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Thursday, November 27, 2014


Dear Vaulties-

May all of you have a happy Thanksgiving and survive the annual familial dysfunction, acid reflux, embarrassing drunkenness (and attendant convulsive vomiting), and — most of all — the horrendous three-hour commercial that is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year I am once again dateless and stuck at my mom's, but she's 81 and pretty much alone, so I'll take one for the team. I'll be back in Brooklyn soon enough...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I just got back from doing some errands and while waiting for the bus to pick me up when I got started, I sat on the bus stop bench next to a casually-dressed woman who was maybe sixty. She stared at me for a few moments and then asked, "Mister, could you give me some money so I can buy Chinese food?" Then the wind shifted and I was nearly knocked over by her powerful stench, a potent blend of B.O. and stale Port Authority-style ammonia piss. I politely told her I did not carry cash and then I got up to pretend to look and see if the bus were coming, but in actuality I got up to remove myself from her toxic miasma. I was actually relieved to end up standing next to some Cugine who was merrily puffing away on a Marlboro. And upon being politely denied a handout, the woman's attitude changed and she denounced me as a "motherfucker" and a "white man's nigger." Ah, the rich pageant of humanity...

In marked counterpoint to my experience with the redolent beggar-lady at the bus stop, on the way back from my errands I stopped in at a local boutique, Beacon's Closet, to visit its co-owner, my friend and fellow tokusatsu junkie, Adrian. He was not in today but on the way out I saw a young trans kid who was maybe around 20 years old. The kid's wardrobe was boldly gender-divided right down the middle, with the right half being a ratty, frilly dress and drawn-on fishnets (with the line down the back drawn on in green Sharpie), while the right side was straight-up old school punk with plaid pants. The look was completed with liver-colored Doc Martens and a beat-up leather jacket with band names scrawled all over it, and the kid rocked a black Mohawk, neatly-trimmed beard and 'stache, and black lipstick and eyeliner. I was struck by just how cool all of that was, especially in a place as sickeningly trendy as Park Slope, plus to say nothing of simply being balls-out brave as fuck, so I tapped the kid on the shoulder. The kid turned to see me, a big black dude dressed in black from head to toe and draped in black leather, so a bit of trepidation was facially registered. I then said "I have to tell you, your look is fucking BRILLIANT. Just thought you should hear it and know that your bravery is both respected and admired, and I say that as an aging old school punk and misfit of society." The kid's face broke into an ear-to-ear grin, complete with "I've been touched" tears of happiness starting to well up, and I was responded to with a heartfelt "Thank you!" (I would have taken a photo but I did not want to come off as a possible cruiser for freaks who would post the shot online in a transphobic screed of some sort. Still, the look was absolutely worth chronicling for posterity.)

Thursday, November 06, 2014


I'd recently had it on my mind, so I dug around through my apartment's stacks and unearthed THE ROMANTIC FLOWER (1990) for a long-overdue read. At first glance it appears to be a standard European erotic graphic novel, perhaps a Milo Manara knockoff, that might be read and swiftly forgotten among the legion of such material, but this effort rises above the pack by virtue of its truly gorgeous art and a touching, lyrical story. The titular character is an anthropomorphic bit of flora that learns to adore the Earth and its inhabitants thanks to being influenced by and participating in acts of human sexuality. Though technically X-rated in content, the story is never offensive and the sexual encounters are never portrayed in a less-than-warm and positive light. In fact, it's downright sweet and has a truly feel-good tone throughout, even when its surprisingly downbeat ending hits. (The plant does not die but events take a quite unexpected turn...) 

Highly recommended, plus it makes a great gift for those who won't be put off by its frank (but utterly charming) nature, so pick up a copy. (Used copies are available on Amazon for very reasonable prices.)