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Our mothers shared the same birthday. Stephen’s mother would have been 99 today, mine 101.

I cropped this picture of Stephen and mom from a full-length I shot maybe 15 years ago; she’s actually standing on a stairstep. Diminutive, confoundingly sweet, perpetually chic.

The second picture, my mother and father, lifted from a photo with my brother and me.  Snapped February 8, 1968 by the next door neighbor with a Kodak heaven-knows-what, the day I left for Crete.  I’d lived on Crete for over a year when I received word my father had died.

When I originally unearthed this picture, I considered both that this was the last photo of the family together, and not so long afterwards that there was no reason to imagine a later photograph of my father existed.

All highlights and no shadow detail, a photographer’s kvetch.

My parents, aren’t they beautiful.

Though I tend to think of the Winter Solstice in more lyrical terms, it occurred to me today out of the blue that there may be more practical aspects.

As the ‘shortest day of the year’, if you have cares, today there’s less time to dwell on them, and if you are a child, unhinged for Christmas Day to finally arrive, there’s less time today to wait.

I’m pretty sure these two ideas are sound…

Happy Christmas and New Year!

This alarmed artifact measures a mere inch and a half wide, four centimeters for you metric souls. Stephen culled it from his vast, vast collection of ‘items’, as I can rudely call them, with a verging on invisible hint to photograph it. I did. Boo!

I myself have not, to the best of my knowledge, danced with anyone who’s danced with any of the Princes of Wales. However, in 1977, I did in point of fact glance with the one just vacating that title.

During the President Jimmy Carter administration, the present Charles III paid a visit here, attending a University of Georgia football game (only part of it, actually, probably for the best, 33-0 defeat).

Stephen and I, just coupled that year, decided: Why pass up a chance to lay eyes on the future Charles R? We hied ourselves to the stadium just in time to see his motorcade arrive.

At a distance, we were able to watch the Prince disembark his limo and proceed across the playing field to meet the football coach and sundry. Midfield, however, he broke briefly from his small entourage to – and I’m not making this up – chat up one of the baton-toting drum majorettes standing there in their one-piece sequined outfits.

Eventually returning to the limo to be whisked to the safety of a stadium skybox, security guards trotting at each corner, the vehicle passed so slowly by me at a mere three feet away, HRH’s eyes and mine met, and I received a personal wave.

I was the only person standing at that spot, so…

Later, I imagined the phone call from our drum majorette to her mother saying get those wedding invitations ready.  Based on just a glance and a wave, I left my own mother un-phoned.

“This book is like a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes: the two singed bathtubs, the gravel driveway and the mailbox. Kushner’s fealty to Trump remains absolute. Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.”

New York Times book review

Greetings.  This is the post I was going to loose on the blog shortly after the previous one in June.  Stick around for the fine print, if you will.

Early last year, our friend Johnny, who had been cutting my hair for years, left the profession for a new one.  However, for a select clientele he agreed to continue one day of the week until December.

So… from January until July, I thought, why not.

Fifty years ago, when I supported similar length, it had a certain Jim Morrison quality.  This time, as you can see, it was more Camilla Parker Bowles.

On July first, the experiment ended, here I am fresh from the new salon, appraising the new bob via selfie.  In person, it’s less swoopy.

One customer in the shop per appointment, my new hair artist wearing an N95 the whole time, it’s probably safe to say I did not bring it home from the salon, however, multi-vaccinated Stephen and I tested positive for Covid on July tenth and have only recently recovered.

Staying home just farming hair is starting to look like a good idea again.

I’m depressed.

Clinging to the subject of January’s dusty post, on my seventieth birthday, Trump was inaugurated.  I know I’ve mentioned that before, but really, what hasn’t been recycled on Domani Dave.  Add Covid, rampant gun violence, and most recently the Russian pygmy invading Ukraine?

What’s not to be depressed about?

When she and her husband Bruce were still living in Miami, our friend Betsy chance-encountered Joel Grey at a shopping mall there; he was early for a book signing.  She said he was very courtly and invited her for coffee while he was waiting.

I wish I could have coffee with Joel Grey.

Here is a video introduced by him, which when Stephen saw me once from across the room iPad-ing with my AirPods in my ears, he said, ‘You’re watching that Anything Goes thing, aren’t you!’ such was the pleasant look on my face.

Will it cheer you up?  ‘Well-made youths disporting themselves’ onstage in Navy uniforms and Sutton Foster?

What’s not to be cheered-up about?

Had considered the possibility of a modified ‘Prince Philip/Betty White’ – not quite making it to a landmark birthday – but job done, here I am, seventy-five.

Stephen provided me cocoa con marshmallow ‘Peep’ this morning, the cup he persuaded one his many potter friends to make for me last year.

He fulfilled my birthday ‘cake’ request with a lemon meringue pie, complete with surprise meringue ‘integers’.

Abandoned on the porch. Happy not to argue! Cheers!

On the spur of the moment, and ‘in lieu of’, let’s say, why not enjoy Annie Lennox’s very ‘assertive’ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen instead! Happy Christmas!

I had been mulling a post about Stephen Sondheim since his death, but like so many mullings, mulling is as far as I got.

[Editor’s Note: I know the post title is a Harold Rome lyric, okay?]

I’m about to crib an email exchange with the famous Martin to whom I’m always referring here on Domani Dave, but first, a couple of notes.

My second exposure to Stephen Sondheim [my first exposure (duh…) was ‘West Side Story’] was Richard Lester’s movie version of ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’, which includes the lyric I’m still contemplating for my epitaph:

’Oh, isn’t it a shame?  I can neither sew nor cook, nor read or write my name.  But, I’m happy merely being lovely, for it’s one thing I can give to you!’

Another shame is that Stephen (the husband…) finds ‘Send in the Clowns’ too painful to hear.  This causes more abrupt cancelations of a whistling in a household of constant (some say ‘incessant’) whistlings than you might imagine; the internal jukebox rotates where it will.

But, on to Martin’s text:

I must confess that I learned more about Stephen Sondheim after he died than when he was alive.  But at the end of the day I was brought back to something I’ve known for years: Barbra Streisand’s medley version of ‘Pretty Women/The Ladies Who Lunch’ is my favorite Sondheim: a soft beginning increasing to a dominant middle and finally a show-stopping end. Truman Capote once publicly complained ‘must that girl make every goddamn song a three-act play?’  When you’re an ingenue in your first Broadway play and you only have one solo number (‘Miss Marmelstein’), you turn that one number into a three-act play!

My reply:

This ‘ingénue’ knows ‘Miss Marmelstein’ by heart, and will perform it for you for a small sum of money.  Out of my collection of Barbra Streisand (beginning in 1963), I was once playing ‘I Can Get It for You Wholesale’ on the family victrola (a handsome console Magnavox) and my father, who professed to not like Barbra Streisand, laughed when the ‘Miss Marmelstein’ lyric got to the word ‘corroborate’.  (He was a CPA who practiced in an office full of lawyers.)  In addition, I can whistle along, note by note, flawless tempo matching, with key change, ‘Pretty Women/Ladies Who Lunch’.  Book me now; FYI, this will cost more than the ‘Miss Marmelstein’ performance.

— Dave, the homosexual

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but in October 2016, 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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