Wendy & Lisa came along about five years too soon to catch the lesbian pop-duo wave, but they kicked serious ass. (Why else would Prince give them credit for co-writing songs with him?)
I love this video--it's a great tune and a reminder that Wendy really could be pretty when she wanted to be.
Have a great weekend, and keep on dancin'.
PS: Jimbo, this one's for you...
Breakfast, 1971. It looks like my mom and I are having coffee cake, which was something she often made (though not as often as her banana bread).
I seem to be just picking at my food. Like many four-year-olds, I wasn't a particularly enthusiastic eater. If you were to examine the back of the ugly yellow chair behind us, you would find numerous little cuts that I used to make with my table knife when my mom wasn't looking. It was my way of protesting the injustice of having to sit at the table until I had finished my meal.
I wasn't much older than this when my mom first started letting me help her with her baking. I clearly remember her showing me how to separate eggs, beat the whites into fluffy peaks, and then carefully fold in the beaten whites into a batter without deflating them. (Separating the eggs was beyond me for a few years, but I was a natural at folding from the get-go.)
It was in this cramped little kitchen that I invented my own version of the Fruit Roll-Up by pouring a glass of orange juice into an 8x8 pan and baking it until was a brownish orange scum. I remember my mom advising me that orange juice might not bake up well, but her caution was misplaced--I peeled off my "orange cake" in jiggly strips and ate them with delight.
As adult, my cooking skills exceeded my mother's by quite a margin. I suppose that's the destiny of most gay sons. Today, though, when I recall that awful mess of orange pulp adhered to a battered tin baking pan, I realize that my mom was teaching me an important culinary lesson: it's okay to experiment and take chances with your cooking.
When I was an adult, I returned the favor by introducing her to using fresh garlic instead of garlic powder, ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese in her lasagna, and tuna steaks instead of Chicken of the Sea. (I never could never convince her to leave the tuna even a tiny bit rare inside, though. She was far too Irish to believe such a thing was sane.)
Oh well, at least she was brave enough to eat "orange cake" baked by a deranged toddler.
I always dreaded the start of the new school year, but I loved the start of the US Open night tennis matches. For the solid ten days, there would be great tennis matches to watch on TV every night. Focusing on Stefan Edberg's perfect backhand, volleys, and thighs helped quash my depression as summer vacation dwindled down to its last golden hours.
Now that summer is just a season like any other, and not an enchanted period of freedom from classes and homework, I don't really mind seeing it end. With the first crisp air of fall already greeting me in the mornings on my way to work, my thoughts turn to US Open tennis.
Monday night's opening ceremony was a mix of the touching and the kitschy, but I particularly loved seeing the large assembly of past champions who gathered to honor and be honored at the event.
Here's sampling of images that caught eye (for good or ill).
Andy Roddick (who will probably never own another Grand Slam title other than his lone victory at Flushing Meadow) proved that he looks good even when his treasure trail isn't showing.
(My, he's a strappin' big lad isn't he?)
Venus Williams appeared to be auditioning for a starring role is some low-budget Lifetime channel Diana Ross biopic. (If you focus hard enough on the picture, you'll actually see her radius and ulna!)
Serena Williams was gracious enough to stop by on her way to turn tricks at rest-stops along the NJ Turnpike. (Love the... shoes? Is that what we're calling those things on her feet?)
John McEnroe caused an slightly awkward scene when he proposed marriage to Roger Federer. Swiss through and through, Roger remained neutral.
And for anyone who watched the ceremony, how amazing did Gabriela Sabatini look? Sure she was a one-Slam wonder who spun in her first serves at 45 mph and probably wouldn't even crack the top 100 today, but damn she's stunning in retirement.
But do you think the lame US Open website posted even one picture of her from the opening ceremony?!? What gives? So to right that wrong, here's a fairly representative shot of Gabi. (See Serena, there's looking like a hooker, and then there's looking like an escort.)
I think of Sabatini as the proto-Anna Kournikova: an athlete of striking physical beauty who was also a huge (if still ultimately underachieving) success at her sport. Anna proved that you don't need to win a single tournament to get the big endorsements, but Gabi was old school--she won twenty seven titles in her career.
Don't misunderstand my affection for Gabi. I'm still so very, very gay. But Sabatini---well she confuses me just a wee bit, and besides, I'm always a sucker for a beautiful one-handed backhand.
I don't think I'm the only one who feels confused by Gabi's charms--even that home-wrecking, sun-damaged floozy Chris Evert couldn't resist groping Gabi's sculpted arms as they greeted each other Monday night. (Martina and Billy Jean were probably dizzy with lust.)
Now, just to prove I haven't completely lost my bearings, we'll close with a palate-cleansing pic of Marat Safin practicing on the grounds of the National Tennis Center.
Ahhhh, Marat. So smokin' hot, yet so rarely victorious...
When my German friends write to me about Fasching, their counterpart to New Orleans' Mardi Gras or Brazil's Carnival, I sometimes feel envious that Minnesota doesn't have some yearly fun-fest to enjoy.
Today as I was passing one of the many park-and-ride stations that spring up this time of year, I realized (silly me!) that we do in fact have something like that--the Minnesota State Fair, or as it's traditionally billed, The Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Alas, I don't really care for the state fair. (Not that I really think I'd enjoy Mardi Gras--in fact I know I'd hate it. Fasching, though, is about my speed. Drunken revelry, but at a measured German pace.)
To many Minnesotans, including good friends of mine, expressing even disinterest in the fair borders on heresy. Were I to add that I find the fair stressful and tedious, I could very well find myself impaled most indelicately, dipped in batter and deep-fried: WG on a stick.
So, um, I won't say that.
It may surprise you then, that I do have a sentimental attachment to the fair. It just so happens that the first day I spent time with Darren was at the state fair, eleven years ago.
A group of gay chaps, none of whom I knew very well at the time, had invited me to meet them for Sunday brunch (naturally) and then stroll the fairgrounds for a few hours.
When he called to invite me, the organizer of the outing had hinted strongly that Darren and I might get along well. Over brunch, I sat near him and found him to be a very charming young fellow. (He was twenty-four at the time.) After brunch, we all hopped on to the bus to ride to the fair, and I smoothly finagled myself a seat next to Darren for the short ride through St. Paul.
We struck up a conversation that lasted all day. By the time we parted late that afternoon, I was well on my way to being smitten. (It took Darren a little longer to figure things out, but he was young, and I'm a patient and persistent WG.)
A year later, when we were a couple, Darren and I decided to head back to the fair to commemorate that first day together. We quickly realized that neither of us could stand the crowds and the heat, so we ate some fried cheese curds and left after an hour.
So The Great Minnesota Get-Together will always be an important part of our personal history.
We keep its memory sacred by staying far, far away.
For the last few years, I've tended to avoid series television (I hate having to keep up all the episodes, even with TiVo to help), but lately Darren and I have started watching Heroes on DVD. It's another party I'm arrivimg at late.
And it totally rocks.
All my life I have fantasized about finding out that I have hidden powers that only need to be coaxed out and trained to turn me into some kind of super-being. You know--like Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, or Will Stanton in The Dark is Rising series. All that ever awoke in me was a whole lotta gay, and last time I checked, that's not a super-power. (Well, at least not in my case.)
Heroes, if you haven't watched it, is like a lower-budget, better written version of The X-Men. A group of misfit mutants with powers they don't fully understand band together to help each other fight another mutant who is trying to slay them, one by one.
It's smart, and it's fun, and it's creepy. That's a rare combo on TV these post-Buffy days.
And, best of of all, my girls Wendy & Lisa do the music for show. Oh, and there's a lot of cute guys in the show. So check it out, if you haven't already.
Happy Friday to you all. Rest up, be naughty, and I'll have more for you next week.
Hi kids. I've had an endless, stressful day, and I have no energy left to write. So, instead of words, I offer a video post.
I hope you enjoy this hilarious spoof by Dawn French, of French & Saunders fame.
Dawn as Björk
It's no mansion, but I never dreamed back when I was a Princeton grad student making $8000 a year that I would ever have a home like this.
The weird thing is that I still think of this as "the new house," even though we've lived here almost as long as we lived in our house in south Minneapolis.
We loved the liberal, slightly quirky neighborhood we lived in, just a ten minute walk from Lake Harriet, and our story-and-a-half cottage was cute and cozy.
It was also nearly 100 years old, and like all old houses, it was a case study in entropy and decline. There was something that always needed to be fixed, reattached, patched, or creatively concealed. We aren't handy in the least, and sadly, owning house didn't spur us to develop new skills in home repair.
Hudson enjoyed having a fenced yard to race about in, but Darren and I were about as keen on yard-work as we were skilled at plumbing. (Fortunately, none of neighbors really tended their lawns very well, either, so we weren't "those lazy homos with the bad yard.")
When we decided that wanted a larger newer house, staying in Minneapolis wasn't an option (unless we won the lottery), so we moved to the suburbs. The usual story, I know.
Apart from the greater prevalence of hated W stickers on SUV's, I didn't mind the change that much. It wasn't as if Darren and I had left some gritty, edgy urban existence--mostly we went to work and came home to little Hudson. On the weekends, we went out places.
That hasn't really changed. Instead of a ten minute drive to reach downtown Minneapolis, it now takes twenty minutes or a little more, and downtown St. Paul is even closer. I can deal with that to have an additional 1200 square feet and REAL closets in every bedroom.
Since we moved to a townhouse, we also eliminated the detested yard work. Ooh, and shoveling--can't forget shoveling snow when you living in Minnesota!
The week we moved into this house was incredibly stressful. Moving is always hellish, but to compound things exponentially, while we were ubpacking boxes, my mother's health was rapidly failing, and over the last weeks of August I got increasingly frequent and every more grim calls from my father about her condition.
It makes me sad that she never got to visit the house, but she did see pictures, and one our last conversations was was about whether I should buy a taller Christmas tree to take advantage of the two story ceiling in the living room. (I did, and she would have loved it.)
One of Darren's and my favorite features of the house is its location on the water. We love sitting out on the deck and watching the geese and ducks paddle past. There are often turtles, deer, and other interesting critters that stroll by to drive Hudson into bouts of insane barking.
Here's the view from our back deck. I love all the green, but I especially love the pond.
You'd hardly know we live just off a very busy four-lane street, nestled up against the interstate.
And here's the lord of the manner, wondering why Daddy is taking pictures of the house when he should be providing an expansive lap to sleep on.
The four years have really flown by, and we have loved every minute of the time we've spent here. I can't imagine why we would ever leave this house.
On the other hand... lately we have been hearing the siren call of the urban lofts along the Mississippi...
Maybe when Hudson starts college.
Attention everybody! I'm gonna show you a brand new dance.
It's called The walk, the walk, just let your body talk 'til you're deep in a trance.
You don't need no partner, you can walk all alone.
Whenever you feel the groove just let your body move, walkin' to a beat of your own.
- The Time, The Walk
In addition to encouraging you to go check out Morris Day's sexy-cool vibe on a 1982 funk classic, this is my subtle way of informing you that I will be availing myself of the "walk" option in the ovarian cancer walk/run fundraiser I'm doing next month.
You see, I'm lame. And I mean that literally, as well as figuratively.
After each day that I train by doing some SLOW jogging to train for the 5K, I have three or four days of pain in my left ankle that has me hobbling like a 90-year-old and is bad enough to wake me up in the night.
Don't they say that pain is your body's way of saying "STOP what you're doing?" Well, unless "they" are the Marines, in which case pain is "weakness leaving the body." I'm not a Marine, so I'm going to listen to my body and stop.
I really did want want to do the run again, but I don't think my mom would want to see me spend the fall in a cast (or an iron lung for that matter).
The central points remain the same.
PS: What's the last blog you visited that quoted Morris Day and Nancy Sinatra in the same post? I'm surprised it happened, too.
You see, it appears that I forgot my blogiversary--for the second year in a row!
Such bad form, right? (And normally I have an amazing head for dates!)
Anyway, I have now marked August 3 on my calendar as the official birthday of WoolGatherer. We've just passed the two year mark together--675 posts.
I have to say I'm pretty pleased with where the blog is right now. Since I started my new job (one year ago yesterday) it has gotten much harder to find the time to put posts together. But I think that cranking out four or five little essays a week has sharpened my writing chops in the last two years.
Or maybe I'm just delusional, and I'm spiraling ever downward into total unreadable gibberish.
Either way, thank you for reading, and I'll do my best keep you coming back for more in year three!
PS: Hearty congratulations to Going 40, where the one year blogiversary has arrived week!
The Chris Isaak concert last night was every bit as good as I'd expected. (Although, alas, I didn't get to shake his firm manly hand this time.) I tell ya, that fine-lookin' man can still hit the high notes. (That's right George Michael--I said it! I totally went there!)
We had great seats with a perfect view, despite the fact that these pictures make it seem like we were two miles away. Trust me, that's him in the middle.
(Okay, clearly I didn't buy the iPhone for the quality of its camera.)
If Chris comes to your town, pay the $66 to see him. He puts on a hell of a show.
That may sound like a strange venue, but in fact it's a wonderful place to see a show. There are perhaps 2000 seats, and the stage is set is nestled against lake shore. Chris will take the stage as the sun sets across the water.
Oddly enough, it's almost exactly a year since I saw him perform a wonderful show. (And I got to meet him afterward!) That concert took place the same day that I gave my notice at US Bank after accepting the job offer from my current employer.
As it happens, today is also the one year anniversary of starting my new job.
I guess the stars are aligning in some way. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.
What a wicked game you play,
I haven't written much about my preparations for my 5K fundraiser. [At least my donation page is more accessible, now though.]
That's because there hasn't been much to talk about. I bought the ugly running shoes, and then I sort of stalled out when it came to doing the running part.
With August nearly half over and September 13 looming, last week I finally got myself into gear and started training by jogging near my home.
Wow does it suck. I had forgotten how much I hate running. My body is deeply offended by it somehow.
It's pretty embarrassing to admit, especially when I have friends preparing for a marathon, that running a mere 5K seems nearly impossible to me. I've done it before, so I know I can do it again, but nonetheless I often think that I will literally croak before I reach that 3.2 miles.
The amazing thing is that as much as I dread putting on my running shoes and heading out the door, I am making progress.
Tortuous, miserable progress.
I'm running about three times farther at a stretch this week than I could last week. My body never stops feeling like an enormous leaden weight that I have to drag forward step by laborious step, but each time I head out on my carefully measured training course, I find that I can haul my bulk a bit farther.
I'm not quite sure if I'm progressing at a rate that will have me ready to run the full 5K in a month, but I would like to make it most of the route without having to walk too much.
I know that the real point of doing the 5K is to raise money for cancer research, but I don't want to look like a complete tool, either.
I'll keep you posted.
Yesterday I received a very kind email from another vice president who was also part of the difficult project I am just wrapping up.
He told me that he understood full well how much tact, diplomacy, and superhuman patience it took for me to deal with his pushy peer without shrieking obscenities into the phone. (Okay, he never mentioned obscenities, but I know he was thinking about that possibility.)
In addition to thanking me in the warmest possible terms for my hard work, this particular (sane, professional) VP also sent me a really nice token of his gratitude, a $250 Amazon gift certificate.
Honestly, I was stunned by his generosity. Just having this awful mess of a project behind me was in itself worth more than gold. I never hoped for more than the long overdue end to the aggravation. Getting some cold hard cash was mighty fine with me.
So I needs to do me some shoppin' on Amazon this weekend. I already have my iPhone and plethora of accessories for it. What new frivolous goody should I buy now?
Have a great weekend!
It's not that I'm a completely new person; I haven't developed a taste for smooching the ladies, for example.
There has been no horrifying metamorphosis into a cockroach or a Republican.
I haven't started worshiping Satan (nope, I'm stickin' with Baal, thanks), but I still often have brief out-of-body moments where I find myself wondering "When the hell did I starting doing that??"
For example, last week at work, while working on a really nasty, messy project, I told a pushy, rude, micro-managing vice president that she was being pushy and rude (though I phrased it more diplomatically than that), and that I couldn't work productively with her unless she changed how she dealt with me (i.e. don't spam me with 60 emails a day when only five of them pertain to my role).
And, amazingly she changed her behavior! Moreover, she even apologized to me in a fairly public way. Don't get me wrong--she's remains a hyper-annoying boil on the buttocks of my day--but I drew a line in the sand, and she's generally refrained from crossing it. In fact lately, she's barely been in touch at all, and that's just fine with me, especially now that our incredibly stressful (yet stupefyingly dull) project is drawing to its long-awaited, tedious conclusion.
In my old job, where I rarely had much of anything to do, I could generate enormous anxiety about having to make a single phone call related to a project. (I'm not kidding, I could.) And now I'm telling VP's that I don't have time to deal with their crap if they want their project done on time.
Do I like it?
Damn right I do.
Okay, I know this is a bit of a cop-out, but I'm very tired and low on inspiration tonight. I'm also vaguely down in the dumps for some reason, and I don't feel much like writing.
To cheer myself up and to amuse you, I'm posting two more videos from That Mitchell and Webb Look. I just saw these two clips for the first time the other day. I think you'll agree that they dovetail nicely together.
The Bad Vicar
The Bad Waiter
Hoping to feel more creative tomorrow,
Some of you will recall that several years I ago I ran in the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance's Silent No More Walk/Run fundraiser.
Well, on September 13 I'll put on my running shoes again
and make my slow way three times around lovely Lake Cornelia
while real runners fly past me at twice my pace. (Depending how my bum ankle holds up, I may end up walking, but I'll do my best to be brisk about it.)
I'm participating in this event in memory of my mother, Ann Dilley, who lost her life to ovarian cancer on August 30, 2004.
In some ways, my mother's story was one of atypical good fortune; her initial diagnosis and surgery took place in 1994, and she had ten healthy years before her cancer's aggressive recurrence in May of 2004. Just four months later, at age 60, she lost her struggle with the disease.
My family and I will always be grateful for those ten years, just as we'll always mourn the fact that we weren't given many more years with my mother.
I'm reaching out today to ask for your donations as I participate in this fundraiser. I know that many of you already donate to other worthy charities, but any amount you can pledge toward my effort will be greatly appreciated.
Any money that you donate is tax deductible, and you can submit your donation through this secure web site:
or if you prefer, download the PDF form, fill it out and mail it in with your donation.
(I also encourage you to take advantage of any matching gift programs your employer may offer.)
I'm truly grateful for any help you can offer.
I've had an exceedingly stressful week, and I'm very low on creative juices tonight.
So, instead of dazzling you with my pithy prose, I'm going to ask you a rather personal question. (Haven't we been friends long enough now?)
The Question: How many people do you encounter in an average day (friends, strangers, coworkers, anybody) who make you think:
"Oh dear Lord in heaven, I must have sex with that person NOW."
Of course, you don't need to say those exact words. Perhaps you just let out some little gasp, quiet moan, low growl, or Nancy-boy nonsense phrase. Those all count, too.
I propose that today, Friday, we keep a mental tally (or use Post-It and a pen if it's easier) of such lust-inspiring specimens. Then next week, I'll do a follow-up post, and those of us who feel comfortable sharing can report back our numbers. Boys and girls, gay, straight and undecided--it's fun for the whole family!
For the sake of our contest, let's set the time frame as follows: a twelve hour sampling of our day. (I know that some of you will be out at the bars tonight, and that will throw off our results.)
My sense, and I think Darren would agree with me on this point, is that my headcount (as it were) will be unnaturally high. As in WAY high.
I'm not sure if it was my Catholic school years, or what, but I've got constantly roaming eyes, and they find so, so much to delight them.
It's most distracting. And as I get older, the--ahem--urges only get stronger.
When we were researching Border Terriers before we bought Hudson, we read that the breed's drive to chase prey only gets stronger with age.
It seems the same can be said of me. Neither Hudson nor I actually chase prey, of course (he being leashed and I being married), but we can both work ourselves into quite a state when we see it pass by.
Anyway, I'm just curious if I'm as bad off as I think I am, or are there others of you out there who harbor unchaste thoughts for the duration of your day, too.
So next week, we'll meet again with our numbers, and I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
And then we can all judge each other.
Or maybe we'll all feel comforted that we've truly found community here at WoolGatherer.
Either way, it should be fun.
Now, before I head to work, I need to find the electronic row counter in my knitting bag.
WoolGatherer claims no rights to the images of models posted on this blog. If the owner(s) of the respective images do not wish for their work to be displayed on this site, the photos will be removed upon emailed request.
All opinions expressed on this blog, no matter how ridiculous or perverse, are solely those of the author.