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Jol's New York Minutes
is a fictionalized account
of one man's (sur)reality.
Thanks to Todd Payne for assistance.


breaking news:


November 5, 2009
Open Letter to President Obama

(Feel free to copy this and send it on to the President if you agree with me that this war is stupid and needs to end now.)

Thanks again for all your hard work on behalf of the American people. Your work in restoring our republic's image abroad is much appreciated.

I am writing today to urge you to take the next logical step in the advancement of our country's greatness, namely to end the war in Afghanistan and throw your weight behind a diplomatic solution for that country's civil war. For too long we have been bogged down in this quagmire, and the thought of its stretching out indefinitely is absolutely sickening.

I helped elect you because I believed you would end the wars begun by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. It is hard to find a better argument against the twin wars currently being waged on your watch than the fact that Bush and Cheney started them. Nevertheless, there are many practical reasons besides that, such as the fact that we're being sucked into a 35-year-old foreign civil war with no apparent hope of achieving success; that our real enemies are somewhere else entirely; that our presence in Afghanistan helps our enemies' recruitment efforts; and that too many of our young people are dying for too abstract a cause, with too few positive results to show for it.

I helped send you to the White House because I believed in your intelligence, broad-mindedness, and commitment to peace. I voted for you because I believed you could clean up the mess of the G.W. Bush years.

If not you, then who? Who else will have the courage to end this war? To whom would you leave that decision? And who else would have the integrity to make it?

You are the great hope of the American people. Please don't let us down, sir. Please step out in front of history and do what you must know in your heart is the right thing. For your legacy to be one of war mongering rather than one of peace making would be truly tragic.

Sure, the military industrial complex will be upset by any moves to end the war, but that's another great reason to end it.

And just imagine: when the soldiers came home they could partake of a new program that you could institute whereby servicemen were trained to build and roll out the green infrastructure. You could transform the paradigm of the U.S. armed forces by putting them to work in the service of earth itself. Truly there is no greater cause or better way to demonstrate positive leadership in the world; surely there is no better application of our might or opportunity to redeem our sullied reputation. For too long we have been the world's bully; now let us be the earth's greatest friend and advocate.

Sir, please consider this as an alternative to a truly ill-conceived war that is only increasing anti-Americanism in the world and reinforcing the worst preconceptions held about us by the world's citizens.

Thank you.

Unsung Heroes Dept.

Cleaning Up after the Marathon

November 1, 2009, approximately noon: a city worker picks up green cups from the street.

"Is this from last night?" I ask, perplexed by the uniformity of the trash (it's comprised entirely of green cups, which would be unusual for Halloween trash, which is quite diverse usually).

"It's from the marathon," she says. "Did you sleep through it?" she asks in surprise.


Mary and Joseph Ascending

October 31, 2009, approximately 2 A.M.: On Halloween night a reasonable approximation of Mary and Joseph of the Bible were spotted ascending the stairs.

Besides the two of them, I witnessed a fair share of Ghostbusters, a whole lot of Michael Jacksons, a delightful Curious George and Man with the Big Yellow Hat. The other in my party witnessed many Fridas, but I kept missing her.

I think it's wonderful to see these mythic people going by, like to see a reasonable approximation of Frida walking along is kind of beautiful. I only caught her out of the corner of my eye one time, and it was out a subway window while she walked on the platform.

There's also something a little menacing and scary about the night. There's a wildness in the air. I guess it's Satan.

october 20, 2009
Containing Jol's Drinking Equation

You had one of those nights. One of those nights where you go to Splurge and forget your own personal rule of having only two, You know exactly how it will unfold before it even happens because it's happened a million times: the first two make you feel good and can result in a pleasant subway ride home and a good night's sleep with no repercussions in the morning. But after the third one, you are pretty much guaranteed a slight hangover the next day and had better drink a few glasses of water before falling out. And you should never, ever have four. There is no escaping near-absolute death the next day. But it's hard to just have three, to draw the line at that crucial tipping point, because the drinks are two-for-one, which means you're buying them buy the twos, and since three is an odd number the third is necessarily accompanied by the fourth and you're loath to just waste that receipt that you need only hand to the bartender to receive number four.

It was one of those nights that you had four, and you know that you'll be feeling this all day. And you wake up and realize you failed to rinse with antiseptic before bed, and moreover you don't have any in the apartment. And so you rush off to Walgreens, where you discover the new Sharpie retractable pens and can't resist buying one--two, really, because they come in a package of two ($6), and some construction paper too ($2.50).

I read a great article about Ayn Rand in the New York magazine. She's so great. I wish I could meet her. She'd be at my fantasy dinner. It might just be her and me. But maybe she'd become tedious. I have spent a lot of time with her verbage. It took me a long time to read those two books. But still, she so perfectly created herself! You can't take that away from her.

P.S. I am still obsessed with Frank Black. Cubby Saint Frank Black.

A reading from The Philosophy of Charlie Danger
The point of true love, maybe: It just sort of IS, as opposed to being constructed and forced...Even in marriage it's probably a good idea to remember that the love is a totally separate thing from the marriage and it really needs tending. I think marriage can make people lazy in their love tending and then the love tends to die.

october 19, 2009
David De Mayo Day; The Birth of Joe California; VHS troubles up in here.

It's David De Mayo Day, and I already Facebooked him birthday wishes. He texted me something about the messiah's birth being recreated in 1979, but he spelled it "mosia" and for five minutes I didn't know what the hell that meant..

Made great time coming back on the subway (1 to Times Square to Q) from uptown after the weekend upstate. How come everything they do is up and everything I do is down? Downtown, downriver, down boro, downwind, down comforter.

i love that house. it's my new favorite retreat house. i had the room with the long skinny bed (the length of a queen, the width of a full).

So for the first time in my life I made it into a New York gay rag, the last surviving weekly at the moment, as far as I know, Next. I was so happy to see that great photo. I kind of had a hunch they'd use it. Even at the time I said, "Tomer get on my shoulders because they never have photos where people are doing anything nutty like that, so they'd really have to use it." And Tomer agreed and got up on my shoulders. The rest is gay history.

They called me Joe in the caption, which made me think that every line of silver has a cloud. But then I thought I should just make that a new character or alter ego, a man called joe california! and I will endeavor always to use the exclamation point at the end of his name, though it would like get me kicked off of facebook, even if the california alone didn't. my friend troy philadelphia got kicked off of facebook and philadelphia's his real last name.

i am sad because my VHS player/TV is dying. I put "Poison" in the other night for my neighbor friend, and the TV just turned itself off and began reeking of burning plastic. the tape appeared unharmed, but the Toshiba combo appears done for. And just when I was getting a great start on my VHS collection, thanks to my friend Bobby's donation of some great John Waters classics as well as Todd Haynes's "Poison" and 1976's "The Pink Panther Strikes Again." The VHS player was set to be the focal point of my room decor, my trusty fun gimmick. And my VHS collection was going to be the greatest ever, and I was going to keep them all in the varnished apple crate that I have up in here. I'm trying to say "up in here" whenever possible.

poem for today

cold as his shoulder

he nodded at me
not mistakenly,
a shunning
t. a smile's
vague threat
upon his mouth
and it was cold
as his shoulder
when he turned
his back.

cubby breaking news:

Orange Crescent Moon

August 24, 2009
Cubby Headquarters East to officially open. I think as soon as I get the new Beats from Brian Weaver I'll set the date. Tonight Nico texted, asking if I could see the moon. I texted back "If I go outside," and then I went outside and walked along the Parade Ground along Parkside Avenue. And I went and stood in the middle of Parkside like some maniac, because that's the only place I could see the moon. And it just happened to be level with the street, a big orange crescent, right down the road. And people were gathered at the parade ground looking at other things. And I told an older afrimerican guy in a truck about it. He was angry at first when I approached him--defensive, I guess--but when he realized I was talking about the moon he melted. It's right up the road, I said, when he said he hadn't seen it. He smiled and drove toward the moon.

Rhoda's Tip o' the Day:
when given black and white make a rainbow.

August 16, 2009

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64?" --Lennon/McCartney, '67

Well, the world still needs and the world still feeds Sir Paul McCartney, who's recently been spotted riding buses in new york city and having fun exchanges with startled localitstas.

And so, with that the Cubby Department of Observations, after months of soul-searching and painstaking negotiating, seemed finally convinced that it was time to bestow Cubby sainthood upon Sir Paul McCartney.

It was a well-qualified matter for the holdouts, some of whom felt that Sir Paul should have to give up his Sir in order to wield the title Cubby Saint. Apparently there was some concern that "Saint Sir Paul" would be a little too much. But this concern seems to have abated since the rather opinion-shattering episode of Sir Paul's bus hopping was reported last week.

"The bus hopping really changed minds and changed the general cubby observer's perception of Sir Paul," said Roderick Haribrux, Cubby cunning linguist and publicist. "I saw some clerics crying in doorways, comforted by their friends and fellow holdouts. They seemed sincerely repentant, as if for the first time in years they had allowed themselves an honest self-appraisement and had come to the conclusion that they had all their adult lives been wrong about Sir Paul. It seemed that the initial pain of recognition gave way to a self-forgiveness and then an all-out spell of ecstasy resulting from the newfound embrace of the works of Sir Paul.

The controversy began in October of 2007 when the clerics who voted unanimously to bestow official cubby sainthood upon John Lennon took up the question of whether Sir Paul should be so honored. In cubby saint regulations, all cubby saints can be either living or dead. Living saints are referred to as "extants." Extant cubby saints include Billy Joel, David Bowie, and Amy Sedaris.

"I always found the exclusion of Sir Paul to be a bit suspicious," said Jamie Nellyman, who said he has "several close associates" who are cubby clarics--jamie corrected me on this and said it's not "cubby cleric" but "cubby claric" and that the aim of the claric is to manifest clarity. "I think there were a lot of yellow balls who bought into the oldest fallacy in the book, the John-Paul dichotomy. They were brainwashed to be Paul haters and blindly believe that John's glory depended on Paul's bepoopment, a very unfortunate way of thinking indeed. It seems these guys very literally saw the light, though, after the bus-hopping."

After the decision to make Paul a saint was rushed through the Cubby Department of Observations 3rd Session of Congress late Friday night, after which a pizza party was had, talk began to percolate about Sir Paul's relative goodness. It was overwhelmingly agreed--perhaps the beer provided by Brenda helped to ferment the discussion--that Sir Paul was in every way the moral equal, if not better, of Saint John, and that when the full stew of reconciliation were appropriately digested the argument might even be made that Sir Paul is even better than Jesus, that after all Jesus has his shortcomings and Sir Paul, well, he didn't seem to have any.

While Sir Paul (the "saint" title won't be officially used until induction ceremonies to be held at Cubby Headquarters East later this month) was not officially given "better than Jesus" status, a subcategory of distinction linked to cubby sainthood, bestowed only on a very few, including Buddha and extants Pinback and Dolly Parton, talk was running high in favor of approving such a merit badge in legislative sessions coming up this week.

"We think this could come to a vote as early as this week," said cubby publicist Haribrux this morning. "Sir Paul could be cubby saint Paul by this time next weekend. It's really exciting for us in the cubby right now, what with the opening of cubby headquarters east and all this Paul revolution. It's Paul 'n' the City around here."

"There's something to said about longevity," Charlie Danger said in an interview at Cubby Headquarters East--Designate. "It doesn't take a genius to piss everyone off and get killed at 33. To live in this world and to engender the love and trust of everyone in the world for all your life, into your old years, that is to have succeeded. To master the slings and arrows of aging and to endure with grace and gravitas, the successive crushing blows that even the least eventful life delivers--that's what counts. That's what impresses me anyway."

July 27, 2009
9:25 AM

In which President Obama's skirmish with the Cambridge police is opined upon.

When we last saw President Obama, he had arguably lost his cool for the first time in recent political memory, calling--at the tail end of a press conference following a speech on the health care reform bill--the actions of a Cambridge police officer stupid. Those actions included the arrest of an elderly black professor, whose neighbors, who were apparently new in the neighborhood or who somehow had never noticed that they had a black man on their block, had erroneously reported a burglar at the professor's address after they'd witness him entering it. The professor was arrested for disorderly conduct in the midst of questioning by the Cambridge police officer. In other words, he sassed the police officer who, in error, had disturbed him at his home.

President Obama later further qualified and finessed his own remarks without apologizing for or disavowing them. He also personally involved himself in the attempts to reconcile the cop and the police man, reportedly extending invitations to the two men to meet at the White House. In short, his damage control efforts were well beyond what one might imagine necessary, in part because he happens to be a personal friend of the professor.

Nevertheless, right wingers continue to heap criticism on the president and to use his remarks to stir up racial tension, the main ingredient in their odious strategy to defeat the president's agenda and, more broadly, the president's presidency and the Democratic dominance of both houses of Congress.

The fact is, Mr. Obama is a tactful man who understands the delicate intricacies and intricate delicacies of diplomacy. Throughout his campaign I watched as this tiger of American politics was hemmed in by bigoted beltway jackals, who stood guard over his wife and him making sure that they exhibited no tendencies to sympathize with black people--an absurd expectation, to be sure, seeing as how they were black and all. And the candidate/president and his wife were and have been also under constant scrutiny in case they might inadvertently let slip any indication of having a temper or of wanting some couth or of being somehow not in all ways equal to or better than the white folks in the country, who are in all circumstances given the maximum benefit of the doubt and allowed and expected to behave as complete boors and miscreants at every turn.

And so the jackals waited. And finally the jackals had their opportunity. Obama had fallen into the trap.

For him to show such insensitivity to his fellow human beings as to modify the actions of the Cambridge police officer with the adverb "stupidly" illustrates once and for all, imply the jackals, that he was not the messiah after all and that he must be as racist as those who burn crosses and participate in lynch mobs. He must be a black supremacist, the jackals cry. Moreover, the fact that he would express an opinion on a sacred police matter--something hallowed, as it has to do with the enforcement of the law and all the fear-of-God mysteries that that implies--can only illustrate not only his want of professionalism and unfitness for the presidency but also his bias toward his fellow blacks and the imminent danger in this country of a Negro uprising! So warneth the jackals, as they rattle the cages of the already well unhinged.

Oh, beware, white men and ladies. This man is your worst nightmare, that black boogeyman made flesh, the jackals chant.

And he'll begin by calling the actions of a policeman stupid.

The reaction has been swift. Apologies have been demanded not only for Cambridge's Officer Crowley, whose incompetent handling of what should have been an easily cleared-up misunderstanding resulted in the wrongful arrest of the professor, but for all the country's policemen, whose self-esteem has been soundly dinged by the president's harsh word choice, as if the president were running a day-care center for emotionally needy toddlers.

But was the president wrong to speak so forcefully and unequivocally on the subject? Is it even possible to say?

There is, it seems to me, some objective truth left in this world. We don't discuss it much, as we've become accomplished at mining the nuances from beneath the surface of events. And that is largely to our credit, I think, and reflective of our evolution as a people. But I believe that there are times in this gray world when it's really possible to discern black and white from all the other colors and to really know the one from the other. And unless one's reality is permanently clouded by the hot air of obfuscation and semantic manipulation one can, even in this day and age, discover a few instances of objective truth.

Unfortunately, many Americans live permanently in that cloud of obfuscation and manipulation. The most obvious results of this type of living are the twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which was conceived in the cloud and prepared in the cloud and launched in the cloud and continues in the cloud to this very day.

Perhaps it is because of the president's intentional turn of a blind eye toward the past misdeeds of his predecessor in office that he leapt so quickly at the chance to call out an obvious truth when he recognized one. Since he has leashed and muzzled himself--and his justice department as far as possible--in an effort to leave the wrong assumptions and bad intelligence of his predecessor unexamined while continuing to conduct business in the haze of that predecessor's cloud, the opportunity to speak the truth to power in what seemed like a simple case, and one involving a personal friend, must have been irresistible.

And really, was he wrong to do so?

Why should it be taken as an article of faith that a policeman acting on an erroneous tip could in any way be in the right? The fact of the matter is that the entire realm of circumstances in which the policeman acted was predicated on the falsehood cooked up by the neighbor. It logically follows, I would think, that any subsequent actions taken by that officer acting within that realm of falsehood would run a high risk of being seriously flawed. Unless handled with supreme delicacy, a delicacy apparently wanting in Officer Crowley of the Cambridge police, any subsequent actions would almost certainly be intrinsically stupid, as they would be committed in support of a false assumption.

The fact that the professor was arrested at all is evidence of the mishandling of the case. Had the case been handled rightly the professor would have remained unbothered in his home, would not have been disturbed or pushed to a point of agitation. He would have been questioned in such a way that the tact of the officer would have been praised as the two men chuckled over the clear misunderstanding. But Officer Crowley lacked such people skills, evidently. And he demanded blind submission to his authority, deference to his power under the law, as if he were endowed with some divine right, some infallibility imparted to him by virtue of his badge and his gun.

But here's something it's important to keep in mind: If a man is in his home peacefully living his life he should have no obligation to tell the police the time of day. The police are not some supreme power, and they should not be treated as such. We the people have ceded way too much of our freedom to the police state, and the police have become mad with power and a dangerous sense of their own entitlement to authority, deference, and respect.

Let us never forget the supremacy of the citizen in the democracy and the fact that all other aspects of government are there to serve the needs of the individual and to protect that individual's rights. Any demand on an individual's attention against his will and without real cause is and should be considered an egregious violation of that individual's rights as an American, whether that individual is black or white. That is an objective truth. We should be allowed to live free of molestation in the homes that we have bought for ourselves, unobstructed in the lives we have built for ourselves.

And so in a case like this, when a demand has been made on an individual's attention, as in the case of the nutty cop and the black professor, if proof can not be established that such tax upon the individual's attention was merited, I would say that the wronged individual, namely he who was intimidated--in this case by an armed, dangerous officer of the law--while peaceably residing in his own home, all on the basis of a misunderstanding concocted between the armed officer and a third party whose involvement is not only totally indirect but also totally illegitimate, misinformed and misguided, all without the knowledge of the peaceable citizen homeowner, a.k.a. the professor, then I think what results is the violation of that individual's rights (the same rights that we, as Americans, profess to hold dear), and I think that in such a case it is incumbent upon the wrongdoers to admit their wrong, to apologize and make whatever reparations are called for.

For the Cambridge police to demand an apology from the president for calling their utterly inept actions "stupid" is akin to a restaurant's demanding an apology from a food critic for pronouncing a pot of feces stew "unappetizing" upon first bite.

It is heartening to me that the president, though he has completely failed in investigating or prosecuting the Bush administration, has managed to call a spade a spade in this particular instance. But that may also be why it's proven to be such a rallying point for the jackals and why they've been able to use this instance to eclipse the president's agenda and make it appear as if this off-the-cuff remark actually represents the president's priorities.

This strange outburst of truth comes at a time when the wrongdoing of the powerful is expected to be overlooked, in a climate in which a thick layer of denial covers the realities of public life and Obama has seemingly agreed to march in step with that denial and to propagate it.

The truth is often disgusting. It can be unpleasant. And as the Fonz illustrated, it isn't always easy to apologize for one's mistakes. And yet to construct a culture predicated upon denying one's mistakes is to obliterate the human spirit and any beauty of which it is potentially capable.

Bush and Cheney relied on bad intelligence to lead the country into a war that has caused hundreds of thousands of totally unjustifiable deaths. That is a hideous fact. That is a disgusting reality. That is an inglorious turd of a truth.

The Cambridge police harassed a man in his own home. Absent any truth to the allegations concocted by the neighbor and acted upon--stupidly--by the Cambridge police, this harassment was an absolute violation of that individual's freedom. To call it anything else or to obfuscate the facts of the case by focusing on anything other than the objective truth, that ultimately the man was in his own home minding his own business, pursuing his own happiness, enjoying his own liberty while living his own life, is to compromise too much of our freedom to the forces of totalitarianism, to cede too many of our rights to the forces that we, the people, pay to protect those rights.

The Cambridge police are not babies. And even if they were, they would not necessarily be entitled to our absolute deference and positive regard at all times.

The police should not control us; we should control the police. They should not dictate our actions; we should dictate theirs. We should not defer to them; they should defer to us. When these precepts are violated our democracy is raped.

For President Obama, perhaps the time to act decisively has come. Perhaps this foray into the realm of truth and the profession of it will help him see through the other clouds that he has willfully failed to penetrate. Maybe the lesson for him is that you can't have it both ways, that if you agree to ignore the truth and obfuscate facts you compromise your authority to stand up and speak the truth. Maybe it's time to tear down all the lies, to blow away all the clouds, to separate the blacks and whites from the grays.

July 6, 2009
8:04 PM

In which I painstakingly detail my efforts to enlist in the Early Bird swim program for summer 2009.

I return home to my new-to-me one-bedroom apartment, where I have moved just recently, on the 17th of last month, to be precise, in the pursuit of my happiness and my productivity. I had lived here in this new place only ten days before I was called back to the brownstone whose top floor I shared with N for about four years, give or take a year, and the entirety of which belonged to some of N's friends. I was called back to the domesticity of 4th Place, a tree-lined suburb inhabited mainly by generations of Italian families dating back to the early 20th Century, as well as by the "yuppies" (for lack of a better word) who had moved in during the boom times of the '90s and of the 00's, and in so doing had driven up the value of the area's real estate considerably, to the point where without the kindness of these friends of N we would not have been able to afford to live there.
I return home to this lonely place to find two maps spread out over the desk which, in addition to two chairs and a bookshelf, comprises the only furniture of the kitchenette that's separated by the tiniest of hallways (with a closet on the left and a bathroom on the right) leading to the slightly larger bedroom. The two maps are the MTA subway map and the more worn map of Brooklyn that I've owned since 2004, when Dompa and I, along with Alice the cat, left the Lower East Side and moved to the suburbs of Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, four stops on the F train from Delancey Street, which was our nearest subway stop for the first three years of our existence in New York.
The maps were out so that I could figure out my way to the Red Hook Rec Center, that oasis across the BQE that was only revealed to me in the late summer of 2007, just as the swimming season was about to come to a close, a time which happened to coincide with the immediate aftermath of Alice's death. The revelation, thanks to my neighbors Wolfgang and Damien, who one Sunday afternoon brought me along with them as they crossed beneath the freeway and then alongside the Clinton Street projects, was a welcome respite from my mourning.
I later found out that for weeks, maybe even years, Wolfgang and Damien would leave home on sunny weekend days donning board shorts and either flip flops or Crocs--which they were major proponents of at the time--and beach towels thrown over their shoulders like sashes, and they would walk down Clinton till the BQE towered, with its traffic, and cut Clinton into two distinct parts, two distinct realities. from the gas station and the exit and the entrance to the big green decaying thing itself to the projects, past the post office, on past the playground at the intersection of Clinton and Bush, to the pool, looking probably, pretty gay.

Besides the pool there was a series of fields devoted to soccer, football, baseball, and track. The rec center also contained a weight room, and I soon discovered that for a mere $75 one could purchase a year's access to not only that but all the rec centers in the five boroughs, by far one of the best deals of any kind to be found in New York.

Another feature that summer was the Latin American food vendors who would line one of the soccer fields and cook their native delicacies--the pupusas and huarachas and elotes and such--which they would sell at preposterously cheap prices, perhaps the other greatest deal in New York.

While this new world beyond the highway that had so effectively separated the tree-lined, stroller-infested suburbs of Carroll Gardens from the gritty urban realism of Red Hook that I would never, without the timely intervention of my neighbors, have known it was there, was great news to me, it was little consolation for the enormous loss of Alice, the wound of which was still fresh and the grief of which still consumed me. Nevertheless, I took to the new dimension with gusto, taking to the track to jog. And I'm not sure whether the shoes I was wearing were simply not jogging shoes or whether I'd simply not been stretching enough, but one day in the midst of one of these jogs, some time that September, I injured my left knee and was horrified to see it swell up to twice the size of the other one. It was also terribly painful, and for a weekend I could hardly move it.

Rehabilitation was slow. The knee continued to trouble me through the winter, into the following spring and even into last summer, when I trepidatiously enrolled in the Night Owl swim sessions that were held at the pool every weeknight of July and August from 7:00 until 8:30. One's laps, I was told by one of the cute young lifeguards on the first night out, could be tracked. Seventy-five laps comprised a mile. And if one were to swim 25 miles over the course of the two-month session, one would win a t-shirt commemorating the achievement.

Although the t-shirt itself was not of much interest to me, the idea of achieving something and thereby attaining something in the name of athletic achievement drove me like a blood-sniffing shark. Never in my life had I won a trophy or any kind of recognition for anything sports-related. And while a t-shirt was no big deal, it was inarguably more practical than a trophy.

I went away for a week in the middle of the swim season for a whirlwind trip to California, the main purpose for which was to serve as a groom's man at the wedding of an old high school buddy who, to the surprise of the assembly of his family and friends, stole the show from his bride by riding into the Mexican Cultural Center in the middle of San Jose where la boda was taking place not only mounted on a horse but dressed from head to toe as some kind of mariachi. It was, I later told him, probably the gayest thing I'd ever witnessed. And despite having since been to an actual gay wedding since then, it remains the gayest thing I have have ever witnessed.

When I returned to New York I redoubled my efforts to achieve my 25-mile goal. I could usually swim about a mile per night, but some nights I'd show up late and do less or have to get out and pee a couple times and do less or simply feel exhausted from a nonstop regimen that I was supplementing with weight training on my lunch break from work, and alas, I would do less. And then sometimes it would rain and there would be lightning and the pool would close and I would do less. And on at least two occasions I arrived to discover that the pool had been closed due to someone's having pooped in it during the afternoon; and on at least one of those occasions I was informed that it was an adult who had done the pooping. And so, despite the best intentions, situations beyond my control, like someone else's bowels, intervened to derail my efforts.

As the middle of August approached, the dawning realization that the end was nigh was not only nerve-wracking but strangely emotional. I realized how much I had loved this new ritual of swimming, the weightlessness of it, the feeling of grace that would overtake me as the sun would set and the clouds would turn pink and the storage center across the road, painted an odd and vaguely hideous color combination, would suddenly become breathtakingly interesting and beautiful, the way that my muscles would feel stretched and exhilarated as if I'd just been on a weeklong yoga retreat, the way that my stomach would appear flatter than I'd ever seen it before as I'd emerge from the water and admire myself in the mirrors in the weight room which, during swim season, is always fenced off. And yes, the way that my knee had seemed to benefit and even be healed by the miracle waters of Red Hook.

I liked to drink the water from the drinking fountain too. It felt holistic that way. I enjoy making rites out of things, especially something as rare as a swim day. There are so relatively few of them in a year.

With each passing day, swim time became shorter and shorter as the sun would set earlier and earlier. And that meant doing less and less each day. The weather also cooled considerably last August, which seemed like something of an anomaly, but as the month drew to a close it was downright shiver-inducing to emerge from the pool and walk home with a wet Speedo under my shorts. There was considerable shriveling where in July there had been valiant robustness in the showers and locker room after the swim session had ended, causing me to replace prideful parading with unbecoming modesty. It was coming down to the wire last August, but in the end I pulled it off. I got my 25 miles and my t-shirt, which was retrieved for me at an awards ceremony held in the Lower East Side at the Hamilton Fish pool on Houston and Avenue C, back in our original neighborhood, by a nice man named Martine, a Red Hook resident and fellow Night Owl swimmer, who I'd met during the course of the summer.

The t-shirt was big and purple and more or less hideous to look at, but it meant the world to me, and with great pride I mailed it to my Dad, who I figured it would not only fit better but who generally, whether through some genetic predisposition or, more likely, through pure apathy, tends to turn a blind eye to fashion and so might appreciate its unique aesthetic a little more. And of course a good part of that pride was derived from the fact that after 37 years I could finally give some token of athletic achievement to this man who had once been a football coach and who had tried so hard once upon a time to get me to follow him fieldward to the glory of jockhood. I figured it was the least I could do considering the strenuous resistance and deep ingratitude with which I'd heretofore countered all his efforts in that particular aspect of the fathering department.

I mention all this because from the time the pool was drained after Labor Day until the middle of last month I have pined for the return of that beautiful ritual, the rite of summer. Not since childhood had the months of July and August seemed so precious or appeared to fly by so quickly. And never since childhood had they brought me so much unexpected joy. And so I looked with sadness for ten months upon the empty pool as I'd frequent the gym at the rec center (which stays open all year) or traverse the track or amble to and from the Ikea which had sprung up in the spring of 2008 just beyond the recreation area, and I waited for the reopening of the pool. And on the last weekend of June it reopened, but I wasn't there. I had moved southeast of Red Hook to the place where I am currently residing, Prospect Park South.

Last night, returning from a trip upstate to stay the weekend at the home and gardens of my big gay cousin and his boyfriend, I wrote to Martine and asked him for information about the pool. We'd seen one another only twice since the pool was closed last year. Once I saw him bicycling home and stopped and chatted with him for a moment. The second time was on election night, when N and I hosted a few friends and N prepared some tasty snacks. Martine and I spoke on both occasions of our withdrawal from the pool and our intense love for it. And we spoke of our intentions to enroll in the morning "Early Bird" session this year instead of in the night one, thus hopefully avoiding the sad shrinkage of the latter days of August.

Martine's reply was in my inbox first thing in the morning, and he informed me that indeed the season was kicking off today. Fortunately, having been well-rested from my weekend upstate, I arose this morning at around six, full of a sense of potentiality. My bike, liberated after three years from the basement of the brownstone on 4th Place, was refurbished and made ready to ride by a kind hardware salesman/bike repair guy on Flatbush Avenue up the street last Monday. I figured I could either bike to the pool and then back home before work or I could simply walk to the subway stop across the street from my apartment building, the Church Avenue stop, and from there go directly to Smith and 9th Streets on the G line, which a new friend the other day had told me was being extended this weekend to the Church Avenue stop.

Somewhat reluctant--afraid, I guess--to take up the bike again after all these years of not having to deal with the treacherous traffic of New York City's streets, I opted to try out the newly extended subway. I figured it would be far less grueling than biking to the pool, swimming, and then biking home before heading to work.

After waiting, however, for some time, perplexed as to what direction the G train would be coming from, I asked the woman in the booth for information. She informed me that there are more than one Church Avenue stops, and that "mine" is not the one to which the G line is being extended. Rather, that Church Avenue stop is a couple miles west of here. I came home and consulted the MTA map and then the Brooklyn map. I considered the bike, good old Marcel, as I call it, once again, and once again I eschewed Marcel in favor of the subway route. I studied the Brooklyn map and then set off on foot for the Church Avenue stop to which the G line had actually been extended. Being terrible with directions, maps, geography in general, however, I took off in the wrong direction and when it started to occur to me that I might be going nowhere fast, I asked a crossing guard how to get where I was intending to go. She pointed me in the opposite direction from that in which I was walking. By the time I'd arrived at the correct train stop and caught the G train and been carried the four stops to Smith and 9th Streets, which is still a good mile from the pool, it was nearly 8:30.

When I arrived at the pool, I was told that the Early Bird session was over. Indeed, there was no one in the pool, nor even a lifeguard to be seen. Eventually, though, I saw some boys in blue shirts that said something about aquatics on them, and I asked them if I could sign up today even though I'd missed the session. They obliged. And as I filled out my registration form I noted that the boys were transcribing the registration forms of the other early birds who had already come and gone into their master book, the book in which the number of laps are recorded. I saw my friend Martine in there and noted that he'd swum 34 laps today, by which I gathered that he'd arrived a bit late, as that seemed rather a paltry sum.

I went to work sweaty, unwashed, and dejected by my failure to swim this morning. But I tried to focus on the silver lining, that I'd successfully registered as an Early Bird swimmer, that I'd been assigned a number and a little green paper card, just like the one I got last year, with my name and registration number on it, and that's what I'll be presenting to the lifeguards every weekday for the next two months, life willing. And for now I will study these maps and try to figure out how I went wrong this morning and try to plan a bike route and embolden myself for my first ride upon Marcel in the Obama Era.

And happily, I hereby and herewith begin a new season of Jol's New York Minutes, and I am pleased to discover that I have just gained back one of the two hours it took me to commit all this to MS Word, as it turns out the battery on my computer is dead, the Internet host off of whom I've been piggybacking is apparently logged off or otherwise shunning me, and one or both of these factors has resulted in my computer believing that not only is it well after 9pm but that it's also the middle of December 1969. And maybe somewhere, for someone who will read this someday, it is. Fortunately, I have a cell phone again after an experimental six months without one (I hardly noticed, btw), and thanks to my cell phone, I have a most welcome reality check.


and now for some poetry

things one must tell oneself when one lives alone
(i am the one in quesiton, btw):

1) what is the most unlivable and/or unclean thing in the apartment right now?
2) am i correctly interpreting this apartment? for example, if i have just come from upstate, from the palatial digs of my big gay cuzzes, should i really try to apply the same eye to this place? or should I rather look at it not as something that is even supposed to be anything like their hardwon long-visualized selfmade home of and instead be something that is totally unique to me, like jol's place. because isn't jol supposed to be this person, this identity? i guess that could be interpreted as egocentric if not egomaniacal, but i should admit to that upfront, lest i engender any illusions other than that i am anything but an absolute egoist, maybe even with a capital E. this is the result of having lived in New York for seven years and having during my time here read both of Ayn Rand's big novels, not necessarily in that order.
3) Speaking of Ayn Rand, I am profoundly grateful to her because she gave me back what the Catholic Church took away from me.
4) What is more fun, being me or struggling to be me in the confines of a collective reality? What if the collective had no confines? What if it were more wild? What if not only I were I but everyone else was he or she too! wouldn't that be wonderful! (almost 2 exclamation marks called for)
5) maybe this would be a good rhoda truth: everyone is anal in their own way.
6) you can be gay and not have to be literally anal as a primary thing in your identity.
7) gay can mean happy.
8) there are other things gays can do besides throwing theme parties in deliberately bad taste. there are preferable manifestations of wit and better wellsprings of "gay culture" than that. and i should exercise more of those veins.
9) why is there a strange cheaping sound, in addition to sounds of neighbors, the rumbling train.
10) if you want to sing out, sing out, cat stevens said. and he was right.
11) eleven
12) girilla54g is back! thank you, whoever you are, dear man, my internet providing piggybacker.
i shall gladly pay you for my share of the services if you ever choose to reveal yourself to me.
13) it would be great if there were writers who didn't condescend to their audiences or fill their heads with bad ideas
14) how can i support the legalization of medicinal marijuana? 15) and socialized too.
16) i heard a song about "paradise" and I tried to imagine what it would be about if the refrain in it was really "parrot eyes"?
17) something i don't like about this place: gnats in my wine all the time. they do a pretty good job of pest control at the palatial place of my cuzzes.
18) a woman made a horrible face at me because I was smoking. I didn't tell her the whole story of the GNS but I told her I was having a single cigarette. She said Can you tell what I'm thinking? And I said I can tell by your face that you disapprove of my smoking. And she said, No...damage is damage.
19) i bought the cigs cause i was housesitting, kittysitting to be specific. i didn't even get to see the little princess while I was there. i was busy being an irresponsible parasite. i heard that phrase in the "great muppet caper" and i loved it.
20) my big gay cuz raises muppets, by the way. he makes the physical puppets now. i rode the train with him from grand central station, and i was in a row consisting of my cousin and fozzy bear's arm, which is how he nonchalantly referred to it.
21) he offered me a lavender glove that miss piggy wore in the '90s before it was determined and dictated that she never wear lavender gloves again.
22) he showed me a piece of early-Ernie pajama fabric from the '70s, from sesame streets' very first episodes, and he explained that it was a skirt that had been unraveled to make Ernie's pajamas.
23) don't forget to send them a thank-you card.
24) every night around this time of darkness, this night it happens to be getting dark at 8:53, it starts to feel as though i shouldn't play loud music or operate the cuisinart. up there it felt as though i shouldn't flush the toilet at night, like the littlest thing aside from absolute order would be almost supremely disturbing; it felt like if you farted in the woods, someone would hear you in the living room.
25) i was getting very sentimental today. we used to say that as a euphemism for "the dog is getting a hardon," but i mean it literally tonight. i saw kittens in cages and a sign advertising pet adoptions and the three cutest kittens, and the one supremely absolutely cutest kitten in the history of the world, and i walked by and i got sentimental, missed my cats, thought about how i'm not in the situation to have cats right now, that my place is no good for cats, that the first place i looked at, the one i was meant to take, the one i turned my nose up at like a cat who only eats fancy feast. i feel very guilty that i took this place over that. i would have been in manhattan just 50 blocks from my cousin had i taken the first place i looked at. and there was a big yard for storage and a cute little standup shower with no tub and room for only two people at once, one of whom would of necessity be in the shower, the other at the toilet. i am kicking myself for taking this place instead, with it's cheap noise, its old woman drying or washing or just plain clanging together pans, the bus revving up to catch the light, a cover on a pan. the cheap again. or is it cheep? i think i've been meaning to say cheep all this time. but some cheep is cheap. and this is cheap cheep.
26) i saw homeboy today and he looked good. he moved. so now my walk to work from the subway intersects with his walk to the subway. and if i hadn't come to work 90 minutes earlier than normal this morning because of the trying-to-swim debacle, i would never have run into him. he lives right near the factory i work in now.
27) there is a street up in my cousin's town called Black Grocery.
28) i believe in a "reason of and/or for calling" and it shouldn't be boredom.
29) independence is a virtue.
30) love on. love on.
31) you can't undo the past, but you can die trying.
33) i stole that from todd
34) wasn't that love and/or marriage missalette amazing?
35) tacky people are all around me, i'm getting old and there's no revenue incoming, only outgoing money and troubles with taxes
36) since "oz" oz really has two different meanings now. i would love to see a good mashup of the wizard of oz and the show oz. and heck, i guess you could throw in clips from the wiz with diana ross.
37) i'm in heaven.
38) i stayed up late.
39) but i feel fine
40) just behave yourself
41) don't enslave yourself
42) you'll know what to do
43) you'll have a troubled knee
44) your spouse goes out the door
45) and you're still playing wii
46) the cheap is more like a tweet. and that makes me think of
twitter, which is for twots, except in iran where it's all they got.
47) what is it, that cheap beep-tweeting cheep I hear?
48) could it be satan? that much is clear!
49) actually, i don't believe in such rot.
50) until i find bed bugs besmirching my cot.
51) don't say you're a poet, just show it,
show it.

June 16, 2009
Suffer the Little Tabloids

Let the gossips go monger,
Let the tattle tales point.
Let the righteous cast rock salt,
Let the holy anoint.
Let the weepers cry rivers,
The romantics pass gas.
Let the naysayers howl,
Let the drunks lift a glass.

Let the cowards betray us,
Let the lost pick their sides.
Let the setbacks delay us,
Let the featless find rides.
Let the scandals be whispered,
Let the truth stand unheard.
Let the world roll right off us
As we duck the absurd.

Monday, May 25, 2009
Containing Jol's Memorial Day Address

My mind actually resembles a scrambled egg today. It was cooked at high heat and left out on the stove all night and reheated in the morning.

Meanwhile Andy is screaming about the heat. Or something. His meaning is not clear, direct, or in any way determinable. I have resorted to the peasant work of brushing him, adding to the long list of peasantries that I endure to live in this city of money. Brushing him seems necessary, though, He is shedding like a long-haired cat tho he's really not one. his coat is coarse like a wookie's. he is always screaming about nothing in particular. he has general existential issues, i think. It's like he's living in a Beckett dystopia (pardon the redundancy)

I find it weird that everybody who was anybody just happened to be making a pig of himself in commemoration of the holiday. I feel like it's incongruous with the serious reason for the holiday, namely the remembrance of the dead. I expected more a more somber day, of quiet and dignified mourning and pride. Instead there were endless BBQs and the consumption of alcohol and whatever else anybody could get their hands on. My proverbial hat's off to all the undermentioned, under-appreciated amputees. today is a good day to appreciate peace as well as the dead, and to imagine how well peace could have served us (and the dead--and the amputees) in the past, and how peace could save us and benefit us in the future. and maybe then we could aim our missiles of intention in that general direction.

Oh, and would it be unpatriotic of me on this day to also consider the 100,000+ dead (and untold amputweeted) Iraquis? On behalf of all of us innocent taxpayers, let me just say *Gee, sorry about that, guys...and sorry, families of those guys. If I'd known how to prevent the war I would have. It wasn't my idea and protested it when I could. I am sorry for your loss. But please don't hate my home country forever. Empires err sometimes."

Today's Recommended Reading: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Long delayed public congratulations to Emily, who just had a baby, Dimitri, who is an absolute wonder baby, and Cyrus, who seeded the lil sapling. May the kid have a wonderful life. May he be whatever he wants to be and whatever he is. May truth lead him into the light of honor and the hall of fame.

Also, long delayed written congratulations to Kevin and Karl on their gay wedding. Maybe someday we won't have to call it a gay wedding and it will just be a wedding. Maybe next Tuesday Prop. 8 will be turned on its head with its ass in the air. I am hoping.

I heard about how SF's Mayor Newsom asked that the court ruling be delayed so that it wouldn't correspond with the 30th anniversary of the White Night Riots. He knows how much the gays love historical reenactments, I guess.

I cubbified the dawn of Sunday in New York by playing rather loudly (for 4th Place at midnight) the Cubby Creatures' "Jesus Christ, You're Crazy," which hasn't been officially released yet and might not even get released until Fall, some pessimists insist. But hopefully if you didn't hear it emanating from my study window on 4th Place you heard it here on Cubby.net, where it's still the Song of the Month, for the third or fourth consecutive month running. Please check it out if you haven't heard it yet...it's the Cubby Creatures' magnum opus to date, methinks.

Apologies to Rani, who contributed a great piece to the most recent Cubby Missalette, the stunning, captivating centerfold. We failed to credit her in the pages of the first print edition of the Missalette and will do everything in our respective powers to ensure that no future printing or Web edition of this most recent Cubby Missalette will be so similarly flawed.

She can be appreciated more fully at www.justvisiting.us

love anyway
note for posterity:
the cubby bible is neither historically, literally, or scientifically true.

April 30, 2009

april 30th wish

if this be my last day, dawning now at 12:26 am
may it be remembered that i said due goodbyes to my neighbors
and played extremely well with my cats.

i say goodbye because tomorrow i fly
from jfk to pittsburgh, to randy's care,
there's drag queens there, and i'm in care of hip stirs.

i hope i survive their care, even prosper there,
i hope i can make new friends, make new knots in old loose ends,
repent and reflect and let in and reject and sort through the unbroken bends

Obama, much love for you, my brother.

Ant-aquarium Uncovered Miscellany:

April 26, 2009
Sun 7:22 PM
So much pink out there. (There's not usually this much pink, pink that even reaches into orange spaces) The cats are out amongst it. Andy mainly hangs on the fire escape. Quentin appears from time to time in yards, in trees, disappearing under strangers' rooftops, entering open windows, availing himself of all life's wonders andy cries loudly at the window, perhaps in conversation with quentin, who i think has a special sort of arrangement with andy that i don't try to get into.

Sun 8:30 PM
They're both out there still. Quentin is all over the place. Andy is around but I'm scared he'll scream at people's windows at night, and I feel like somehow I'd be responsible for his untoward behavior. Just now Andy ventured into the neighbor's patio, where a cat and dog reside. jasper is at least seven years older than andy and so is not as naively curious as andy is. a hissing match begins, i make the bad move of trying to maneuver andy by grabbing onto his tail, which only makes him shriek more wildly at the put-upon jasper. finally a big brute of a dog bounds onto the scene, scaring the bejeezus out of andy and sending him running home, where i promptly locked him in. But then he pleaded with me, said, look, if i'm liberated, man, i'm liberated. if you're going to relish in my choice to come back to you at night, you'd better let me to make up my own mind.

i worry that my cats are dead now they're out and free. i am glad not to be a slaveowner anymore, to have truly given these creatures a choice in life. I saw a great musical event last night full of awesome luminaries, and Bea Arthur was on my mind. the whole time.

April 26, 2009
Domestic Drippings

It is a hot day. Quentin took off.
Yes, the cats have been liberated,
and I am no longer warden,
they no longer our love slaves
but creatures who have chosen to return
and return again.

It began a few weeks ago.
Nico decreed it and emancipation was on.

I am no longer a warden.
At worst I am lke an R.A.
Nico says not to worry,
that Quentin will be back.
Gerry and Jim are out barbecuing,
and Quentin was going that way.
There is always the threat of someone feeding him better.

Andy, strangely, opts for home.
In a room with a ceiling fan he occupies a blanket,
one that used to be Quentin's perch
but which Andy usurped from him.

April 23, 2009
Wakeup Call

When the Depression hits you'd better be ready for it. That's all my friend Mama had to say about the situation* today when she was unexpectedly given the option of a day off. That or half a day today and half a day tomorrow. Being an all or nothing kind of girl, my friend Mama decided she would take all of today off, and as luck would have it I was in the same situation and had opted for a day off as well, a day in which to pursue my pursuits, whatever those were. Not even I knew anymore, that's all I told my friend Mama when we were carrying groceries together earlier.

"You have to put yourself out there. You're a genius and the world needs you," my friend Mama said.

"Things are looking up in life. We've got Obama. Don't you forget it. This is Obama Time. Not everything the man does is going to be perfect, but just remember what we have just been through, oh let us remember that at least."

My friend Mama explained that she was optimistic, because at the same time as she was choosing to take the day off and work a full day Friday, just this afternoon she received notice of her enrollment in a new department of labor program designed to help folks stay employed and keep their benefits, allowing them to receive partial unemployment benefits during weeks in which they might not be needed at work.

Fortunately, there is valium. And that is how I am choosing to ride out the Depression.

I need to get all my movies back from the Serb. He has so many of my DVD library classics, which is very small and intended to house only the most canonical of my own personal canon. of course Life of Brian, Poison, and I think either Baraka or Desperate Living are still in his possession, where they've been for years. Problem is, i still don't have a cell phone so i can't send him a text. Nor do I have his email address, email being my primary way of communication right now (like an urban grizzly adams thorough thoreau i throw off the shackles of conventionality.

"Conventionality belongs to yesterday," I quote "Grease," which is from 1978.

*Not to be mistaken with my actual mother, who is a whole 'nother character in this fictitious report back to my friends in the loyal order of cubby optimists to whom I dedicate this and all chapters immemorial.

April 11, 2009
Day Without Jesus, a.k.a. Dead Jesus Day

In multiple processions throughout the five boroughs yesterday and no doubt in locations around the globe, representations of Jesus were carried in glass coffins or other such conveyances. It happened in my neighborhood. Dr. Brown saw it when he was getting home. People had traveled into the neighborhood apparently, just for the event, which started from the neighborhood Catholic Church at precisely 8pm. My friend Josh saw it and wrote about it on Facebook. And it all made me realize that today is the only day of the year when we can commemorate Jesus's actual day of being dead, assuming that he died on Friday and rose on Sunday. And so it made me think--because I am often doing that--that this weird middle day should really be treated with more respect, given more weight and heft, at it symbolically represents the day without Jesus.

I bet we could all get in a heapa good fun out here if we let ourselves, without that meddling Jesus around.

But then the horrible truth would dawn on this man: he is not being watched. he is not being followed. he is not being cared about. the real fear is in the indifference.

Anyway, I've returned from San Francisco newly emboldened, and therefore able to tolerate such blasphemous humors in myself.

we were very worried as midnight approached, as we'd imagined the possibility of jesus rising right at the stroke at midnight and just crushing us.

what if one were to die on no jesus day or whatever today is? is that a lucky or an unlucky thing? and would i be blamed for a simple valium some mary bush and an advil with leftovers of last night's tofu ragout.

next stop:
how to die an egg.

newly unearthed diary entry:
"i'm binge eating mary bush right now and drinking beer to nurse this hangover, living like a 20something as my looks continue to degrade, perhaps sensing my last chance to beautifully party. in my next incarnation i will be an old man, and the very fact of my being will creep some people out."
(from a 2007 diary entry--two years ago, and yet it still feels fresh...the sentiment, i mean.)

could it belong to the cubby book of prophesies?

The Book of Jo(e)l

the age issue
coming soon
to cubby.net.

right here

april 7, 2007

seems like all my life
all my life
i'm waiting for the advil to kick in.

February 9, 2009

Here is the call for submissions to the next Cubby Missalette:

"love is a call to action."
- dildeaux, the cubby bible (thoughts and acts XIII, I:26)

Dearest Cubby Lovers,

We hope this finds you head over heels in somersaults of ecstasy at the beginning of this promising New Year. Love is in the air, and oh, what a breath of freshness it is! As Bill Fisher said recently, "The zeitgeist has never felt this good, ever."

For one thing, we can not help being madly in love with our new first couple, whose palpable love for one another is truly awww-inspiring to behold. Not only are Mr. and Mrs. Obama lovers in every sense of the word, but their partnership as they start this new journey of leadership has the potential to bring about a seismic ideological shift in America that could smash the past decade's paradigm of fear, hate and misunderstanding and bring in a new era of rationalism, empathy and love.

But as the loveliest rose comes equipped with sharp thorns that prick us, so do our love affairs sometimes wound us and make our hearts bleed. Our new leadership is a dream come true and yet, in our own beloved home state of California, the same democratic process has brought about a malicious ban on marriage between loving couples of the same gender.

Meanwhile, in the world of the Cubby Creatures: A reunion is a-brewin', in which Cubby Creature Karl is marrying Cubby Companion Kevin, and Cubby Creatures Bill and Emily (both now married to their respective Cubby Companions Lorna and Cyrus), are having babies. It's a good time to be born and reborn!

...and so this March 21st, coinciding with the beautiful nuptials of beloveds Karl & Kevin, and the birth of Spring, we aim to publish what's sure to be called:

Love and/or Marriage: a Cubby Missalette

Neil Young said, "only love can break your heart." And The Beatles professed, "love is all you need." And love, we're told, conquers all. But what is love, really?

Love is a promise. We are drawn to it over and over again - driven wild by its potential, satisfied by its fruition and disappointed by its frustrations.

We feel that now is the perfect time to explore the subject of love, as well as its companion, marriage, and to explore the myriad forces, both personal and political, that come to bear upon them.

We are pleased to announce our intention to publish a brand new Cubby Missalette, where we can explore the heart's greatest emotion and society's most hallowed institution, and all the exotic terrain in between.


We invite you to submit your lovingly wrought expressions on the subject of Love and/or Marriage. We hope to collect a wide range of ideas and reflections in the next three weeks.

This could be your thoughts, your feelings, your poetry, your prose, your drawings, your collages, your comics - anything that can fit into a 2-dimensional form!

And for those who are new to the Cubby, you can see past Missalette experiences here.

Jol & Tristy are also overjoyed to answer any questions you may have or give further guidance in what we are looking for, for this exciting new issue!

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: FRIDAY, FEB. 20, 2009 (Cubby Saint Kurt Cobain's birthday!)

PUBLICATION DAY: FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2009 (Vernal Equinox, aka the first day of SPRING)

Please note this is a FAST turnaround - just three weeks to create and submit. But what better subject to rally around and create something new? What better time to birth a new vision into the world?

We so much hope you will join us on this latest endeavor! Please contact either Jol or Tristy to let us know that you are on board this crazy love train!

In gratitude,
Your Missalette co-editors for this issue,
Trismegista Taylor and Jo(e)l Perez

January 28, 2009

Today I finessed the call to action for the next Missalette, Love and/or Marriage. I enlisted Tristy as my co-editor, and so she's finessing the visual appearance of the call to action. She is also the artistic director. I'm grateful for her input. Sometimes my instincts, visually, are just too crazy.

You, dear reader, can write to me or to Tristy and we'll be glad to provide info on how to be a part of this very special Cubby Missalette. The submission deadline is Friday, February 20, 2009.

It's the perfect time to be reflecting on love, what with Valentine's Day just on the horizon. It's the time of year when love is on everybody's lips. So I hope we'll collect a lot of brilliant lip droppings in this Missalette.

today's prayer for males:

Cubby, let me never be a douche bag;
let me never tell anyone to "man up."

reprinted from "daily discharge":

Obama Inauguration

"The zeitgeist has never felt this good, ever."
--Bill Fisher, January 20, 2009

Ronald Reagan famously wielded the "morning in America" rhetoric, but back in 1981 it was an unconvincing stab at optimism, an actor-delivered line that adequately reflected the hollowness and illusory nature of our national mythology. It was part of a show, a projection of an image, shadowy puppetry to mystify the masses.
But this morning I look out at the snow-covered landscape beyond my window and I feel the truth of that line as I never have before. I feel upon waking today that I am seeing America for the first time in my life, as if it hasn't really existed before today, like it's been an abstract concept, but that today, with the rising of the sun, it is made flesh at last.
Barack Obama will speak today as the President of the United States of America. Whatever rhetoric comes out of his mouth will inevitably pale in comparison to the reality of this moment. Brilliant speaker though he is, mere words could never capture what now is manifest:

America is born.

Today we are all immigrants here. And for the first time I feel welcome.

Long live Barack Obama. Long live America!

--Joel Perez 1.20.09 8:19amest

These were the people with whom I witnessed the inauguration on a big outdoor television. I liked them, but it was cold. I had the best slice of pizza afterwards at a place called, coincidentally, Presidential Pizza. It really hit the spot, as they say. Hot, hot cheese on a cold, cold day after you've just cried your eyes out for days.