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BY tinman

03/01 Direct Link
I find, as I get older, I'm developing a handicap when it comes to participating in oral argument. The handicap is memory, or lack of it, to be more precise. In the middle of a brilliant (if I may be so immodest) point, I'm suddenly floundering for for a word that was just there, that I've used a thousand times before, that I know as well as my own name.

You would think that the resulting embarrassment, consistently endured, would be a behavioral modification encouragement, but I'm not a mouse, old habits are hard to break. I'm a glutton for punishment.
03/02 Direct Link
I have finished reading the Book of Revelation; I've tried to finish reading it any number of times since sometime in the nineteen-sixties, in various translations. Each time, I was put off it by the mean-spirited "loving" God it purports to represent. Even in the Reader's Edition of the Jerusalem Bible translation, which tries to soften the images where it can, God comes off as a jealous, petulant child who will play only it he has it all his way.

I managed to finish, this time, by reading one chapter a day. It was a distasteful chore, but it's done.
03/03 Direct Link
The question is, however, why was it so important, to me, to read Revelations, or as I remember it from my Catholic boyhood, The Apocalypse. Some of it probably has to do with bragging rights of some sort or other. I can't imagine that a majority of people, even Christians, especially Christians, have actually read the book. I want to be among those smug few who can say I have. Not an honorable characteristic, I know, but what is, is.

However, there is also an element of not wanting to throw away truth because I don't like the wrapper.
03/04 Direct Link
I read Revelation for the same reason I read pamphlets people in the street hand me. There could be something on them I'd find enlightening. I keep alive some vague hope in the possibility there is some mystical more, that there is some sense in nonsense; I always wanted to believe in the "happy ever after" I read in the fairy tales I read as a youngster, despite the realities of life around me.

All that said, the meaning of life is not found in some hereafter. It is found in the living of it in the here, and now.
03/05 Direct Link
I did watch the Oscar telecast, Sunday; wasn't sure I was going to do that. They are not as much fun as they were when my friend Ruth was alive. We had a little betting competition going involving the major contenders, with the winner with the most points winning a dollar a point difference at the end. We made an evening of it, dressing in silly costumes and ordering Pizza or Chinese. Wayne, her husband thought we were nuts, but harmless.

Best part of the evening?, the acceptance speeches by the Supporting Performers, Jared Leto's in particular, very gracious, moving.
03/06 Direct Link
Had a bit of a surprise, today. One of the social workers, here, went on on to greener pastures. I'd left him a small note saying good-bye, and thanking him for services performed for me, while here. He left me an 8x10 glossy. I'd had no idea he was an actor.

He and I were not particularly close. I've had friendlier relationships with some of the other social workers who have passed through, but he was always courteous and always efficient when working with me and my issues. I wish him a thousand break-a-legs and a hundred years of joy.
03/07 Direct Link
A wonderful break in the weather, today, it's near 40, the sun is shining, and Spring is beginning to sing in my soul.

It's been a long, hard Winter, the longest and hardest I remember experiencing, and I grew up in Chicago and have shoveled my own quota of snow. Thank the stars no one expects me to do that, any more.

It doesn't matter that I've now been back in Chicago for twenty-three years. I think I have been spoiled by my twenty-eight years in Southern California.

But enough! I'm going to enjoy today; What comes tomorrow, comes tomorrow.
03/08 Direct Link
Wednesday, last, was Ash Wednesday. In Western Christianity, it begins Lent. In my young Catholic boy days, it meant getting my head anointed with the ashes of last years left over Palm Sunday palms by a priest, while being reminded I was made of ashes and to ashes I would return. Somehow, I don't remember feeling threatened by that admonition. The young rarely think of death as a reality for them.

Lent also meant a time of denial, sacrifice. For kids that meant, generally, promising to give up candy, or weekends at the movies; promises easily made and easily forgotten.
03/09 Direct Link
I am absolutely in favor of coming-out; I have a special love and respect for celebrities who do, because of their value as role models, templates if you will, for young people trying to navigate the waters of their identity in the world. In my coming to terms with the world youth, having such role models would have eased my life path considerably.

However, with the exception of hypocritical preachers and politicians who actively harm the cause of equality for gays, I am not in favor of outing. People who choose to keep their private lives private, should be respected.
03/10 Direct Link
It is a curious irony that my appreciation of Lent as a time of reflection, of a re-ordering of ideas on how life could be led, came side by side with a rejection of its theological underpinnings.

It seems a shame that, in my childhood, the Church stressed more the physical rituals than the (do I want to say?) spiritual, benefits? I wonder what might, if anything, have changed my approach to religion, in general, and/or god, in particular? Considering that the fourth grade already found me questioning the nun why I would, should, want to sing Hallelujahs forever, probably nothing.
03/11 Direct Link
It's that time of year, again. The inspectors are here, rooting around, trying to find something that justifies their existence. I am not saying that they are not necessary. There have been incidents of gross mismanagement of nursing homes in Chicago. Three were closed, a few years ago, and Barry had to take in some of the people who were affected by the closings (I have a remark I made to Barry, at that time, that was wryly, some say cruelly, humorous, but space forbids my repeating it here). I suppose I am just reacting to the impersonality they display.
03/12 Direct Link
Today, I'm at the halfway mark between 71 and 72. This fact occurred to me about a week ago, and I've been rolling it around in my head, wondering what that meant.

And then it came to me, I've been counting down to my death. My blog's sub-title is the first clue Notes While Checking out. For someone who states he's not afraid of death, I sure spend a lot of time with its metaphors and analogies and symbols.

What helped clarify my thought was a lecture which described the four ways men handle the idea of death.

More, tomorrow.
03/13 Direct Link
Yesterday was a difficult day; I took a Xanex to calm down.

I was appointed as member of a group that met with a member of the survey team who asked questions about any dissatisfaction with their treatment as residents; I get appointed every year. While no one has overtly suggested it, I know I'm chosen to serve as an immediate balance against any (and usual) outrageous malcontents. It's a bit of a tight-wire walk between kissing any ass and just being immediately present to prevent injustice. It's not an enjoyable situation.

I must seem a pompous ass. O, well.
03/14 Direct Link
Caroline nee Menting nee Honzik Watts- b. June 23, 1924- d. February 14, 2014.

Caroline was an aunt by virtue of her marriage to my mother's brother, Delano Honzik. After his death, she re-married a gentleman with the surname Watts. I never met him and do not know his first name. Via Delano, she was the mother of Robert and Thomas. Mr. Watts left her a second time around widow.

I knew her, and my Uncle Delano, better than most of my mother's relatives; they lived around the block from us, for awhile. I liked her, and I will miss her.
03/15 Direct Link
Phone and Internet went down, yesterday, just as I was in the middle of something. AT&T came out, but failed to fix the problem; I am not a happy camper. Nothing more is likely to be done until after the weekend. The Internet is my life-line to the world. I'd rather have that connected than I would the telephone. The only person who calls me on the phone, generally, is my sister.

I've become dependent on the Internet. Sadly, most of my social life is conducted via Facebook. Without it, my world is limited to this nursing home.
03/16 Direct Link
The Universe delights, I sometimes think, in making a fool of me. Yesterday, I lectured Dr. Chung on the reasons why I wouldn't get a gay male connection to the community through the service center, the main point being that gay males didn't like being reminded of aging. After our session, we were both introduced to another resident's connection who happened to be a gay male. I know this because I asked the resident, later, based on my intuition that this was true. He confirmed my intuition. I must remember to laugh at this, with Dr. Chung, next session.
03/17 Direct Link
Future historians, note. Every-body's IRISH, today, especially in Chicago. I don't know at what level the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the day; it's probably just a commemoration, but in Chicago, it's a major feast, celebrated with parades, green dye in the Chicago river, and a traditional meal of Corn Beef, cabbage and rye bread. Of course, everyone is supposed to wear a bit of green on threat of being pinched if you aren't. I don't think they celebrate this day as much in Ireland as they do here. For most, it's just an excuse to get drunk on green beer.
03/18 Direct Link
AT&T corrected my phone and Internet problems, today. Someone came out Friday, but couldn't seem to get it going, so I was reduced to having to talk to people, here, if I wanted company. I didn't.

The guy on Friday stayed about three hours. The team, this morning, spent maybe thirty minutes. I thanked them, telling them I was happy the company sent me the A team. An added bonus, the younger guy looked like he could play the phone repairman in a gay porno. He was attractive without being too, as some porno actors are.

Yes, no shame, I flirted.
03/19 Direct Link
I am a note taker, constant, consistent. I have notebooks of all sizes and shapes filled with signs, symbols, acronyms, abbreviations, names, even full sentences, scribbled in pen, pencil and marker. The problem is that even those I can read, I can't remember why I wrote them.

Example: "Opponents of evolution do not want to recognize that (undecipherable)". I had an idea (obviously brilliant) that would have advanced the argument for evolution to an unarguable position, except I can't remember what it is.

Who knows what other boons to mankind remain undiscovered for lack of decent memory and poor penmanship?
03/20 Direct Link
It's the first day of Spring, where the hell are the robins? Why is there snow on the ground (not much, but still)? I'd kill to see a rosebud, but here I am, still wearing gloves and still wearing sweaters underneath my coat to keep my coat to keep out the chill. I catch that groundhog, he's dead meat.

It has been the hardest Chicago Winter I remember (I wasn't here for the winter of 1967); the yearning for Spring is understandably strong.

On the bright side, I did see the first squirrel I've seen in a while. Hope remains.
03/21 Direct Link
Fred Phelps, the "God hates fags" preacher is dead. Ironically, the man who worked, through religion, so evilly against gay people, died excommunicated from the "Church" he founded. It could also be said that, as a victim of Alzheimer's, he died excommunicated from himself as well. Just desserts?.

There is a school of thought that his vile bigotry helped the gay cause more than it harmed it. I have no way of judging the truth of that..

I'm not glad he's dead, but neither will I find fault with those who are celebrating it. However, returning hate for hate is unproductive.
03/22 Direct Link
Today, color me blue. I'm feeling hemmed in by James' illness, the fact that I've yet to hear about a connection with the Center, and emotional volubility. I've been listening to to Irish Folk songs and struggling to keep back the tears. The gray, chill, weather isn't helping, either. A bit of sunshine might help my morale, but none is promised today. It is a good day to talk with Dr. Chung.

It's easy to understand how men, so early, worshipped the sun, or things like this. Light and warmth banish the cold and dark, inside and out.

Come, Spring, Come.
03/23 Direct Link
Saw a picture of Albert Einstein's desk on the day he died. My desks, since grammar school, have always looked like that desk. My eighth grade nun assigned Angeline Lapka, a classmate, the unwanted job of straightening out my desk, inside and top, every week. She, the nun, had no clue she might be interfering with genius at work! Wish I had had the guts, then, to say, "It ain't drawing flies, Sister, leave it be".

It's my considered opinion that people with neat desks have a pathological preference for appearance over substance; they're psychological kin to the stereotypical dumb blond.
03/24 Direct Link
The greatest trail of aging is the ever increasing sense of loss you experience. Day by day, you grow aware of physical inadequacies and more and more, you mourn rather than celebrate..

In the past three months, I've mourned, or shared in the mourning of, the passing of seven people, two of them, relatives. The hardest part of this mourning have been knowing how to be there for survivors, without being intrusive..

At the moment, my roommate for the past 10 years, who, despite, great physical challenges, would have attained a B.A., has become dangerously ill, and unable to finish
03/25 Direct Link
For P.M.

A lifetime ago, I loved you,
Reason fled,
Good intentions died in your splendourous smile.
A whole lifetime ago,
The caress of your lips said goodbye;
Fortune laughed.
Lonely, desolate, ignorant child, I,
I'd never known death.
But the dead remain unforgotten,
Eternal.
The memory of you evokes a pain
that hell would envy.

3/23/69

A terrible piece from the past, and even more terrible is that, despite the idea of eternal love, I haven't a clue as for whom I wrote this. I suspect this was some kind of exercise and not something from my own experience.
03/26 Direct Link
The problem with Creationists (Creative Design) is that they have the answer before they ask the question. If you already have the answer you don't need to ask the question. A further danger is that if you think you have the answer, any challenge to your answer is heresy, and should be treated as such. This was part of the problem Galileo faced when he questioned the biblical assertion that the earth was the center of the Universe. Questioning Scripture was questioning the answer God had already given, and thus heretical. Creationists, automatically have Bible based bias against scientific inquiry
03/27 Direct Link
The Center has respopnded wonderfully. Last night, Ms. Larson and her aide, Renee, showed up with a volunteer candidate to serve as my connection (my gay friend) to the community. I was the usual hyper, vocal, self I become when meeting new people; Lord, but I sparkled.

I think I made a reasonably a good impression on the candidate, Eric, a pharmacist in a seven year relationship with a chef. We will have the first of our one on one meetings beginning April 11th, after he and his other come back from a Costa Rican vacation.

Bring on good times!
03/28 Direct Link
My sister is having a terrible time at work. She's a union girl, and as such, has certain longevity priveleges, like choice of vacation time, holliday off time, etc., etc., etc., that is pissing her supervisor (not a union girl and a fairly recent hire) off. She tends, according to my sister, to be a bit of a bully; my sister is not one you can bully and the last month, or so, has been in consultation with her Union over some (my sister says) vindictive practices. I use my sister says only to keep a sense of balance.
03/29 Direct Link
Spring is being a little like a vain person leaving the mirror late and delaying the party. Morning temperatures are still in the thirties, but that last pile of dirty snow over in the corner, by the alley, has finally melted, however no real green has popped its color. The only real sign that Spring is coming is the incessant chatter of squirrels.

It has been a hard Winter for most of the country. The surprise for me, given the amount of snow is that I've not heard of flooding. Of course, a rainy Spring might very well change that.
03/30 Direct Link
"A 20-year-old gay man in South Africa was allegedly gang-raped by five people on Sunday, who then left him in a burning house." When I read of attacks against gay people around the world, I touch an anger in me that could best be described as rage. It is further fueled by the fact that there are those, in public positions, who use gay people the way Hitler used the Jews as a way to power, and that this use is so often successful. Underneath that rage is a sense of terror for the young innocents still to come.
03/31 Direct Link
It is cliché to day that the most vehement anti-gay rhetoric and actions are committed by those most fearful of exposure; the revelations of church leaders Ted Haggard and George Rekers, e.g., or politicians like Richard Curtis, anti-gay crusaders all. as secret practitioners of the very vice (their description) they rail against suggests that clichés are more often true, than not.

Do I rejoice when hypocrites such as these are exposed? To the detriment of my character, I must admit I do. However, I like to excuse that rejoicing as Justice levied upon the willfully wicked. I dare first stone.