I have not bothered to update my blog in a while due to some ongoing problems with my health. I am alive and kicking, but in a feverish and groggy manner.

We have put our furniture arranging and fall cleaning on hold temporarily. We did manage to complete the dining room and have only a few articles to set up in the living room (at the moment, knickknacks are simply placed in order to keep them out of the way.) I am hoping to have the energy tomorrow to finish hanging drapes.

Thank you for all your concerned emails. I have not had an opportunity to write to anyone yet.


Sunday Scribblings: Hello, my name is...

Hello, my name is…

Softest sound,
Quiet as drops of dew
That slides from the blade
Of grass, touching
Lightly upon the soft earth
Before being swallowed
By the thirsty sands
Surrounding the impression
Left by a form that fell
Just as the moon rose
Last night.

The hunting owl
Wings spread in flight
Cast little warning
In shadow form as
She glided in silence
Over the fields of wheat
But her eyes,
So yellow and clever
Found quarry before
The quarry found her

It sat there
Whiskers twitching
As ever-growing teeth
Gnawed thick-shelled seed
And it did not pause
Except to sniff
Captured puffs
Perfumed with hay and
The sweetest grass
Touch of mums
Taste of roses
And the tangy zest
Of lawn chemicals

She did not
Utter a single sound
As she tipped her tail
And altered her path
Swiftly the ground
Passed beneath her
Leaf, grass, stone
Pebble, pollen, dust
All swept by
As she brought herself
Nearly nape of the
Earth in flight

Clever piercing talons
Extend down swift
Forward lock and
Grab as her prey
Squeals in the harsh
Silver light of moon
And then she rises
Upwards to heaven
The weight meaningless
As her wings boost
Feathered body
Toward home again

To the nest
Three sets of eyes
Soft squawks utter
And she alights there
The scent of brood
Touches her nares
Before great beak lowers
And shreds the morsel
That will provide
Chicks with strength

Come the dawn
Dew drops glisten
And the depression
Remains in the grass
And in the sand
A struggle happened
Here and the grass
Remembers, as does
The half-eaten seed
Forgotten on the ground.

Hello, my name is
The cycle of life.

"Other Men's Sons", a review

I have had the most extraordinary day. Perhaps it was the moments spent with Pat and Wally Kutteles in their Kansas kitchen, sharing their journey and embracing their loss. Surly the wine I sipped with Scott Merritt at the Sutton Place Hotel bar only enhanced this day. It may even have been from the euphoria in regard to missing the moose as I was whisking along the road towards Shaw’s wedding. I am currently in another era, smiling triumphantly as the words “You don’t hit girls” rings in out clearly across the campus of a Swiss private school.

Gifted writers paint with words; they create pictures. To state such in regard to Michael Rowe’s newest book, “Other Men’s Sons”, is to say the Sistine Chapel is worthy of being clipped to a refrigerator by a plastic red “A” letter magnet, along side other stick figure drawings and stained soccer schedules. Rowe surpasses the puerile “painting pictures” expression, transcending it as a master weaver would intertwine golden threads of knowledge and compassion into a tapestry filled with palpable elements. I confess that I have yet to pick up one of his essays and not felt as if I had experienced the state of affairs first-hand, either as a bystander or in his subject’s own shoes.

One does not see the pictures in their minds; rather, one is spiritually thrust into the environment at hand, an active participant in the story itself as it winds its way along. Rowe entertains even as he elucidates, propelling the reader on a causeway of emotional highs and lows. There is pure literal intent in my last turn of the phrase for Rowe is indeed the master architect of bridge builders between worlds.

“Other Men’s Sons” is a series of essays that have thoughtfully been divided into three interlacing entities: Mosaics, Portraits and Portfolios.

“Mosaics” are a collection of essays that, as Rowe explains in his introduction, consist of nine essays that are “primarily culture criticism and journalism that explores the tone of the time and the nuances that inform gay culture. Never heavy handed, and possessing literary poise that renders the soapbox as a useless tool utilized by those lacking wit, Rowe doles out his sage opinion with eloquent flare. He uplifts even as he critiques. He challenges the reader to see beyond stereotypes and set thinking. He is both advocate and adventurer, stripping away the misconceptions so commonly held by those who are distanced from the subjects at hand.

“Portraits”, the second category, is a collection of profiles. Clive Barker, Phillip Ing, Peter Paige, Gale Harold and Drew Harris share an equal amount of time with Angie Moneva, a young heterosexual girl who grew up in a distinctly gay neighborhood.

Rowe defines Mirrors as “essays that are autobiographical in nature.” Nestled in this heading are four stories that allow us a personal glimpse into the workings of Rowe’s world.

It is here that we meet Shaw in the piece for which the book is named. We find ourselves stepping quietly into Rowe’s world and indeed into his marriage and family life. We experience him as a true nurturer and a superb parental figure in the life of another man’s son. We find ourselves laughing alongside him as he struggles to adapt to the common rivalry between adoptive parents and biological parents, unfamiliar surroundings, antiquated small-town thinking, and wandering moose along the bumpy road as he and his spouse make the life journey towards Shaw’s wedding.

“Our Libraries, Ourselves” allows us to glimpse the passion of a brilliant mind. In is address as the keynote speaker at the 2003 GLBT Round Table of the American Library Association Stonewall Book Awards, Rowe urges gay writers to write “the stories of our lives” even as he urges librarians to purchase them and make them readily available to those who would benefit from reading them.

“Let them see that generations before them – indeed before us – found the strength to live our lives with dignity, grace and courage, effecting change and redressing injustices through actions, deeds, and, ultimately, our literature, which succeeds us,” Rowe writes. He likens the space occupied on a library shelf as a “garden where not only tolerance, but understanding, love, friendship, and bridges, spring up.”

He speaks passionately about the significance of his own marriage in a short piece titled “From This Day Forward”.

Perhaps his greatest donation to the literary world is “My Life as a Girl”, the revealing look at the dilemma of transgender people. Michael Rowe shatters the misapprehensions regarding transgender by revealing his own childhood struggle to harmonize his inner self with his physical self. Rowe is wholly inspirational in his explanation of the emotions and approach held by those who are transgender. This is perhaps his most luminous endeavor and should be held as required reading for any seeking answers in regard to understanding the various dimensions of gender identity.

To label “Other Men’s Sons” as “a book for gays and lesbians” is to do a disservice to all those who strive towards building bridges between our communities. The hallmark of a good writer is that he or she leaves their reader wanting to know more about a subject. I found myself hoping that there might perhaps be a just one more essay tucked into the book, the pages stuck together by accident.

Rowe brilliantly leaves us wanting to know more about our neighbors, our friends, and our acquaintances within and outside our communities. He leaves us holding onto the rails of the bridge mid-crossing. We desire to go the full distance, to continue along the conduit that he has provided, in order to embrace every man’s son or daughter as our own, to work towards understanding and acceptance of each other as a complete society.

Reagan Diary Rumors - the End!

A lot of speculation has been flying in regard to the "Reagan" quote, penned by Michael Kinsley. It is time to give credit where credit it due, for in the end it is the satire that survives whilst the speculation shrivels and dies.

Kinsley is best known for his quote, ""A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth." He is an American political journalist, commentator television host and liberal pundit. Primarily active in print media as both a writer and editor, he also became known to television audiences as a co-host on Crossfire. Kinsley has been a notable participant in the mainstream media's development of online content. (source: Wikipedia)

I first became aware of him upon reading his commentary in Time Magazine, "The Quite Gay Revolution", which can be found

But what about Reagan's quote, you ask?

Michael Kinsley, a man known for his clever sense of humor, penned the "quote" in an article after he had been tipped off that he was mentioned in Reagan's diaries. He did so June 2007, for the The New Republic. "Kinsley ruminated about why the president might have had occasion to mention his name in a diary entry, and offered several flight-of-fancy suggestions" (source: Snopes.)

"Direct quote" from the just published REAGAN DIARIES. The entry is dated May 17, 1986. 'A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne're-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.' (I have highlighted the "tip off" words for you.)

Did Reagan call G.W. Bush a ne’er-do-well? No. Reagan did not write this in his diaries. The quotation is pulled from an article titled
"My Lunch with Reagan" by Michael Kinsley in the New Republic (vol. 237, issue 1, 7/2/07). And, not surprisingly, the quotation is taken out of context. In its original context it's easy to tell that it's meant as a joke:

The literary editor of The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, brought the joyous news. "Guess what, Mike. You're mentioned in Reagan's diaries." The diaries were published recently by HarperCollins and were
generally well-received. Edited by America's historian-on-steroids, Douglas Brinkley, The Reagan Diaries apparently reveal Reagan to be more thoughtful than he is normally given credit for. Of course, our standards in the area of presidential thoughtfulness have plummeted in recent years. Still, the fact that Reagan was writing it all down was news, and an interesting departure from presidential tradition. Traditionally, presidents use a hidden tape recorder.

But I was more interested in the me angle, frankly. And it was a puzzle. What on earth could Reagan have written? I indulged my imagination, and my ego:

"January 22, 1983. Mommie [Nancy] says that Kinsley's column this week in The New Republic undermines the entire philosophical basis of my administration. O dear O dear, I had better not read it."

Or: "October 6, 1987. Why does Kinsley keep picking on me? He is the only thing standing between me and the total destruction of the welfare state. But, ha: I will destroy him--destroy him utterly-- or my name's not … not … not … . Say, they had 'State Fair' on TV last
night. What a wholesome, clean-cut young man that Pat Boone is."

Or: "May 17, 1986. A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work."

I hope that this is the end of such rumors. Whilst I had a good chuckle at Dubya's expense, I find that Kinsley deserves the credit for such wit.