the left in those hills.

11. Right were the new 105 exits the image to the left used to be a big park. My mom and Jeanie would take us kids (younger than 7 years old) there every now and then to play croquet, as there were public, permanent croquet fields there, much bigger than the backyard fields could ever be.

Images:

Opening scene in La La Land.  On the overpass (all cars are going the same way - not right, but okay)


Los Angeles Olympic's Opening 1984

The Griffith Observatory

Hi Marty! Hi Marty!


From Gareth

Because my friends are funny.


About sums it up