Wednesday, July 17, 2019

To The Moon, Alice

There's an expression people used to say when they were complaining. I heard it a thousand times growing up but just realized I haven't heard it in years.

The expression is: "If they can put a man on the Moon, why can't they [whatever you're whining about]."

Do you remember this?


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Shooting Pool


With some things, paying for quality matters; with others, it doesn't. I will sacrifice for the former but economize with the latter.

I'm an enthusiastic pool-player. Not an especially skilled one, but I enjoy the game. Until recently I never used a real pool-cue, just cheap ones a small step above warped bar sticks. Then I splurged and bought a professional cue -- at a steep price -- and wondered if it would make a difference. 

Whoa! It's a magic wand! 

I can't say it makes me play better than I am but it certainly enables me play at the very limit of my ability. The stick's balance is perfect, my stroke is smooth as a lover's caress and the cue transports kinetic force directly and without waste. Using it feels like shooting pool in Heaven, where all of your shots are effortless and three-bank trick-shots go straight into the pocket.

The good news is this inspires me to play more. I'm shooting tonight with a new friend, Lonnie. If any of you want to visit a seedy pool-hall with a grungy biker, let me know and we'll hang out sometime. It's a fun game.



Friday, July 12, 2019

Lost Innocence



The most important book I read growing up was "Ball Four," a hugely-controversial book about baseball written by Jim Bouton who died this week (of dementia at age 80). I can't emphasize enough the impact this sports-expose had on my 13-year old self. Even today "Ball Four" is widely considered the greatest book written about baseball. It was published in 1970.

Jim Bouton was a decent pitcher with some ups and downs in the major league. He pitched well for the Yankees for a few years and ended his career throwing knuckleballs. His real contribution to the sport, however, was not on the playing field: it was revealing the truth about professional ball-players, including legends like Mickey Mantle.

What Bouton disclosed wasn't pretty. He described players routinely acting like foolish boys -- they'd peek up women's dresses, cheat on their wives, drink to excess and gobble down amphetamines. With striking immaturity they slipped mirrors under hotel-room doors to try to glimpse naked ladies, gawked at women at the ballpark, played pranks on each other and generally behaved like jerks.
Coaches were no better. Bouton described most of them as idiots who spout bromides instead of wisdom. Legends like Mantle were exposed: Bouton said Mantle often played hung-over; years later, Mantle admitted he was an alcoholic and sought treatment.

The book created a furor because the image of baseball at the time was impeccable. Players, thought to be heroes, were now seen as ordinary humans capable of indecency. Naturally the baseball establishment shunned Bouton for decades until it finally came around to realizing that telling the truth isn't a crime. In Bouton's later years he was welcomed back by MLB and even celebrated for his courage.

For me, the book showed societal loss of innocence. Many social traditions were falling at the time and baseball was simply another one. Pretending young men who play the game are better humans than they really are serves no purpose except to line the pockets of rich owners (who, themselves, cheat on their wives and engage in bad behavior). Plus, and this shouldn't be under-valued, the book is funny. Bouton was a natural comedian and his glee in pulling back the curtain on his team-mates is as amusing as it was shocking.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Outside The Box


David Bowie had a creative mind that roamed far beyond convention. He was interviewed 20 years ago and gave some great answers to these questions:

- - - - - - - -

What is your favorite journey?
"The road of artistic excess"

What is your current state of mind?
"Pregnant"

Which word do you most overuse?
Chthonic

What is your greatest fear?
"Converting kilometers to miles"

- - - - - - - -

I wish I was so clever!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Up North

We just had a long holiday weekend. I used the opportunity to visit friends.

I travelled north to Potsdam, just below the Canadian border, and saw Aimee. Aimee, you may recall, is my seamstress-friend who custom-made a special dress for me last year. I'm going to showcase the dress soon after an upcoming photo-shoot.

From there I crossed the border to Hamilton, Ontario, which is between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Blogger-extraordinaire Sheila, who lives on the West Coast, was here seeing her friend Elaine. I popped up to join them. The three of us had a wonderful time. Here are some pics.

What did you do over the weekend?









Saturday, July 6, 2019

Oh, Canada


I'm up in Canada this weekend. Visiting friends in Hamilton, Ontario.

I love this country but, damn, the traffic around Toronto is worse than New York. Never thought I'd say those words. As you can see above, to handle the trip I've become bi-monetal. :-)

Actually, given my additional use of two cyber-currencies (Bitcoin & Ether) I'm technically quad-monetal. (I made up that word for the joke; auto-correct keeps changing it to mineral.)

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

"Dark"

I've fallen down a rabbit-hole and don't want to leave. I'm immersed in a lengthy streaming binge on a Netflix show ("Dark") which resonates deeply with me.

I've learned to hesitate recommending entertainment to people because taste is so subjective. I'm not suggesting you watch this, just putting it on your radar in case you're inclined toward the same subjects I am.

"Dark" is a science fiction series made in Germany. That place of origin plays a big role in its appeal to me. The show is spoken in German and you can see it dubbed (wrong choice) or with English subtitles (right choice). Listening to the characters speak German resurrects the six years I spent learning that language during my youth. Wie geht es dir?

The subject of the show is time travel. Not in a superficial cheesy way but founded on actual historical texts of alchemy, hermeticism and other ancient philosophies. You can dig deep into the scientific and cultural references made and find substance. Intriguing material indeed.

The show starts in 2019, then moves 33 years earlier to 1986 (with notable changes in fashion and technology). Later the show jumps backward to 1953, then forward to 2053 and also backward to 1921. Each jump is 33 years because that's the cycle of nature when cosmic forces re-align. Everything takes place in a single small town in Germany where the characters' families have always lived.

The show is remarkable in that it has no special effects, no violence, no sex. It's drastically unlike anything else you see on the tube today. You won't recognize any of the German actors but the cast is talented and totally believable in dramatic roles.

There are two seasons out; the second was released last month. A third, final season will appear next year. At first, the show is hard to follow because there are so many characters and plots but it's worth sticking with to navigate through initial confusion. By the time you hit the second season you're fully aware of the maze of connections and entranced by where events are going.

Some of you might like "Dark," some not. It's the center of my universe right now -- at least this particular universe in the multiverse of possible existences.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

My Magic Dress

When you have a shapeless shape, how do you create a pleasing figure? Magic. That's what this dress does -- its design transforms nature. Yay!











Saturday, June 29, 2019

Female Impersonation


Many people don't realize how different things were in the past. I've seen dramatic change in my lifetime. Here's an example.

It was illegal -- a crime -- for men to dress in women's clothing in New York as recently as the 1970's. "Female impersonation" was against the law and used as a reason to toss thousands of men into jail. (The law was rarely enforced against cis-gender women.)

Gender presentation laws started in American society in 1848 when Columbus, Ohio enacted an ordinance forbidding people from wearing “dress not belonging to his or her sex.” In decades that followed more than forty American cities passed similar laws limiting the clothing people are allowed to wear in public. This wave of laws was specifically aimed at gender presentation.

In many parts of the world, it is still illegal for men and women to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. Even where legal, social opprobrium punishes those crossing the gender line -- condemnation which includes harassment and physical violence.

A surprisingly interesting academic paper from 25 years ago is available here. (Ullman, Sharon R. "'The Twentieth Century Way': Female Impersonation and Sexual Practice in Turn-of-the-Century America." Journal of the History of Sexuality 5, no. 4 (1995): 573-600)

Obviously if you're reading this blog, you don't have a problem with me violating custom (and a former law). Why do you think society previously outlawed cross-dressing? What were people scared of? What were they trying to accomplish by forbidding it?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

An Experiment

There are many female experiences I've never had -- and want to. I strive to acquire them wherever possible.

I saw this dress in a vintage store and thought, "Hmm, that's new." I've certainly never wore anything like this. It's odd but interesting. What do you think?









Sunday, June 23, 2019

My Letter!


Outside magazine is one of my favorite periodicals. Not only does it focus on outdoor adventure but it does so with intelligence and insight. Recently the magazine expanded to cover social issues reflected in outdoor activity, like sexual harassment of female tour-guides at national parks.

Last month I wrote a letter to the magazine appreciating their support of a transgender rock-climber whose story is linked here. They published the letter in the new issue released today. Here's the page on which the letter appears followed by a close-up that's easier to read.






Saturday, June 22, 2019

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

I attended the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island today. It's always fun. Do you see any favorite costumes?

That's singer Arlo Guthrie in the first picture; he was this year's King Neptune.











































Friday, June 21, 2019

Women In The Woods


I observed something that struck me as odd but I'm not in a position to judge it. If I try, I'll probably be wrong. So let me ask for your thoughts.

I went on a group hike last month with a bunch of strangers (through a local MeetUp). The hike was in the woods, about two hours long, and a little strenuous; certainly an athletic activity where you sweat, quite a lot.

The group of hikers was 90% female. Most did not know each other so there was no coordination among them on what they wore, how they prepared, etc.

What surprised me was more than half of the women wore full makeup -- foundation, lipstick, powder, etc. They all wore appropriate hiking clothes but their faces looked like they were attending a dinner party. Again, this was an athletic hike with inevitable sweating.

I wondered -- and now ask you -- why would someone wear full makeup to such an event? I can easily imagine a half-dozen possible reasons but, not having lived a female life, I can't get into the heads of these women to figure out theirs.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Flying Booties

I spotted some cute white booties last week at Nordstrom Rack. I buy shoes there because it is one of the only retail stores carrying large sizes. (I'm a 12.) The booties were on sale for $40.

I made a special effort to showcase the beauties. I kicked up my heels, stretched my back muscles and used a tripod with remote shutter-release. Here's the result. What do you think?







































Birds

... or as we say in Brooklyn, "boyds."

At the lofty summit of Mt. Pemigewasset I saw majestic birds swooping in the air. They were quite large. I don't know what type they are. Falcons? Do you know?







Sunday, June 16, 2019

New Hampshire Wilderness


I'm proud to say I just did the most challenging hike in my life.

At beautiful Franconia Notch State Park I climbed up Mt. Pemigewasset -- 2,557 feet of steep incline. Very steep. And much of the trail is simply series of slippery stones in surging streams. Going down is equally difficult as footing is super-treacherous. I seriously worried about breaking an ankle which would be easy to do (and I needed those ankles to operate my motorcycle for the ride home).

The climb up culminates at the mountain's summit where you can walk along the edge and peer down. One slip and you're gone.

I hadn't realized but my local hiking prepared me for this challenge. Those excursions gave me the gear and stamina to conquer the mountain. At the pinnacle I felt like Alex Honnold when he scaled El Capitan ("Free Solo").

Franconia Notch has plenty for non-hikers, too. There's the first aerial tramway built in North America (1938) which goes 4,000 feet up to the peak of Cannon Mountain. At the top is "the highest beer-tap in New Hampshire" which, being in New England, serves delicious cold pints of Samuel Adams Ale. I savored one.

You never know what you're going to see when traveling -- which is a reason to get off the couch. I witnessed a heartwarming act of heroism on my way north.

Riding Route 95, a crowded six-lane highway, I spotted an ambulance on the shoulder and saw a female EMT get out and start walking. I looked in the direction she was heading and saw a big, two-foot turtle wandering onto the roadway from the woods. The turtle was walking toward certain death. The EMT planned to rescue the turtle but as soon as it saw her, it started sprinting. Sprinting! I didn't know a turtle could move so fast. The EMT then realized if she kept walking at the same pace she wouldn't make it in time so she started to run. Meanwhile 3,000-lb. cars are whizzing by at 70 mph without any concern for the turtle or the EMT. Happily she reached the turtle as it was less than two feet away from speeding traffic in the right lane. She swept it up with both hands, twisted back toward the shoulder and returned it to safety. Hurray for heroes!








Hey, isn't that George Washington below?!








Friday, June 14, 2019

Camp

No, not camping -- camp. Do you know what camp is?

The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is currently showing a fashion exhibition on the subject of camp. It explores the history of camp from hundreds of years ago up to now.

Friends of mine saw it and raved. Another friend invited me to join her in seeing it next week and that's my plan. Here's an informative short video on the exhibition and a few photos from the museum's website:














Thursday, June 13, 2019

Summer News

Hey guys. Don't mean to ignore you. I've been busy on projects that are taking longer than expected to finish but the results will be worth it. I did two photo-shoots this week that are special and rewarding. You'll enjoy them. I did.

I'm riding north tomorrow to New Hampshire where I hear Franconia Notch State Park is a phenomenal place. The park sits in the heart of White Mountain National Forest between two mountain ranges. There is reportedly "a spectacular mountain pass" containing the Flume Gorge and a famous aerial tram. Have you heard of Franconia?

I'm bringing my eyes, my camera and my tent. If I don't return it's because I either fell in love with the place or was eaten by a bear. Either way, don't wait up.

Enjoy the Summer weekend!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Watkins Glen


Visiting Watkins Glen last year, I was gobsmacked by its natural beauty. I took Robin there this weekend to show her how wonderful the place is. We camped in the State Park which was Robin's first time sleeping in a tent since her teenage years in the 1800's.

We also visited a nearby town (Corning) which is full of glass art stores and a famous glass art museum. They had a holiday street fair going on with lots of nice offerings, some of which came home with us.

What did you do this long holiday weekend?