Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gay Marriage

Wow! Kinda didn't see that one coming. Assumed it was all BS and would get rejcted like always. Go Cuomo!

Pissed I am not there. Stuck in texas by myself when the biggest Pride event in years is happening outside my window in NYC. Depressing. Reminds me I need to be connected to NYC. Can't just walk away. Will always miss it. And this is the only way I can stay - in the current apartment.

Its a great accomplishment. Mirroring my life from Stonewall 1969 to Stonewall 2011 - from illegal to fully, completely equal to straight life.

But I will always be stuck in the gay '80s. Fighting gayness as a disease. I move on but will always be scarred.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recesssion and depression

I feel like the rest of the world just got in sync with me philosophically. After making and spending lots of money, its kinda like "OOOK, is that all there is?" Which lead me first to recession in that I receded from the whole rat race for a while because it didn't make sense. Then to depression where I feel like "What is the point of this whole (capitalist) world?" With the rest of the world now following, I actually kinda feel more connected and sympathetic.

I appreciate that more wealth as a society is a good thing if it prevents people from being hungry and homeless. But the aritificially created "boom" of the past 25 years did not. The poverty rate is basically what it was 30 years ago.

For the majority of Americans the whole "boom" resulted in both parents working, for longer hours, with less job security and no retirement benefits . Yeah, we bought more and bigger things but most of that was on credit. Yeah, we got 401Ks but most Americans are now worse off than they were with guaranteed pension benefits which came with the stable, working class job that paid a living wage.

So who won? The rich, those who focused on making money for money's sake, the egotists (Ayn Rand) and the randomly lucky.

It took a huge implosion for anyone to care about the declining standard of living of THEMSELVES. We were distracted by "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and "The Simple Life" from the reality of our economic situation. This (self) deception was masterfully facilitated by the predatory credit card/mortgage industry which allowed the average person to have the life they saw on TV without the money. And now we get the surprise at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box - bankruptcy.

So I feel united with the world for the first time in a long while. We are going to dig ourselves out of depression and learn from it lessons that will make ourselves and our society better, happier and more fulfilled.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I can’t stop crying today. I didn’t expect it. But, last night, watching Obama cry – or more accurately, shed tears – talking about the death of his grandmother unleashed a torrent of bawling. Then watching the Obama family cast their votes in Chicago this morning, I choked up again.

I know I’m naturally sentimental but it still confused me. I don’t understand where this wellspring of emotion came from. I think it may be the realization - after 8 years of feeling that the majority of people in this country are mean-spirited evangelicals who believe in punishment rather than helping one another - that hope is worth holding onto, that the world isn’t such a cruel and heartless place, that people do care about each other and that our country does have the ability to be a transcendent beacon of possibility for a better world.

Maybe it is also the realization that the long, tortured journey that I started in the 1980s to live the life I wanted and to be accepted by society is coming to an end. An end that I hadn’t thought possible except for a brief period in 1992 when Clinton was elected – and before it was eviscerated by the reaction to his attempt to eliminate anti-gay discrimination in the military.

I know I’m setting myself up for the same disappointment I had 3 months into the Clinton presidency but this time it seems more real and sincere. No matter what happens next, the fact that the majority of America can vote for someone as human, sensitive, smart and liberal as Obama gives me hope and makes me reevaluate my cynical view of the world. I feel the desire to contribute again. I have hope that my efforts can create change. It may take 40 years and a lot of pain in between, but change can happen. It wasn't linear, its not perfect, but the dreams I had of who I wanted to be and what I wanted society to be have come pretty damn close to reality.

Hope is worth holding onto.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where to now?

Hitting the big 4-0 has been a real shakeup for me. I’ve always viewed 40 as the end. Not in the youth-obsessed, “I’m too old” way. I just have always bargained with God/Fate to just let me live to 40.

It started when I was 16 and coming out in the mid-80s. I assumed I would die from AIDS. I just wanted to have some life first. For years, I assumed I had 3 years to live because I never got an AIDS test. I just assumed I was positive because I had done stupid things – being a repressed, horny teenager with access to the backrooms and baths of Philadelphia but without the self-esteem or self-control required to be 100% vigilant about safe sex.

Then after the miracle drugs came out, I had various family members get cancer around 40 so I was able to sustain the fear of an early death. This was coupled with seeing my Dad work 16 hour days his whole life and then die before he could enjoy retirement or relaxation.

It shaped my life. My life plan was to work and make some money early so I could take a “retirement” by 35 and enjoy my last years before I died. Kind of like a compacted life. I told myself that if I could have that “full” life experience, I could die happy.

And I can. I feel like I’ve had a wonderful, full life and have done most of the things I’ve wanted and am grateful that I’ve lived this long.

Now the question is “what do I do next?”. I know that I now need to save for the real retirement at 65-70 and that kind of terrifies me. What if I live to 80? How am I going to pay for it? I want to do something that I enjoy so my days are not spent in the misery of Wall Street working for nasty, vicious people. But I also know that finding a job will get increasingly difficult in the next 2 decades. So I need to make money while I can.

I would like to work for 30-40K a year and have minimal stress. But what happens when I’m laid off at 55? I will have saved no money and getting any job will be difficult.

The cruelty of life after 40 is settling in. And I’m appreciating why money becomes so important. Without it, there is no safety net.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Cityfile is the new Gawker. It gets to the heart of what people liked about Gawker but without the silly bullshit about nobodies like Julia Allison, Kristian Laliberte, etc. I get enough of those annoying, egocentric, spoiled brats wandering around the West Village.

Cityfile is the real deal because it talks about the people New Yorkers really care about – people with money and power who are not necessarily household names. Like the obscure hedge fund titans who you never hear about but who are more essential to NYC than Tinsley Mortimer.

Gawker is a clique of self-referencing, self-promoting, incestuous trust fund kids. Cityfile has the potential to be a class-warfare tool - assuming it isn’t shut down or neutered by lawsuits from the high-priced lawyers that the profile subjects will undoubtedly sic on it. But kudos to Remy Stern for kick-starting the backlash against the new aristocrats. Viva la revolucion!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

San Francisco

So I just returned from a week in San Francisco (and the Redwoods). I used to go every year, but took a 3 year hiatus as I dealt with life issues. Thoughts:
  • Beautiful. Sun, ocean, mountains. Truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
  • Old. I was shocked how much older everyone seemed than NYC. The average age of guys in the bars was probably 55 with a range from 32 to 82. I don’t remember it being so old but I guess it’s the same people who were there 18 years ago just older. It made me feel less over-the-hill than NYC which was nice but also made me contemplate what gay old age will look like. Which brings me to…
  • Lots of drinking. I was amazed at how much people drank (and I’m no teetotaler). When I went to Starbucks in the Castro at 9 AM, the bar next door was already full. At 2 PM, most of the bars in the Castro were happening. And the same people were there at 8PM.
    It seems like many of the barflies are retirees without much to do. And I guess there are PTSD issues from AIDS and growing up in a pre-gay era as well as the absence of any role models for what to do when one is no longer young but still a gay horndog. But it did make me think about what I will do with my free time when I no longer have to work and many of my friends and family have died. I need to find healthy hobbies that will keep me from spending my golden years chasing momentary pleasures.
  • Meth. I forget how prevalent it is out West. I don’t see it as much in NYC. But in the Castro, I must have seen a dozen people in a bad state. In one bar, this meth-crazed 25 year old kept bouncing from person to person to try to get sex. It was sad, disturbing, awkward and annoying. It made me remember that San Francisco’s focus on pleasure, beauty and indulgence can be toxic for young gay men. Its much easier to lose focus than NYC where you always are kept in check by reality.
  • Leather bars are the Knights of Columbus of gay men. It seems like they keep trying to keep the leather bars going despite sparse attendance and absence of any sexual activity. I went to the new Chaps II and there was one 75 year old guy in full leather regalia who told stories (like my 80 year old uncle-slow, rambling, and wholly unconcerned with the listeners level of interest) about the “old times” which made me realize how specific the leather thing is to an earlier era. Wearing full leather now is like wearing a circle skirt and a bouffant in the 70s. As interesting and fun as leather can be, young gay men don’t see themselves as purely sexual animals anymore. They like to envision themselves as just another Ozzie and Harriet couple blending in with the straight culture. I grew up on the leather bars of Amsterdam so I have a great fondness for them. But I’m beginning to accept that it’s a dated concept from a different gay era.
  • Life is the same regardless of the backdrop. Yeah, its nice to have a view of the hills and ocean and temperate weather, but eventually you stop noticing the same surroundings you saw yesterday and focus on life - relationships, job and health. Perhaps it would be nice to wake up every morning and look at flowers instead of concrete. But then my shades are closed and my sole focus is the first cup of coffee. And the thing I most want to see in the morning is my lover next to me.