Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

We are not only entering a new year, we're forging ahead into a new decade. One of wild change and promise. Nobody knows what the future holds.

What do you wish for in the next year and decade?

I'm hoping that American politics becomes boring again. It's been entirely too exciting the past three years.

I need to manage my evolving family situation with an elderly father and unreliable relatives. I believe I have a handle on them but who knows what will happen?

If possible, I'd like to live as authentically as possible. As a reader here, you know what I mean. We'll see what society allows and how far I can push the envelope before it tears.

How 'bout you?

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Life in Winter

Brisk motorcycle ride
Scenic hike in nature
Warm cups of cherry tea.

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Roaring Twenties

We're entering a decade of wild unpredictability. Things will certainly change in society and our lives. There will doubtlessly be great improvements, unexpected tragedies and re-direction of our paths.

Let's welcome this new decade then as an opportunity. A chance to shape our future in ways we didn't previously believe possible. Whenever we're presented with change, we can mold it toward our goals.

That's my plan. I hope your future is as bright as a second new Sun.

I took the first picture looking up. I was hiking in my favorite local park.

The second and third pics were taken in Brooklyn during a solo foray into that previously savage land which is now dangerous only for the risk of being hit by a hipster riding a retro Schwinn bicycle drugged on caffeine after too many expressos.

The last picture depicts my friend and fashion-mentor, Sheila, who has contributed hugely to my sartorial development over the years. She serves as my role model. Yes, I know I should be paying her but she refuses to accept tuition.

Let me leave you, and the decade, with two final pictures. The first shows my artistic friend Suzanne displaying her innate feminine beauty and grace. Suzanne gently leads me by the hand and, with invaluable support, encourages me to become, as seen in the final picture, the woman I know I am inside.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays, everyone. And best wishes for the New Year.

What was your favorite moment of 2019? Mine was wearing this... IN PUBLIC!

Saturday, December 21, 2019


When I was a child, I collected coins. Introduced to them at an early age, I found them cool. Fascinating, even. My parents' friends gave me a variety of old and foreign coins that were fun to look at. Foreign coins are especially weird -- Japanese have holes in them; one German coin from WWII has writing on the SIDE of the coin. How neat is that?!

I'm spending time off work this week reviewing and organizing my collection. I have a lot of coins. Most are not valuable in a monetary sense but are interesting artifacts of history. A hundred year old coin may be "worth" only $20 but holding it, studying it and feeling its tangible weight is momentous.

In the Seventies there was a big supply of coins commemorating the Bicentennial (our nation's 200th birthday in 1976). These came in fancy boxes with coins in "proof" condition (uncirculated). Some have booklets describing the imagery. I wasn't attracted to these kitschy coins but my parents were. As immigrants, they hungered for symbols of their new home. They bought dozens of these and left them to me.

Reviewing my collection, I've decided to part with half of it. Some of the coins I'll sell, some I will give away. It makes me especially happy to give old and foreign coins to children -- I hope to spark the same love of numismatics that I had. I'd enjoy creating that interest in adults, too, but most seem uninterested in the hobby.

If you're interested in coins for your kids or yourself, e-mail me. Any coins I pass on to friends are gifts.

Did you collect coins, stamps or other items growing up?

Monday, December 16, 2019

My Holiday Outfit

I want a holiday outfit. Being a DIY stylist, I created an ensemble myself with personally selected pieces.

I discovered a cute skirt on sale for under $10; it was originally $80 and marked down three times. Then a glamorous top leaped out at me, also on sale. Normally you'd say the top is too... well... over the top. It's flashy but then this is a holiday outfit so normal rules don't apply. Besides, I always wanted to dress this glamorous so the experience is worth breaking a fashion rule.

What do you think? What are you wearing to holiday parties this year?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Stretching My Muscles

A friend gave me a Holga film-camera for my birthday. Holgas used to be made cheaply in China and are entirely plastic. Even the lens, normally glass, is plastic. The cameras were intended for poor peasants who couldn't afford real cameras.

A few Western artists, despite owning expensive digital-cameras, have fallen in love with Holga. Why? Because the cameras produce unpredictable photographs. Unexpected visual "mistakes" like light-leakage and vignetting give their pictures weird, unplanned effects. Plus, you use real film -- which is unheard of these days -- and that introduces other unpredictable variables.

Here are a few of my experiments. I like working with this camera.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Adding Color To Your Life

My recent experiences with Suzanne and Sheila stimulated personal growth at an accelerated rate. Every day I examine my life and question what I'm doing, what I'm not doing, and why.

The process has led me to wear brightly-colored fingernail polish every day, in public, even when dressed as a man. And I'm really happy about that. Ecstatic at times. I spent six decades wanting to publicly be myself and now I am, whatever the cost. Local shop-keepers, bank-tellers and others are having to revise their understanding of me, which is okay.

The only time my nails are not painted is during work-hours. And I'm wondering why I take it off then. That may change soon as I think about this some more.

By the way, if you want to give me a Christmas gift, nail polish works! The brighter the better. Reds, pinks and purples all put smiles on my face. I don't shy away from feminine hues, I lean toward them.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Half My Age

Two weeks ago I was in Florida tending to the increasing needs of my father, who's now 89 years old. While there, he asked me to go through his stuff and organize things.

I found old photographs I'd never seen before, including the one below. It depicts me half a lifetime ago -- literally. The picture was taken 31 years ago when I was 31 years old.

Looking at your younger self certainly causes one to reflect.

The woman next to me is Maura, my first love, with whom I lived for twenty years. I've written here about Maura before: she currently lives in Wales (U.K.) where she's continuing her career as a fine art painter.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Critic John Simon (1925-2019)

John Simon was one of the most prominent writers of my adulthood. Love him or hate him (and many did both), his writing sparkled with wit and intelligence. Simon took strong positions, used acerbic language and wielded metaphors like swords.

Simon died last week at age 94. I didn't learn about his death until today 'cause I was down in Florida last week tending to my elderly father.

Simon wrote critical reviews of theater, film and books in New York magazine, The New York Times and The New Criterion. He appeared on TV as himself in episodes of "The Odd Couple" and "Saturday Night Live."

The most controversial thing Simon did was note how actors look. He said Barbra Streisand's nose "cleaves the giant screen from east to west, bisects it from north to south. It zigzags across our horizon like a bolt of fleshy lightning." Simon described Kathleen Turner as a "braying mantis." In response, film-critic  Roger Ebert said: "I feel repugnance for the critic John Simon, who made it a specialty to attack the way actors look. They can't help how they look, any more than John Simon can help looking like a rat."

Actress Silvia Miles was once so upset at Simon's review of her play that when she saw him in a famous New York restaurant, she dumped a plate of food on his head. During a later interview, Simon said Miles "has retold [that story] ten thousand times. And th[e] steak tartare [she hit me with] has since metamorphosed into every known dish from lasagna to chop suey. It's been so many things that you could feed the starving orphans of India or China with it."

I'll miss John.  :-)