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Random thoughts on the accelerated schedule

Entries in this blog

Were you in the Stonewall riot?

So, after a hard drive crash on Wednesday, I was in the PDX Apple Store to get another drive installed in my MacBook. The genius at the Genius Bar took the little gem to the surgical suite and began the surgery. I waited close to the Bar near a wall. I put my laptop bag on the floor at my feet and looked at some accessories on the wall. Within three minutes, a very delightful and very gay (at least according to my bidar) young man in a blue Apple Store shirt walked over, smiling, and asked i

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Virtue and Integrity (dé or te 德)

Virtue and Integrity (dé or te 德) I made good on a lost wager today. The wager was with a colleague, a woman two months older than I with whom I shared a remarkably similar late childhood and early adulthood. She was a South Carolinian and I lived most of my life in Florida. She and I, in separate parts of the world, marched, sat-in, protested, and worked on behalf of civil rights, women’s rights, sexual minority rights—you get the picture. She was a Nurse Practitioner and Midwife. She

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Free advice is worth what you pay for it

Advice for the young on love: get ready for the struggle. You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Don’t let the strong winds born of identification with your beloved extinguish the small flame of your ego. Don’t let your ego grow to the extent that it tries to encompass your beloved. Welcome a companion. And, as important, this work is fun even when painful, so let your souls laugh. The practice is all we have.

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The Real Meaning of Cooperation

This has been around for a while. I used it at the last Incident Management Team training I ran for firefighters and cops. Cooperation and coordination are essential to good incident management, and I'm always interested in the reaction it gets from cops and firefighters. I use it regularly; so far no one at FEMA has complained. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D8CB3inzSQ The UK must be such a cooperative land.

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February celebrations

Just a reminder of important February celebrations: Entire month: Pull your sofa off the wall month 2/7: Wave all your fingers at your neighbor day (not just the one you commonly use) 2/9: Read in the bathtub day 2/11: Don't cry over spilled milk day (requires spilling milk) 2/18: Thumb appreciation day (I think in the UK it's opposable thumb appreciation day) 2/23: Curling is cool day 2/28: Public sleeping day

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Yes, we have our own journal and apparently some Australians read it

For most of my adult life I have tried to destroy heteronormative myths about gay couples: that gay men are promiscuous and incapable of long-lasing monogamous relationships. Notwithstanding the fact that I have known more than a few gay men who were promiscuous with no interest in stable, long-term relationships, most of my gay male friends are living lives that look a lot like those of many heterosexual couples (different plumbing excepted). Ann and I, resisting the common slanders, have be

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Subtle Emanations

When I learned Tai Chi exercises, the old man always began facing the North. When I asked why, he told me that he was able to feel the interaction of the subtle emanations of Earth’s magnetic field and the field of his own Chi. Then he laughed and told me about the dangers of habit. I have never felt this interaction, but since the old man never lied to me, I begin the exercises facing North. Who knows? One day . . .

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Ann comes out

Ann came out as much as I did. If you imagine that people had trouble with my sexuality, you can guess that a lot of people thought she was naïve at best and nuts at worst to stay with me. She saved my life and discovered that rather than occasioning loathing, my affinities struck an erotic chord in her. In fact, we share the same taste in men. I’m sure strangers would be confounded if they overheard her, out on the trail or on a walk along the river, point out some particularly attractive g

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Strange Creature

A mating pair of Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis pratensis) lived part of the year at the back of our lot, which butted up against an old orange grove. Cranes represented long life and prosperity in old China. I have had long life and know the difference between wealth and prosperity. Each year we looked forward to seeing them move across our back yard, at first alone and then with a pair of youngsters. They were tall birds with grayish feathers and heads that, capped in bright red, came up

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Crying

I am surprised that crying is the most difficult matter for me to write about. If you’ve read any of my entries, you know that writing about death, sex, and love are pretty easy for me. When you’re wounded as a kid, you become very careful about crying. When I was fifteen, Tyler cried once when we were together after an afternoon of instructing each other on the finer points of fellatio. His tears, I learned, weren't the result of the lessons. Tyler was fifteen and overwhelmed by confusion

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Confusion? Dispatch from the bisexual corespondent on the last half of the twentieth century

I was never confused, as many people think bisexuals are. I liked to eat pussy as much as I liked to suck dick (both at the same time is the sweetest spot). I liked to fuck girls and boys and be fucked by both. I wish that the lack of confusion about what I was had extended to how to live what I was, but that clarity was dearly won. I would have benefited from models. Either sex could set me aflutter and I suspect that I could have made a life journey with one of either sex. The intimacy I

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Before the ambulance arrived

We went to a call for a woman in labor at an apartment complex. We were met by a four year old at the bottom of the stairs to a second story apartment. Silently, he led us through the open door of an apartment that was unfurnished except for a king size bed in the master bedroom. We asked the police officer who trailed us to watch the boy. In the middle of the bed was a young woman of remarkable composure given the circumstances. She was pushing, and I asked her to try to stop until we w

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Combat

The practice is not about eastern philosophical mumbo-jumbo or moral education, yet both happen. The practice is about combat. When I practiced with the old men, no confusion or internal argument clouded their actions. These compassionate and loving men would destroy in an instant. Here was the example experienced. Avoid combat, but once joined, someone dies. If your partner in this dance disengages or can no longer dance, then combat avoided. But, while joined, the roles were set; they w

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Water from another time

In the mid-1950s when I was seven or eight, we lived on a dead end street that stopped at a creek bed. The garbage trucks would head down the street, nose-in, and then turn around in the driveway of the last house before heading back out. The crews were made up of a white supervisor who drove and two black men who handled the garbage. In the hot Florida summers, they often waited after turning around, and took a short break in the shade. The driver would remain in the cab with its fan while

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Persistence

One day when I was thirteen, during teisho, the old man, even then universally admired, recounted Okazaki Teruyuki’s definition of the relationship between teacher and student. Okazaki-sama said, “Student here (indicating his knees), teacher here (indicating his head), no steps (indicating the space between).” I told the old man that I had no notion that I could reach his level of skill, and that I imagined that he had been a prodigy. He told me that many of his fellow students were more tale

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Ple-ize, stop!

I write to you on behalf of a dear old friend near death in a shabby linguistic hospital ward for the aged, replaced by a newer, longer, less precise but more scientific sounding, and newer version. . . . the short words are the best, and the old words, when short, are best of all. — Winston Churchill (Speech on receiving the London Times Literary Award, November 2, 1949, Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches) Use use, do not utilize utilize.

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Fire and Rain

The first two fires I attended were in the rain. After the Fire Academy and three weeks of department training I was a probie in the cab of a ladder truck, seated between the driver and the officer, headed to my first fire. I experienced a little boy’s delight as I worked the electronic siren. As we approached, the single story house’s roof was collapsing, a dark hole spreading from the center of the fire’s first penetration through the shingles. The engine companies had matters in hand, and

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Tuning

At the University of South Florida, in the small gymnasium, on a platform draped with hand-woven rugs and supporting pots of burning incense, Shankar and Allarakha sat and began to play. Lines of raga and percussion pierced me. After a few minutes, the music stopped; the crowd applauded wildly. Shankar smiled toward Allarakha and said, “Thank you. If you liked the tuning so much, we hope you enjoy the concert.” The tabla playing that evening was virtuous, and like lightning striking. Try t

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The Standard Model

At the Hilton for a charity event with silent auction. Of all that I do in my present tired and cranky state, public socializing is most taxing. But, I know the organizers and I support their work. They'll help Ann later, so I feel obliged. I don't drink and never have, a nod to my passion for control, but now I couldn't even if I wanted to change a lifetime habit. Ann has four or five of these events around the holidays and begged off. I circulated, receiving greetings from acquaintances

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Someone always wants you dead

I warned you I'd get back to it. A number of people want me dead. I think the number has decreased over my lifetime, but still, quite a few people are in that company. They don’t just want to make my life miserable; they would really prefer I suffer a painful death. I don’t have enough economic value as a possession to warrant keeping me in servitude. Death is the solution because I may be a vector. Many of them wouldn’t publicly condemn me to death or directly participate in the killing

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Shoot me an email

I'll get back to death soon. I promise. And now for something completely different: I’ve decided to use email only in the most extreme instances of inability to communicate with people in my building by other means. I've taken to walking down the corridors in the prairie dog warren where I work. Three or four minutes of attention and conversation between a colleague and me are both more satisfying and more effective than a chain of emails. Mind you, i still churn out more emails than I'd l

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It's hard enough for two

I've managed a lot of enjoyment and some pain in trying to figure out how to live happily, both socially and sexually, as a bisexual man. Early on, I tried threesomes, and while a triad provided a lot of advantages during sex, the social situation was almost always fraught. Often, each of my partners thought of himself or herself as having a primary relationship with me. I found trying to behave as if a primary couple existed within the little menage stressful, and eventually one or both part

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Glowing in the dark

This morning I'm not working because I'm going for a bone scan. Early in the morning I'll find my way to the basement of the nuclear medicine building where I'll be injected intravenously with a slightly radioactive soup that has a preference for accumulating in bone. Then about noon, I'll go back to be scanned back and front from head to toe with a gamma camera. Areas where the tumor is growing will light up brightly. Here's the fun part: Since this is by now a regular ritual, tomorrow my

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One and a half dollar bill

When we were in our twenties and first involved with each other, Ann told a number of her friends that I was bisexual. The friends were deeply concerned for her. The chief concern, because they doubted that bisexual men actually existed, was that I must be gay and trying to pass. Over the years and well after we married, she heard the concern so often that by the mid-eighties she developed a standard response that went like this: Checks against stereotype: Look at how he dresses! He sure a

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