Thursday, April 17, 2014

A New Avondale Story is Now Available

Buzz Bets Badly, But Begets Bliss (an Avondale story) was released today at Smashwords.Com

Adam Yancey is about to graduate from college, with a degree in music at the age of eighteen. He’s highly intelligent, totally goal-oriented, and anxious to begin working on a Master’s and then a Doctoral degree, so he can pursue a career as a concert organist.

But what he really dreams of is having a loving relationship with another man—a relationship like his father and his father’s partner have. Unfortunately, Adam has a secret. One he feels certain will prevent him from ever having such a relationship.

Buzz Patterson is a jock and a track star, and all he wants out of life is to get laid—as often as possible. Then one day, his buddies goad him into betting that he can find out if Adam’s long fingers fulfill the old saying about long fingers being an indication of length elsewhere.

Buzz has all summer to win the bet, and he begins to actively pursue Adam. Will he win the bet? Or will he wind up getting more than he bargained for?

Here's a purchase link:

Use coupon code JC98V at checkout and receive a 25% discount.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tom of Finland to be honored with a series of postage stamps

Legendary homoerotic artist Tom of Finland will be honored this fall when Finland issues a series of three postage stamps.

A nipple, shapely buttocks and a muscular, moustachioed man smoking a cigarette – a new set of three stamps, to be issued in Finland in September, are among the most daring ever seen in the philatelic world. The images are by Tom of Finland, the legendary artist who was born in south-west Finland in 1920, and died in 1991. He created an archive of erotica with a distinct aesthetic – vast-shouldered men in leather, denim and knee-high boots – that is said to have influenced figures including Robert Mapplethorpe, Freddie Mercury and the Village People.

The male portraits on the Finnish stamps aren't the most explicit of the artist's work. His art very often pays tribute to a tumescence absent in the images chosen for these stamps. The Tom of Finland Foundation has said his early process often involved "locking himself in his room, stripping naked, and stroking himself with one hand while the other hand created on paper what he could seldom find on the streets".

Even so, they are considerably more erotic than those usually seen on any nation's envelopes. Dean Shepherd, editor of Gibbons Stamp Monthly, says that he has never seen homoerotic art on stamps before. Erotic art more generally? "No, it tends to be nude paintings reproduced on stamps, but as far as actual erotic art is concerned, I think this is the first time." There was a bit of a storm in the early 1930s, he says, when the Spanish Postal Authority approved some stamps featuring Goya's The Nude Maja – a woman reclining naked. The US government apparently barred and returned any mail that bore it.

Stamps represent a country, and are the most public of media, so they rarely feature strongly sexual subjects, says Matt Hill, editor of Stamp and Coin Mart. When paying tribute to LGBT culture, it's more usual for stamps to depict gay heroes.

In 2012, for instance, second world war codebreaker Alan Turing was featured in the Royal Mail's Britons of Distinction series, and in May this year, a stamp featuring Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US, will be launched with a ceremony at the White House. There is currently a campaign under way to honour gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin with a stamp, and the Gay and Lesbian History on Stamps Club, founded in New York in 1982, highlights other notable gay people who have featured. These include the artist Andy Warhol, the writer James Baldwin and the poet Elizabeth Bishop.

In 2010, the Austrian Post Office issued a stamp commemorating the 15th Rainbow Parade in Vienna, but perhaps the most joyful of all stamps celebrating gay culture are those created for a kingdom not recognised by any government. A group of gay rights activists founded the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands in 2004, in response to the Australian government's refusal to recognise equal marriage, and a post office was set up. In July 2006, nine stamps were issued, with symbols including a pink triangle, red ribbon and the International Bear Brotherhood Flag.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mulberry Pie Anyone?

Mulberry Pie Anyone?

There are many species of Mulberry trees, one of which, Morus rubra, or red mulberry, is native to Florida. In the early 1900s they were found in a lot of places in Florida. In fact, the town of Mulberry is reportedly named for a large mulberry tree growing next to the old train depot.

In my little home town (more like a village, really), there were several, including one adjacent to my grandparents’ house. It was a very old tree with a huge trunk. About a dozen feet above the ground, branches grew up and out—so far out, in fact, that they touched the ground. When the mulberries were ripe, my cousins and I could easily climb up in the tree—to pick and consume mulberries to our hearts’ content. Our parents weren’t too happy with the stains on our bodies and clothing, but it was fun. My mother baked mulberry pies, and she also froze the berries so we could have pies in the off-season.

My grandparents have been gone for decades, and the tree is long gone. I suspect subsequent owners of their house might have chopped it down, or perhaps it succumbed to old age, as did the other mulberry trees in the neighborhood. In fact, most people these days don’t seem to even know what mulberries are.

In any case, when I moved back to the area, I started looking for a source of supply, and found a really nice nursery on the outskirts of Tampa that sells a couple of varieties of mulberry trees. We now have nine of them in our back yard.

About five days ago, we began the daily harvest, and now have enough mulberries in the freezer to make several pies, one of which is in the oven as I write this.

Pictures of the berries on the tree follow, along with a picture of the pie. It’s a bit runny, but this is my partner’s first effort. Next time, he’ll use a bit of cornstarch to thicken the juices. It took us quite a while to clip the stems off of all those berries, but it was worth it.

And, yes, it tasted just as good as I remember.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Why don't people dress appropriately?

We attended a band concert last night, during which the bands from each of the nine middle schools in our county each played two pieces.   As you might imagine, much of the two-hours were taken up with one band leaving the stage, and the next band taking its place.

One of the directors was a middle-aged woman who doesn't know how to dress.  She wore a pullover shirt with sequins which emphasized the fact that she was, well, to put it bluntly, considerably overweight.

And she was wearing pants.  Someone should tell her that when a woman her size stands on a podium, on stage, in the spotlights, and with her back to the audience wearing pants, it isn't a pretty sight.  We in the audience could see every wrinkle in her ample backside, up to and including the fact that her rather scanty undies were riding up on the left.  (At least she didn't reach back there and adjust them) 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stop Whatever

This little display appeared on a busy bypass around a neighborhood recently.  The signs say Stop This & That, and they've thoughtfully provided a Port-a-potty for their viewers!

Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Spring, and the shirts are coming off

We were in Gainesville (home of the University of Florida) yesterday afternoon, and as we drove down University Avenue between the campus and the strip of shops and restaurants, I noticed that shirts were starting to disappear.  Not to the extent they will in two or three weeks, but enough to be interesting.

Of course, it has to be said that, in this the era of obesity in young people, some of those students would have looked better with their shirts on.  Still, there were a few interesting bodies, here and there. 

I don't think I could live in Gainesville - too much eye candy.  LOL

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Our teacher asked us what our favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried
chicken." She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right because
everyone else in the class laughed.

My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried
chicken is my favorite animal. I told my dad what happened, and
he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love
animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef.

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what
happened, and he laughed too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal
was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, just like she'd
asked the other children. So I told her it was because you could make
them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal's office
again. He laughed, and told me not to do it any more.

I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher
doesn't like it when I am. Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what
famous person we admire most.

I told her, "Colonel Sanders".

Guess where I am now.......

Author unknown.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My, How Things Have Changed

My, How Things Have Changed
(And Not for the Better)

Recently, I accompanied my grandson and his parents to a district band gathering, where students were to play solos, and be judged on their performances. There are three ratings awarded for solo performances: good, excellent, and superior.

We arrived at a high school in the county seat of a neighboring county, where the event was being held, and quickly located the assigned room for his performance. After that we adjourned to the school cafeteria, which was the designated place for warming up and practicing. The cafeteria was jammed with middle- and high-school kids—a couple hundred of them—most of whom were practicing simultaneously. The word ‘chaos’ came to mind.

Eventually, we made our way to the assigned room, and waited in a corridor while the previous kid performed. I was shocked when he was asked to stop and start his performance several times. Once even, to attempt a second tuning of his instrument. When my grandson’s turn came, he went through the same process, and it was finally over.

Then we returned to the cafeteria to wait for the results to be posted, which happened an hour later, and I was pleased to see that he was awarded an ‘Excellent’ for his efforts.

I was really amazed at the way it was handled. I have several ‘Superior’ medals myself, earned while I was in high school, and in my day, you went into the assigned room at the assigned time, played your piece and left. The only time I remember a judge saying anything to me was once, when one of them apologized for the sorry state of the old upright piano I was to play on.

As far as I can tell, they don’t even call them band contests any more.

The change from then (many decades ago) to now, was amazing, and not for the better.  I found myself wondering if it was yet another symptom of the lowering of standards in general, and the dumbing down of education today.

I don’t see how allowing a student to stop and start his/her solo several times can possible teach them to deal with the challenges they’ll face in later life.  I really think that it was better when kids were treated like recitalists—you go on stage, you play your piece, then you bow and leave. End of story.

All of which makes me very sad.

The attached photo shows the chaos in the cafeteria.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog

This is an interesting film, which you will either love or hate, depending upon your point of view. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale based on a novella by Harlan Ellison. It features a very young Don Johnson, who was twenty-five or so when the movie was filmed, and looked all of eighteen. Which is a good thing, because he was playing an eighteen-year-old. He’s wandering through what’s left of Arizona after a five-day war has wiped out most of the world, accompanied by a former police dog, which whom he communicates telepathically.

The destruction of civilization has left mankind in a “survival of the fittest” state, and it’s every man for himself.

And frankly, the dog has the best lines.

This movie is not for the squeamish, but it works, and it works quite well. To say anything else would amount to a spoiler.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Die Sweet Roadrunner Die

Wiley Coyote finally catches the Roadrunner, and changes his life forever.
 (Be careful what you wish for.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hi, there. Would you like to Skish?

Recently, while dining at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, I saw a poster on the wall (as you may know, all Cracker Barrel outlets have walls covered with memorabilia).   The poster advertised a Skish and Fly Casting event in eastern Pennsylvania.  So, I looked the word up when I got home.


a target game for fishermen in which a small lead weight is cast at a set of targets placed flat on the surface of the water or sometimes on the ground

Friday, January 10, 2014

You can see his religion

You've heard the phrase, "I can see his religion," haven't you?  One of the Star Trek characters once said something similar about his very tight uniform.  This is what he meant:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Trip Down Memory Lane

We watched the movie Rango (2013) yesterday, which had us in hysterics.  They spoofed everything western.  One scene featured a bit of the Vaughn Monroe hit song of 1948  "Cool Water," and that sent me back to my childhood.  Vaughn Monroe, and the Sons of the Pioneers were a big deal in the fifties and before.  If memory serves, Roy Rogers was also associated with that group.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I have been re-reading John Galsworthy's books, and found this gem in The Man of Property, which is book one of the Forsyte Saga:

in the security bred of many harmless marriages, it had been forgotten that love is no hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always wild! was not generally recognised by the Forsytes that, where this wild plant springs, men and women are but moths around the pale, flame-like blossom.

The British spellings were retained for accuracy.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bring Back the Signs

Bring Back the Signs

Thanks to a few outspoken fools, sign ordinances have spiraled out of control in this country, and that makes it difficult to find places or business you might be looking for.

For example, we used to visit a family member who lived in the area between Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale. In that part of south Florida, there are miles of streets, mostly four-lane undivided, and every mile seems to contain yet another strip shopping center. Almost without exception, those centers feature a row of trees along the street which are just the right height to make it impossible to see the storefronts. More importantly, even if you could see the storefronts, the names of the shops are often too small to be read from the street. And, God forbid there should be a decent high-rise sign listing the names of the shops in letters large enough to easily read. Even if there is, it’s not safe to slow down long enough to read it. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, trying to find what you’re looking for can be downright dangerous if traffic is heavy, and it usually is.

My partner and I were in Jacksonville recently, and as we drove through the suburb of Orange Park, he wanted to stop at a Walmart. We knew that it was on a particular two mile strip of the street, because we’d been there several years earlier, so we were watching carefully as we drove. We missed it, because the only sign was a low rectangular affair that stood no more than five feet above the ground and was set back from the street a bit. The building itself could be seen at the far side of a parking lot, but because the land sloped downward, it was only visible when we were directly opposite it. So we had to go to the next light. Oops, no U-turn allowed, so we had to drive down a side street until we could make a U-turn, then find our way back.

A nice sign standing fifty feet or so in the air would have solved the problem, but thanks to sign ordinances, such things aren’t allowed.

Ever been to Hilton Head, South Carolina? It’s even worse there, and good luck finding anything you’re looking for—anything at all.

I’m old enough to remember driving down the interstate on a long trip, desperate to find food and/or clean porcelain. The sight of golden arches on a very high sign sticking up above the trees, was always a welcome relief—whether you were hungry, or merely in need of reliable porcelain. Still is, for that matter.

So, to all the fools who want to ban signs: cease and desist.

PS: no, I don’t want to see a forest of signs springing up all over the landscape, but a happy balance needs to be struck. Sign ordinances are another one of those instances where zero tolerance equals zero common sense.