I have another ‘online presence’ called ‘Illusion Veil’.

The plan, such as it was, was for a place for my own photographs, and it may yet become that.  Tinkering last year, I put two placeholder photographs not-mine on illusionveil.comwith remarks.

Now, if my own pictures do eventually appear, and you go ‘Hmm…’  Well, won’t that be just like you: mean.

Since I have not posted here for a while, you might enjoy a very short visit there.

The two images are clickable for size.

At some point during the past seven years, I know I’ve reported that when I was sixteen and the ink still wet on my driver’s license, I drove a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle directly, but completely unintentionally, into an oak.

The archery, so to speak, was spectacular, as the front of the car was completely and symmetrically wrapped around the trunk of the tree.

At the time, I was puzzled by my father’s complete lack of anger that I had destroyed the car.  It truly did not occur to me that he was only profoundly grateful that I had not died in the crash, which was died-worthy.

The car was replaced without much to-do, and I ended up with a nifty scar in my right eyebrow.  Nothing like a Prussian saber-style one on my cheek, but still pretty good for a sixteen year-old.

Fast forward to today.  I’m driving the quintessential old-man car, a Big White 2002 Buick, which we inherited from Stephen’s mother in 2004.  The legendary used car salesman’s pitch ‘This car was previously owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church’?  That’s the car.

In 2004, I had just given away my Honda Accord to my nephew who was going through a nasty divorce.  For insurance purposes, I guess, both their cars were in his wife’s name, and she said, ‘You don’t have a car’.

The Big White Buick came with no miles to speak of on the odometer, and four ruined tires with ten pounds of air pressure in each.  We decided that I’d drive it until we decided with what to replace the Accord.

Sloth and the memory of the dreaded car salesman experience have kept me behind the wheel of the Big White Buick.

The car is terribly comfortable and it was free, so what’s not to like?  Only this.  Even with no traffic behind me, drivers will pull out in front of me from side streets.  I’ve reasoned that they decide the old codger couldn’t possibly be going fast enough hit them — or, they do not want to get behind the old coot because he’s probably going twenty miles an hour.

I’ve never driven a large car like the Big White Buick before.  My previous vehicles: a brand new 1963 Beetle to replace the smashed one, a Karmann Ghia, a small Volvo, a Honda Civic, and the Accord.


The Karmann Ghia was a love affair which ended after ten years.  Picking up a friend from the airport in the wee hours of the morning, a suicidal deer leapt into our path, followed much later by two separate large transport trucks sideswiping the car on two separate occasions.

I kept a souvenir.


I think I should mention in closing that the 1983 Civic I owned, I also destroyed, this time in an Interstate Highway ‘mishap’ of the no-survivors caliber.  Unlike the unlucky Beetle, not my fault, State Patrol certified, thank you.

Be that as it may, since there was a neat thirty year span between my first destruction of an automobile and the second, if I stay on schedule, the next one is due in 2023.

When I do get around to replacing the Big White Buick, whatdaya think?


I ran across ‘West Side Story’ in-progress on Turner Classic Movies the other evening, and watched it through.  I was 14 years-old when ‘WSS’ first appeared in theaters along with ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ in 1961.

On t h a t subject, in a long-gone previous post, I reported that like multitudes and multitudes of young girls ‘both male and female’, my secret inner Holly Golightly spiked the afternoon I saw ‘B@T’ in 1961.  (I don’t know if it can be said I’ve recovered…)

Two pictures unique under the heading ‘Hollywood New York Movies’, ‘B@T’ was something of a scandal in ’61 for unabashedly having a kept man in the storyline.  On the other hand — and it seems unfathomably quaint now — at least one song lyric was changed for the movie score of ‘WSS’ to please the censors.

Stage: Anita’s gonna get her kicks tonight / We’ll have our private little mix tonight / He’ll walk in hot and tired, so what / No matter if he’s tired, as long as he’s hot

Movie: He’ll walk in hot and tired, poor dear / No matter if he’s tired, as long as he’s near

In the day, I heard the statement that the score of ‘West Side Story’ was ‘based on five notes’.  Decades later I asked a musicologist friend what that meant.  He smiled condescendingly, ‘No time to explain’ (meaning: no idea).

Some while later (research time) we encountered one another and he told me to listen to the opening notes of the overture.  (dah-DAH-dah-dah-DAH)  Still no explanation of ‘based’ on five notes.  Any help out there?

Though I can play the score in my head, yesterday I fished my soundtrack CD of ‘WSS’ from the cabinet and flipping through the booklet while listening, found among the production stills peppered throughout, this one.

Excuse me?


I ran several rather involved errands for Stephen yesterday morning, so he took me to lunch.  I love having lunch with him.  For one thing he’s still ‘alert’ at that point, not yet withered from a whole day dealing with his workplace menagerie.

We decided on Chinese at a new place downtown, very tasty.  However, I did not discover until later in the day that, though Stephen’s fortune cookie did have a fortune, mine did not.  What should I make of this?  Or should I, make?

Here are other questions.  Our friend Betsy sent us the following, one of those forwarded and forwarded kinds of emails.  Following the smile, the sigh, knowing how knee-jerk it is for nonmembers of the choir to cherrypick the queer part.

Anyway, read it through from the start, don’t cheat.

–    –    –    –    –    –

On her radio show, Dr. Laura said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Schlesinger, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as quite informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman,

Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

P.S. (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian.)

Growing up, I was petrified at the prospect of military service, more or less a sure thing in a man’s life at that time.

Short version: After two years of hating college, I was a lost, pre-coming-out (the President wasn’t naming gay bars as National Monuments at that time) little twenty-year-old.  In a move somewhere between joining the French Foreign Legion (does that reference even make sense anymore?) and suicide, I joined the Air Force in the Spring of 1967.

When the subject comes up, I routinely say that someone else got all my bad luck, as from 1967 to 1971, the very heart of the Vietnam war, I was in Greece and Washington DC, proving that Fate is not always a bitch.

As part of the generation whose lives were redirected by the war in a whole spectrum ways, I drift into a reverie from time to time on that military service, and have felt the need to dip vicariously into the experience I missed.

Thank you, Michael Herr.

On to Bill Cunningham.  Please avail yourself of the pleasure of Bill Cunningham New York mentioned in his NYTimes obit.

This monastic sprite, a proper New Englander going from women’s hatmaker to bicycling street photographer while living in one of the Carnegie Hall studio apartments, is the sweetest story, at least in the outline.  I hope everything we don’t know was un-terrible.

Rest in peace, Bill.

Now, George Will, not dead.  Mr. Will is one of the foremost starched and sanctimonious prigs around.  This week he announced his disengagement from the Republican Party.

Knock me over with a fucking feather.

I started writing this post with: ‘This blog has never intended to be one of those let-it-all-hang-out ones.’

Not crazy about the expression in the first place, thought maybe an idiom-check was in order.  No surprises, and how can you not like that second definition?

‘Let it all hang out’: Be totally candid in expressing feelings and opinions; hold nothing back. For example, The psychiatrist urged him not to spare any details, to let it all hang out. [Slang; late 1960s]

‘Let it all hang out’: To be yourself, assuming that you generally are not. (What is hanging out has never been clear, but something involving nudity has been suggested.) Come on. Relax! Let it all hang out.

Of course, having read the post about the Hoovendīger’s, some might take exception, but this blog h a s in fact never intended to be one of those let-it-all-hang-out ones.  Where’s the taste, not to mention mystery, in that?

Be that as it may, allow me to report that depression has been nibbling away at my blogging experience.  Not motivated to write, do continue to read, but can’t seem to muster a comment, pithy or pissy.

The title of this post came from one of those pushpin I’m-okay/you’re-okay cards from somewhere in my past.  ‘Merely’?  ‘Simply’?  Hmm…


I swiped these two pictures from http://shotmen.tumblr.com/ currently a cornucopia of photos of ‘vintage’ man-nakedness.

The lighting in this first photo is nothing short of miraculous, but the second picture may lure your eyes away.  Just a guess.

The ‘LIFE Magazine’ archive of military male nudity, especially WWII, has always been surprising to me.  All strictly ‘documentary’, of course.

As usual, a series of clicks will make the pictures full-size.



In 1980, a new ‘Flash Gordon’ movie appeared with one of my very favorite actors Max von Sydow playing Emperor Ming, AKA ‘Ming the Merciless’.

A two-piece tear-out ad promo picturing Ming appeared in magazines, which once assembled, enabled one to change his expression by means of a slider.  It made its way to our refrigerator art, and has hopped from one passing appliance to another since then.

Why it caught my eye this morning was probably that just the other day, an employee at the grocery store was a little frosty to me, and without a moment’s hesitation I hissed, ‘Prepare to pay for your arrogance with fiery death!’

I felt just terrible later.


We stumbled onto ‘Funny Girl’ the other evening on Turner Classic Movies.  I don’t think I’d seen the movie since it premiered in 1968, Stephen had never seen it.  More points subtracted from his ‘Mo card.  Often, I worry.

Sometimes, the years can ‘improve’ a movie, but not so here.  Having been the original Barbra Streisand queer dating from the early Sixties, and attached to the original ’64 Broadway show, there is bias, but this was never a good film.

Numbers from the original show which either did not spring from a conversation or inner dialog, or occur naturally in a stage setting within the story, got the axe.

The movie did introduce Barbra singing ‘I’d Rather be Blue over You’.  To this day hearing it makes me happy.  And sad.

The title of this post is, by the way, Fanny’s mother Rosie Brice’s opinion upon meeting Nicky Arnstein, who seems to her a little too ‘familiar’:

‘To me, when a person’s a stranger, they should act a little strange’.

Funny line.  Here is a post ‘from the archives’.  It has a funny line in it, too.

I Discovered Barbra Streisand

January 12, 2010

Okay…  Whereas this is  n o t  true in the strictest sense, I did discover her personally in 1962, very early in her career.

Four years later, Miss S had just finished the London run of ‘Funny Girl’, and was about to embark on a twenty-city concert tour in the States.  However, it was decided since she’d become pregnant, to reduce the tour to four dates.  How Atlanta made the cut, I will never understand.  Be that as it may, on the evening of August 6, 1966, I sat with my friend Tony, awaiting the start of the show, which was nearly rained out.

When the lights finally dimmed, Ms. Streisand appeared with umbrella from behind a scrim – to rapturous audience response – in a large yellow mac and rain boots, and proceeded to elegantly slip out of this apparel like a stripper during her opening number.  The consummate spontaneous performer, which is to say, not yet embalmed in perfection.

The stage that evening was T-shaped, orchestra behind the scrim, and when B was on the ‘runway’ projecting into the audience, I was ten feet away from her.  Homo heaven.

Fan-wise, I dropped away from Babs at some point.  Her first two albums capture all of her brass and talent, and ever after, the slow slide into self-importance.  The image here is the cover of the souvenir program from the Atlanta concert date.

This artifact, my personal copy of the program, has been on public exhibition fewer times than the Shroud of Turin.


Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but September 2015, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas as my old friend Susan once said, 'Compulsion is a cruel master'.

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