Never Circus Peanut

The circus peanut.

It is quite possibly the worst allegedly edible treat imaginable.

No, not imaginable.  And not quite possibly.  And it’s not a treat.  Let’s revise that:

The circus peanut is the worst allegedly edible thing.

Full stop.

You might argue for some exotic ethnic food like lutefisk.  (“LOOT-eh-fisk.”)  What’s that, you ask?  It’s Finnish.  For more, let us consult Wikipedia: Lutefisk is dried whitefish (normally cod, but ling and burbot is also used) treated with lye. The first step is soaking the stockfish in cold water for five to six days (with the water changed daily). The saturated stockfish is then soaked in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days. The fish swells during this soaking, and its protein content decreases by more than 50 percent, producing a jelly-like consistency.  When this treatment is finished, the fish (saturated with lye) is caustic, with a pH of 11–12. To make the fish edible, a final treatment of yet another four to six days of soaking in cold water (also changed daily) is needed. Eventually, the lutefisk is ready to be cooked.

What the fuck were the Finns thinking?!  It uses lye.  It’s gelatinous.  It’s old stodgy white fish. But guess what?  You know precisely what you’re getting when you order it. No false advertising.  Nobody orders lutefisk then sends it back for being old fermented gelatinous bleached fish.  That’s what the fuck it is.  You don’t like the looks of it, the texture of it, the smell of it, the description of it…don’t order it.

But the circus peanut.  It’s sold as candy.  As a treat for children.  And it’s even sculpted into a reasonable facsimile of a peanut.  Imagine if you took a hunk of lutefisk, infused it with lots of sugar, painted it orange, then sold it to children as candy.  That would be a fucking sin.  As is the circus peanut.

I once ordered what I thought was a cream-filled donut from a bakery while in Kobe, Japan.  When I bit into the donut, I found a very juicy, very savory, spiced sausage.  When you think you’re getting Boston Cream and you end up with a Japanese hot dog…that’s a circus peanut.

Lutefisk might use lye, but the circus peanut is a lie.

The circus peanut is an unnatural orange color.  That color occurs nowhere in nature.  I’m sure ingesting it causes cancer.

The circus peanut claims to be marshmallow, but the texture is much closer to what I imagine would happen if a person was granted a wish to make a hunk of Styrofoam alive…then the person bit the damn thing.

The circus peanut isn’t peanut flavored.  Nobody seems to have a problem with this.  Oh, and they claim it’s banana flavored, but screw them on that as well.  I don’t taste misnamed legume.  (The peanut is not a nut.)  I don’t taste banana.  I just taste…circus peanut.  Perhaps an intelligent but somehow self-respecting universe conspired to form the earth which then conspired to make humans which then made circus peanuts because the universe couldn’t bring itself to lie so brazenly but some crazy-looking white-haired Caucasian god-figure in the heavens demanded a circus peanut.  Seems about as plausible as the circus peanut.

The circus peanut cannot become stale.  Archeologists recently unearthed a circus peanut on an ancient, remote site…but it’s hard to attribute a date to the circus peanut.  Nearby biological material, which appears to be the blood of early bipeds who committed suicide after biting into said circus peanut, was dated to approximately 13,000 BC.  One of the archeologists attempted to eat the discarded, perhaps haunted, circus peanut and found it to be fairly fresh.  She then committed suicide.  True story.

Today, Spangler Candy is one of the few places still making the circus peanut.  I found this lovely article, which you should read in its entirety, right here.  It’s a quick, somewhat compelling read.  If, however, you don’t feel like clicking through and learning the lurid details of recent circus peanut history, I’ve taken a couple of quotes which stood out to me.  You’re welcome.

  1. “I’m not a big fan,” admits Kerr, vice president of operations for Spangler Candy, one of the few remaining makers of circus peanuts.

(I know he’s holding back here.  Still, that’s the best thing he, the VP of operations, can come up with.  Yikes.)

  1. Circus peanuts have become a cult item much like Peeps — the marshmallow chicks and bunnies, says Steve Almond, a self-described candy addict who wrote Candyfreak, a memoir that chronicles candy making in America. He calls them “a mixture of fascination and disgust. It’s a completely baffling candy.”

(Fascination and disgust.  Baffling.  Yup, from the self-described candy addict.  I’ve been one of those.  One time I made a double decker Reese’s peanut butter egg sandwich…that’s two Reese’s peanut butter eggs between two Reese’s peanut butter eggs…and ate it in one bite.  I regretted that the morning after.  One time I ate an entire family sized package of Oreos within one hour.  No milk.  I know, savage.  I’ve won eating contests.  But seriously, the circus peanut is an outrage that not even I, not even Steve Almond “Joy,” can support.)

  1. “There are few candies that actually have survived as long as circus peanuts,” says Jon Prince, owner of wholesale candy retailer www.candyfavorites.com. “It’s not so much candy as it’s Americana.”

(That’s the most positive thing that’s ever been said about the circus peanut.  It’s not so much food as it is a relic of past generations.  The nostalgia is so strong that it confidently strides up to the orange-ish, spongy, grotesquely sweet and falsely flavored “nut” and punches it in the face.  “But you’re not candy,” said the Mary Jane.  “Fuck you, yes I am,” said the Circus Peanut, and then proudly punched a girl as well.)

  1. Next Easter, the company will team with Disney on a nationwide distribution of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger candies. They’ll come in cotton candy, cherry, banana and lemon flavors. The hope is it will attract more children to eat what is “an old person’s candy,” says Kirk Vashaw, Spangler’s vice president of contract businesses. Still, circus peanut sales were up last year and have increased 10% this year, Vashaw says. Not bad — and yet another mystery — considering candy sales have been flat lately. “We’re a little perplexed why it’s going up,” he says. “The circus peanut is such an enigma. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen to it.”

(They’re going to Disneyfy it, try to make it palatable to those kids sitting on the circus peanut fence.  And you know what?  The strategy will likely work.  We’re not that smart, humans.  Not when emotions and nostalgia are involved.  Wait.  It occurs to me here, particularly after I reread everything that precedes, that the circus peanut really is a brilliant Trump analogy.  Make America Circus Peanut again.)

In conclusion, do whatever you want to do with your digestive system, but for white Jesus’ sake, please don’t force the circus peanut on the rest of us.

-G

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(This is a cafe press image.  Cafe press is awesome.)

An Evening with Spinal Pap

Jen decided it was time to get a little tipsy and watch, “This is Spinal Tap.”  See, she’d tried in the past and found the whole thing patently unfunny.  This both shocked and disappointed me.  It might have been a deal breaker when we were dating back in the mid 2000’s.  But life moved forward.  And Jen’s the best.

Jen loves everything from Christopher Guest, et al (e.g. Best In Show, Waiting for Guffman, etc.) and also Rob Reiner (e.g. The Princess Bride, Stand By Me, etc.), but Spinal Tap remained an outlier for her.  (Notably, Jen also loves everything involving Sam Raime and Bruce Campbell…except, “Army of Darkness.”  I need to try and resolve this as well.  But, one movie at a time.)

My favorite quote from what you’re about to hear?  It’s Jen’s, “This is the date rape of podcasts.”

My favorite insights from Jen after having watched the movie?

  1. Tony Hendra (Ian Faith in the movie) has chameleon eyes.  His vision disorder, or comedic ability to independently control each eye, is un-googleable.  Really, nobody has ever explored this.  And if you watch the movie, Hendra’s eyes are something to behold.
  2. The song “Rock and Roll Creation” must have be influenced by the Riverbottom Nightmare’s song in Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas.  (This one blew my mind.)
  3. The theme and thread of unrequited love between David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel, made hilariously, albeit subtly, obvious when the two show up in a scene with mirror image cold sores. (Here you are.)
  4. Fred Willard was actively cracking everyone up in his scene.  Watch. (Four Jacks and a Jill.)

I also speculated, “If we traveled back in time to our druid forefathers and foremothers, at Stonehenge, and gave them an amazing contemporary treat, like my wife’s chocolate chip cookies, what would they think of it?

And finally, the music.  In order: Gimme Some Money (Spinal Tap), Stonehenge (Spinal Tap), Rock and Roll Creation (Spinal Tap), and Riverbottom Nightmare Band (The Nightmare).

We present to you, “An Evening with Spinal Pap.”

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I’m Taking #WhitePride Back (#HumanPride #WhitesAgainstTrump #BlackLivesMatterToWhiteLives)

I’ve been inspired by two comedians, a Buddhist, and a journalist…and also the recent inarguably unjustifiable murder of Terrence Crutcher.

Crutcher was executed on my 42nd birthday.  Several days later, I sat at an office computer and decided to watch the video.  I generally avoid recorded evidence of police brutality, terrorism, and violence in general.  I don’t like inviting such negativity into my headspace, which, as those of you who know me know, is already a lightly slumbering Kraken of anger, fear, self-loathing, and judgement.  I made an exception here, having recently read much of Shaun King’s powerful words and listened to both Hari Kondabolu and W. Kamau Bell.  I closed the door, brought a snifter of high proof rye whiskey to the experience, and clicked [play].  I was devastated.  I knew then that I needed to watch all of the other videos that I’d recently avoided.  Me, in my safe space, in my reasonably safe community, with my idyllic life, in all of my white, middle-class, heterosexual, standard-English speaking, post-secondary educated maleness.

I watched.  And I cried.  And I grieved.  And I choked down anger that I could taste…thick, metallic and putrid like the blood blasphemously spilled in the names of peace, of law and order, of God.  And I woke up completely.

And then, I read comments.

I know, don’t read the comments.

But I read the comments.

And then, waist deep in the muck of anonymous hate mongers, I did something else I’ve been avoiding.  I watched every Trump ad I could find.  I also watched a few minutes of several Trump rallies.

I worked myself into a righteous, indignant, raging lather.

I finished that whiskey, and I poured another.

And I began listening to old songs that spoke Truth to me.  I listened to Stevie and Marvin and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

I cried a little more, the rage settled, then I went downstairs and I sat with my beautiful, smart, independent, funny wife and my beautiful, smart, independent, funny, biracial step-daughter as fully as I could manage with so much weighing on my heart.

I want to throw out several hashtag phrases here, not because I think hashtag activism is the best way for me to “do something” and purge my grief, guilt, and awareness.  No.  I do it because it’s a way for me to be honest with myself and you.  And ultimately, it may not amount to much but it’s what I have to offer right now.

First:

#BlackLivesMatter

And let me modify that:

#BlackLivesMatterToWhiteLives

If you feel the need to counter this with #AllLivesMatter, you’re lying to me and to yourself.  The #AllLivesMatter banner NEVER comes out when a black man dies at the hands of law enforcement.  Never.  It doesn’t come out when terrorism happens outside of our borders.  It doesn’t come out when anyone insignificant or unimportant to those flying it dies.  Thus, and I’m taking folks at their literal word when they write “all,” they are liars when they say it.  They can’t go to bed with a truly tranquil smile and a godly blessing in their hearts, though.  That shit hurts.  I understand.  So keep on keeping on.  Go back to sleep.  But I can’t.  I’m wide the hell awake.

The mental health worker trying to help the distressed guy with autism in Florida, Charles Kinsey…that’s his name, lying on the ground, hands up, saying, “Don’t shoot me,” and they still shoot him. Right there was the point where people either permanently buried their lily white privileged asses in the ground or woke up. Okay, fine, I’ll even give those people the benefit of the doubt.  Which they don’t deserve.  Kinsey didn’t die and was quite forgiving, even very positive in the aftermath.  Fine.  Forgiveness.  Then…on my birthday last Friday, a dude’s car breaks down, that’s Terrence Crutcher…his name is Terrence Crutcher and he was a Father of young children, he’s eventually surrounded by 5 cops and, while both a dash camera and a helicopter camera record, they execute him then stand there listening to his blood-filled final gasps while showing zero concern. And they lie about it. Even with two cameras recording.  If a person isn’t woke now, fuck them. They’re comatose. They don’t care about ANY life. Furthermore, in these cases, and all similar cases, not only didn’t the murderers get arrested, not only did they not get fired, or even meaningfully reprimanded…they got paid vacation, using taxpayer dollars. Chew on that for a minute. Essentially, Terrence Crutcher paid for his own execution. And so did you. And so did I. Because these precincts get local, state, and federal dollars. So fuck me too. Fuck all of us.

That’s the first hashtag.  #BlackLivesMatterToWhiteLives.  Not because all lives don’t matter, but because Black people need to know that we care.  “We” meaning white people.

Here’s the second.

#WhitesAgainstTrump

I realize that I’m a tiny little man with his little group of friends on Facebook and several hundred people subscribed to the blog. I also know that my opinion is precisely that. Mine. And an opinion. And I don’t fancy myself self-important enough to think that you should listen to me. We’re all on the same spherical boat hurtling dangerously through the universe avoiding destructive space debris by the equivalent of a hair. But, I’m here and so are you and theoretically you do care at least a bit about my thoughts. So, here goes: Even if I were approaching the world entirely selfishly, answering only the questions: Who do I love most? Who provides my income? Who are my closest friends, family, and community members? With whom do I have a direct and mutually beneficial relationship within just one degree of separation? Even if I did that, the majority…and perhaps as many as 75% or more of the people who would land on the list can be described in at least one of these ways:

  1. Not of European descent and/or within the group of early immigrants to the United States who have now assimilated and are considered “white.”
  2. Not strictly straight or binary-gender-dogmatic, not Christian or even particularly beholden to any specific religious organization.
  3. Not wealthy. (I mean a family who makes well under $100,000 per year. Who the hell decided that an income of $250k is “middle-class?” Screw them. Screw them with the 150k to 200k that the rest of us who are treading water to act middle class DON’T have)
  4. Not under-educated. (i.e. I mean most of the adult people with whom I interact graduated from high school and most went on to some additional training)
  5. Additionally, Monday through Friday the majority of people with whom I interact are under the age of 15 and not neuro-typical. (i.e. they have some diagnosis that renders them a minority without a strong independent voice)

Considering all of this, even if I were not me and envisioned myself as entirely selfish, there is no doubt that I must do everything I can to ensure the world understands that I do not stand with (…or even near…), in fact want no part of anyone who would stand with (…or intentionally near…), Donald Trump nor anyone who would vote for him purely on his historical behavior, merit, rhetoric, and/or policy assertions.  You know what, scratch all those qualifiers.  Let me try that again.

I don’t stand with (…and if I’m being entirely honest, I can’t stand…) anyone who plans to vote for Donald Trump.

While he deserves my, and our compassion, because clearly he is a deeply ill human who hasn’t even thought to look inward, there is no reason why he’s in the position which he currently occupies.  Shame on you.  Shame on me.  Shame on each and every one of us.  And by us I mean white people.  Shame on white people.  What the hell are we thinking?!

So again:

  1. #BlackLivesMatterToWhiteLives
  2. #WhitesAgainstTrump

These are my statements of white pride.  Come on white people, let’s take THAT phrase back.  White pride should not mean white superiority, white supremacy, or white apologist.  I am proud to be a white American who will take a knee and state how deeply I care for all of my brothers, all of my sisters, all of my children, all of my elders.  I am proud to be a white heterosexual male American who takes responsibility for his part in the oppression and suppression of any and all people.  If you’ll permit me to use the rhetorical convention of the #AllLivesMatter reaction-movement, “White Pride” should really be “Human Pride,” particularly if all lives matter.


You might be wondering, “What happened to the Buddhist?”  At the beginning I mentioned having been inspired by a journalist (Shaun King), two comedians (Hari Kondabolu and W. Kamau Bell and their wonderful podcast, “Politically Reactive”), and a Buddhist.  That’s a friend I encountered just before settling down to write this very post.  Literally *just* before opening Word to type.  He and I spoke at length about many things including my constant struggle with anxiety and rage.  This post would have been considerably angrier, more judgmental, and less mindful had I not interacted with my dear friend.  I love him.  And I love you.  Really, I do.  That comes entirely from my heart.  My friend spoke to me of “radical compassion.”  The recognition that we are all on our own journeys, with our own baggage.  This doesn’t excuse deplorable behavior, doesn’t forget violence and oppression, doesn’t permit complicity.  But with enough of it, radical compassion, we can help others untangle the roots of fear, shame, and guilt which all too often encase our hearts in an impenetrable grasp.

#HumanPride

-G

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Great for Everyone

Dear Yinz Guys,

I’m 42 today, so I get to say whatever the hell I want, right?

Wrong.

(Get back to me tonight when I’ve consumed the alcohol of two hearty 21 year olds.  Maybe then some astonishing shit will come out of my mouth.  Maybe.)

If you toggle back one post you’ll find, “The Politics of Nostalgia.”  This is a companion podcast for that post.

You’ll also hear, “Solamente las Claves,” by Conjuntos Cespedes and, “Bring the Noise,” by Public Enemy.

You’ll also be hearing a lot of road noise in the podcast proper.  I reduced as much as I could, but this is certainly not going to be the best sounding voice recording you’ve ever heard…particularly not after you take in the soft, silky, dulcet, baritones of my voice in the intro.  (Yes, I’m being facetious.)

I love you.  Please listen.  Here is, “Great for Everyone.”

-G

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The Politics of NOstalgia

The definition of nostalgia is, “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”

I want to unpack that definition a bit.

  • Sentimental longing or wistful affection.

Implying, deep, pervasive, emotional connection.  Longing, in my experience, is not a healthy emotional state.  “Longing” implies dissatisfaction with the present.  “Wistful” is basically synonymous.  In the past, when I’ve found myself wistfully longing, I’m typically also depressed.

  • Typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Nostalgia is quite contextual and individualized.  Your nostalgia is not my nostalgia.  Not precisely, because only I have lived my life…and only you have lived your life.  Furthermore, if I’m dissatisfied with right now and remember something that made me happy yesterday, my human tendency will be to do whatever is necessary to recreate that dissipated joy.

So, let me put all of that back in the box, consolidate it, and make it mine.

Nostalgia is a personal, emotional, and powerful attachment to some representation of the past.

Now, let me present to you a phrase that captures our contemporary zeitgeist…if not all of us, perhaps upwards of, if not more than half of us.  (“Zeitgeist,” by the way, is a great word.  It means, “the spirit of the time; the general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.”  Plus it sounds wonderful to the ears.  Go ahead, say it out loud.  Zeitgeist.  Equal stress on both syllables.  The first syllable rhymes with, “fight,” and the second with, “heist.”  Zeitgeist.) Anyway, here’s the phrase:

Make America Great Again

Again, this might describe neither you nor any of your friends, family, or acquaintances.  Or it might perfectly capture you and/or people in your life.  In either case, all you need to do is turn on the news, or attend to social media, or drive further than 5 miles away from your community.  Make America Great Again is a nostalgic sentiment that captures much of the United States, and if you look beyond our borders and replace “America” with whichever country you see, captures a similar sentiment all around the world.

There’s a problem here, however.  The politics of nostalgia present a very clear ethical problem that isn’t necessary obvious to the individual shouting it out.

Remember…my nostalgia is mine, and yours is yours.  The thing that I love, cherish, and miss might be the very thing that you despise and fight to remain firmly in the past.

Make America Great Again.

I ask…for whom?

That’s the necessary tag.

Make America Great Again (for me).

The problem with politicizing nostalgia is that it necessarily excludes communities, demographic groups, and self-identifiable populations.

Are we trying to make America great again…like it was in 1950?

Was it great for everyone then?

1960? 1970? How about 1930?

When, precisely, was America great?  And for whom?

America was not great for women before 1920.  Many would justifiably argue it is still not great for them across important aspects of society.

How about gay people?  Is it great for them?  When was it?

America was not great for African Americans…perhaps ever.

America was not great for native populations after colonists arrived.

America can be terrifying for Muslim Americans.

(Allow me to personalize.)

America was not great for my family, from an economical perspective, when Reagan was president.

There’s another tricky word.  Economy.  Why?  Well, when we talk about “the economy,” we’re talking about the forest.  However, none of us experience that economy.  We experience OUR economy, as a tree in said forest.  My bank account, my loan rates, my credit debt, etc.  These all comprise my economy.  And when Reagan was president, my family did worse.  I’m not blaming him, just stating a specific fact.  When Clinton was president, we flourished as a family.  A family’s momentary socio-economic status matters and, across history, has impacted, perhaps dictated how they experience “the economy,” or any specific economy.  I was poor…free-lunch-poor…most of my life.  My hard-working, multiple-job-having, penny-pinching, still-needing-food-stamps-and-at-times-partial-welfare family did better when the president had a D attached to his name.  I don’t know why.  Again, these are my experiences.

The politics of nostalgia don’t work because they don’t work for everyone.

But then, perhaps you don’t care about that.  It seems like many who hand paint Make America Great Again signs don’t.

You know what, America is awesome for me right now.  However, I know it’s not for many of my friends, acquaintances, family members, and people about whom I care very much.  And it wasn’t great for my family in the 1980’s.  So…I forego the politics of nostalgia, MY nostalgia, for the sake of the bigger picture.  I’m a forest guy, particularly when my little corner of the economy is working for me and those closest to me.  Today, and likely for the rest of my life, I’m opposed to the politics of nostalgia.

I’m more interested in…

The politics of reality.

The politics of inclusion.

The politics of equality.

The politics of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

-G

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Matching Jackets in Biker Heaven (Grease Two, pt 3)

Greetings Earthlings.

We come in peace.  To watch Grease.  Grease Two.  Here you will hear recorded evidence of our experience.

That’s Jim, Maddy, and me.

Instead of the traditional narrative I’ve used to introduce podcasts, I thought I’d give you various [thoughts] and “quotes” from the experience.

  1. [Have you heard about the fan theory that Sandy was in a coma throughout the entirety of Grease and at the very end died?  It’s a thing.  The writer of the musical, Jim Jacobs, disputed it…here. So I suppose it’s untrue.  But it’s still a compelling theory.]
  2. [Jim, a girl for all seasons, ah-ah-ahhh…ah-ah-ahh…ah-ah-ahh.]
  3. “In biker heaven, Cool Rider and Stephanie get to be together in matching jackets.”
  4. [There is a stage adaptation of Grease 2.  I think I wanna see it.]
  5. [The song from the rock-a-hula luau, which I always sing as, “hock a loogie luau,” sounds, looks, and feels like one of those horrid Kidsongs videos from about 10 years ago.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably better off leaving well enough alone.]
  6. “Everything is better with twins.”
  7. “Who doesn’t want a pool of enchantment?”
  8. “How do we rhyme together?  Oh good…feather.”
  9. “Does pause EVER work?”
  10. [Ultimately, I believe the entire thesis of Grease 2 is summed up in the diner scene with Michael and Stephanie talking about hamburgers and Hamlet.  Stephanie says, “You know I figured out what Hamlet’s big problem is.”  She then gets immediately side-tracked by the fact that the diner never puts ketchup on the hamburger.  “How can you eat a hamburger with no ketchup?”  She’s absolutely right. “Shoot that over here.”  Having fixed the hamburger situation, she hits us with this spot-on, low-brow, assessment of Hamlet.  And me, which is why I now love the movie. “You know what his problem is?  No laughs.  The guy’s gotta lighten up, right?”]

I mean, right!?

Anyway, today we present to you the thrilling and hilarious conclusion of our time spent with the T-Bones, Pink Ladies, et al, “Matching Jackets in Biker Heaven (Grease Two, pt 3).”

Oh…music.  It’s all Beatles today. “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” and “Blackbird.”  Two of my favorites, and appropriate for this anniversary which is certainly founded in anger, sadness, and tragedy but, as is always the case if we allow it, transformed into a vessel of healing, hope, and love.

God, or whatever it is you place your faith, bless you all.

-G

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Outting Myself

I’m coming out of the closet.  Several closets, actually.

(No, I’m not gay. But, as you know if you’ve read recent posts, I’m down.)

“The closet” is a place where people publicly hide for the sake of personal preservation, particularly when they belong to a demographic or cultural group(s) which might bring unwanted and negative attention from friends, family, community, media, and/or society.

Now, I also understand that the closet is a place where people have needed to hide to avoid slander, violence, discrimination, incarceration, and in far too many cases, death.  I’m not equating the things I’m about to admit (…which most of you either know or could easily deduce from my general behavior and previous writing…) with groups or people who have courageously stepped out of a closet at great personal risk.

I’m using the phrase as a device, and I’m borrowing from contemporary usage.

So, here goes…

I am generally “lower-case” liberal and I am specifically a “capital-L” Liberal.

I’ve literally hugged trees.  Not a tree.  Plural…trees.

I am neither conservative nor am I a Conservative, particularly as it relates to any current organization or public figure that associates him/her/themselves specifically to said terms.

I am woke.  Even when I sleep, as my dreams will attest.  (If you’re puzzled, you can Google search, “What does woke mean?”)

I am a feminist and I believe that Black lives matter, not because I hate men or think that other lives don’t matter.  Far from that.  Far. (If you truly don’t understand what I mean, I’m not sure I can help you with further explanation.)

I believe Gay people are born that way.  Maybe some aren’t .  I don’t care.  Really.  I just can’t tolerate violence of any sort against a person seeking self-enlightenment and love.

I am a patriot, but I’m not a nationalist.

I care deeply about the constitution and how it pertains to every breathing soul, but it’s no more my bible than the actual bible.

By the way, I’m agnostic.  Not confused.  Not an atheist.  Agnostic.  For me, that means: The spirit of “I don’t know” and also “I’m wide open to knowing.”

I believe in an ultimate, underlying, pervasive Truth beyond what we can perceive and consolidate.  God, if you will.  I believe in God.

I love Jesus, at least as he behaves and presents himself in the New Testament.

I’m not a Christian. (Have questions?  Just ask.  I’m always available for an open-hearted discussion.  But I’m fairly certain that the red words are not “the Truth.”  But then, I don’t know.  And I don’t think you do either.  No offense meant.)

I’m proud of my heritage, but I am not a xenophobe.

I pledge allegiance to a lot of things, and a lot of people, but not a flag.

I hate that traditional wedding vows pronounce heterosexual couples, “Man and wife.”

Ultimately, I don’t invest a lot of my time in traditions.  Which generally aligns with conservatism.

But then…

I’m often wrong.

I’m angrier than I would like to be, even today.  I used to be angry most of the time.  It’s exhausting.

I’m usually anxious and worried.  Sometimes depressed.  But I take Prozac and some other stuff.  It doesn’t always work.

I struggle with self-doubt, self-esteem, and self-loathing and I often project my insecurities on the world around me.  (I’m truly sorry if I’ve ever loaded anything on your shoulders, and I likely have.  So I am sorry.)

I used to hate hearing my recorded voice, seeing my recorded movements, even looking in mirrors.

That’s not hyperbole.  “Hate” is the specifically right word.

These days, I’m still generally uncomfortable with all of that…but every once in a while I love what I hear and see, not because I think I’ve done something wonderful but simply because I see Truth beyond the mirror; within the mirror.  And I hear It underlying the fundamental frequency of my vibrating vocal cords.  And others’ as well.

So I suppose it’s fitting that the final thing I’ll come out of the closet and say, both to the mirror and through the window, is…

I love you, no matter what.

-G

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(source)

I Say Reproduction, You Say Rep Protection (Grease Two, Pt 2)

We’re back, and just about as good as we were the last time you heard us.

But also, you’re back, and better than ever…so thank you!

Today, we continue to watch Grease Two in all of it’s glorious, cheesy, incredibly rapey splendor.  (It’s very rapey.  These kids are not hip to any reasonable, and certainly not literal, definition of consent.)

Anyway…

Be prepared for another fun ride, and a little soul-searching by me at the beginning.  Also, David Bowie, “Let’s Dance,” and Queen (…with David Bowie…), “Under Pressure.”

More tunes.  More booze.  More laughs.  Less Rape.

We present to you, “I Say Reproduction, You Say Rep Protection (Grease Two, pt 2).”

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