A Happy Easter w/My Hunny Bunny

dinner zu zweit

Today I had a super nice Easter. I got to sleep in till almost 9AM, my beloved Martin prepared a special Easter breakfast just for us, I worked a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening (continuing) to prep our store for our opening tomorrow, 01 April 2013 @ 10AM – the store is not quite perfect but at about 90%, so be patient, please – came back home, had a delicious dinner with my Sweetie and then watched some TV, including the Season 3 finale of “The Walking Dead.” OK, I know it’s not “The Robe” with Richard Burton but I do love great zombies…

I had a great day. I hope you all did, too. Wish me luck tomorrow for duoHOME’s soft-opening at our new location. Details to follow!

Music Time Capsule, One

Anyone that knows me well knows that music is a HUGE part of my life. Now, I won’t get all cerebral about it but, the fact is, I simply love music. All genres, all categories (OK – rap and SKA? Not so much…) But for the most part, any type of music makes my heart lighter and makes me happy…

I was a DJ at Richard’s Nite Club, a gay bar in Mansfield, Ohio for almost two years back in 1979-1980. More on that another time but anyhow, let me just confess that I have music on vinyl, cassettes and CD’s – no reel-to-reel, or 8-tracks anymore, but all the others. I am a borderline music hoarder. Recently, my beloved Martin and I decided it was time for me to part with the 200+ or so cassettes I have left; I mean, I haven’t had a cassette player in probably a decade or more. So, I thought it might be fun to pick five cassettes at random from my hoard and share them here with you, as a means of honoring the artists and songs I loved before I toss them all away. So, here’s the first five:

Deee-Lite / World CliqueDeee Lite

Remember Dee-Lite and “Groove is in The Heart?” Click image above to hear it again.

Madonna / Who’s That Girl, Original Motion Picture SoundtrackMadonna

I mean, the title of the movie asks the question – who IS that girl? This is when I first started paying attention to “Maddy.” Click image above to hear the whole soundtrack. Next?

Jane Child / Jane Child

Jane-Child-Jane-Child-368447Jane Child kinda’ scared me – she didn’t make me wanna’ fall in love. Click image above.

Information Society / self-titled album

info so

The only group that ever asked what I was feeling… Click image above. And finally…

Berlin / Pleasure Victim

BerlinI originally liked this album only because it was rumored at the time that Donna Summer (goddess!) graced the cover. But, after hearing “Sex (I’m A…)” a few times, I was hooked. Click image above.

So there you have it – the first trip down memory lane, via my “vintage” cassette collection. I hope you take the time to listen to these tunes – they are all a part of MY musical past (and I love every song!) Regrettably, cassettes are worth like a nickel each at any record exchange or half price book joint, so I am not sure what to do with these. Each of these artists and songs have brought me much joy; in fact, I feel happy having just listened to them all again. Who knows? I may save the case liners/album art and do some yet-to-be-conceived art project at some point in the future but for now, I suspect these will all just go gently into the good night.

Thanks to you all for so many awesome memories…

The 72 Hour “Puzzle”

So, as you probably know if you have been following my blog posts, the business I co-own is in the process of moving. As of today, our old space is about 97% empty; we have like two more carloads of odds-n-ends to bring “cross town” to the new space. We surrender our keys to our old space tomorrow. We are scheduled to open at the NEW space on Monday, 01 April 2013 at 10AM. All day today, I have been haunted by images like this:

rubiks_cubeSee, the thing is, we are moving from a larger space into a smaller (but nicer) space; think of it as moving the contents of a four bedroom colonial into a two bedroom Cape Cod. Like this old classic game, we currently have to move 2-3 pieces in our space to get one item into the “right position.” Needless to say, the process is a little daunting at times…

sliding puzzleAnd – to be honest – we still have some painting to do, wallpaper needs to be hung, the lighting needs to be arranged, display windows need to be created. Ugh. It’s a lot to do. But, you know what? I.LOVE.IT. LOVE.IT!

I cannot imagine doing anything else in my life – I love designing interiors and this move has re-invigorated me and made me feel passionate about design again. Sure, I TOTALLY know I will still have a few of these to face over the next few days/weeks, but that’s OK… metal puzzles

(Heck, we don’t even have a cash register yet! But it’ll all work out. I know it.)

I’m excited for next Monday to come – I hope you are, too!

Visit duoHOME by clicking here or see duoHOME on Facebook here.

LGBT-ers: Let’s get serious about Marriage Equality

OK – so this post is probably NOT gonna’ win me a lot of fans but I feel obliged to write it…

To ALL my LGBT brothers and sisters – PLEASE get serious about demanding marriage equality. And PLEASE begin by, literally, getting serious…

I am partners in a small business – not bragging here, just being honest. So I like to think I have some idea of how promotion and “branding” work to make my business successful. The same ideas must apply to social change, correct? Anyhow, here’s what has been driving me INSANE for the past 24 hours…

As any LGBT activist knows, The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) began hearing oral arguments yesterday regarding DOMA reform and Prop 8 out of California. Needless to say, this is a significant moment in the evolution of LGBT rights. I mean, we are finally poised on the brink of having our relationships validated and recognized by the federal government, if all goes as I – and millions and millions of other LGBT citizens, both here and abroad – hope. So, as a sort of visual “rallying cry,” the good folks over at The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) modified their standard equal sign logo to a red version:

HRCand asked everyone to post this as their profile image on any social media site, to get the word out/show that they personally supported marriage equality. Great, right? From a business and branding perspective, this was BRILLIANT! Here was a well-recognized symbol (the HRC logo) personalized for a specific, historic moment in time. This symbol would definitely galvanize the troops and get everyone together. The red color? Whether it symbolizes true love, passion about equality or anger over the injustice of the federal government’s denial to America’s gay and lesbian married couples of the 1,138 rights granted to heterosexual couples by marriage – whatever the reason it was red – the logo was fantastic! “Kudos” to the graphics team at HRC. Here was an image that would represent how seriously we all desired marriage equality and how committed we (LGBT American citizens) were to attaining it. Again, from a branding perspective, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Then, about three/four hours after The Supreme Court began hearing testimony, the whole thing derailed (again, from a business perspective). These began appearing all over the internet –

First, the white slash version:

white slashes

Not sure why the image changed but, as I was wondering, the “Twin Rings” began appearing:

Rings

OK, not too bad – at least the rings echoed the original intent and message of the original logo. Still, the message started to degrade a bit. Then I saw this one – the “True Blood” version:

true-blood-equalityThis vampire version makes all LGBT-er’s look like “Marriage Equality Twi-Hards” but I think maybe the “bacon version” is even worse:

bacon-equalityI mean, sure, bacon is the “it” food of the moment but does it have anything to do with the passionate pursuit of equality? I think not. And I haven’t even shared the matzoh version or the version with wiener dogs. However, all those images aside, it got worse. Someone had to create this image:

liberty and JusticeAs always, we have to take any LGBT issue to some sort of graphic sexual place, as if THAT is what we are all fighting for. Really – why DOES any gay- or lesbian-related issue ALWAYS seem to come down to sex? Honestly, the word “sex” has such a negative connotation to the vast majority of people and then to combine it with “same,” as in same-sex marriage well, a lot of straight people just “Ewwww!” and shut down. Two guys or two girls “getting it on” maybe still creep them out (a bit). But this image took the prize for me:

grumpy-cat-equalityFor the uninformed, this feline is internet sensation Grumpy Cat, famous for always saying “NO” to everything. Again, I get it – it MUST be “right” if Grumpy Cat says “Yes.” I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE Grumpy Cat – but now, an image that started as a symbol of a committed, galvanized effort to bestow marriage equality to America’s LGBT citizens had been downgraded to a funny meme.

To all my amazing LGBT brethren and all our amazing, supportive straight allies, PLEASE, I beg you: get serious about marriage equality. Unify and appear prepared to do the work it takes to make marriage equality a reality in America. PLEASE refrain from making our movement a viral joke…

Listen, I am not some huge Debbie Downer, or a boohoo-er, or some bitter old curmudgeon. I am just a gay guy that wants the best not only for me and my partner/our relationship but for each of you as well. We CAN do this if we all get serious about this issue.

Please don’t hate me – think about what I have suggested. I think you will agree that we need to buckle down and keep our poker faces on as we enter this high-stakes game. Thanks!

 

 

 

Pictures Worth 1000 Words…

It’s often said a picture is worth 1000 words… Here are a few images to consider today, the day before The Supreme Court of The United States begins hearing oral arguments regarding overturning Prop 8 in California, thereby allowing gay couples to (once again) marry in that state and for repealing DOMA (technically a section of DOMA) that prevents the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

The time has come for America to once again be a world leader in civil rights and personal freedoms. Please feel free to share these images. Thanks…

Love is love

Out-for-Marriage

 

liberty

redShow your support for marriage equality – wear RED on Tuesday, 26 March 2013!

 

Faith, Hope and Charity

Although I am no longer an “…observant, practicing Catholic,” I still have a residual attachment to the faith. Surely the belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and all-forgiving God brings comfort to me at times and, while I no longer see God as a guy seated on a throne of clouds with an upside down bird above His head (no disrespect intended, BTW), I do believe there is Light and Goodness in The Universe that is divine in nature – I’ll leave it at that. Anyway…

Having grown up Catholic, I was forever surrounded by statues of saints and paintings of apostles and martyrs and all manner of religious iconography. I.LOVE.IT. I do – I love religious art. We have a few things around our house not only for their inherent beauty but also to honor whatever remnants of Catholicism still lurking in my soul. I mean, an oil painting of Christ hangs on the wall in our dining room, and I have a crucifix that was a gift one Christmas from my parents. When I look at these things, I smile…

Maybe it’s because we are entering Holy Week, or maybe because I got some bad news about a friend’s health yesterday – for whatever reason, this image has been stuck in my head for the past day or so:

charms

(click on image above to learn more about this charm and its inspiration)

Yup, that’s right – “Faith, Hope and Charity.” I bet there is not one single Catholic – current or former – that does not recognize this charm. My Grandmother had one she wore on a slender gold chain around her neck. My Mother had a similar one she wore on a bracelet around her wrist. I remember playing with my Mom’s bracelet as a child, wondering what each charm stood for – surely the cross stood for Faith, and the heart for Charity, but the anchor? Hope? No one could ever seem to clarify that for me. Even now, when I checked online, some sites said the anchor symbolizes Faith in God, our anchor, and the heart means Hope while the cross stands for Charity and giving. Other sites say the cross symbolizes Hope (as in Eternal Life), the anchor symbolizes Faith (Jesus was the Fisher of Men) and the heart represents Charity (think of it as the “goodness of your heart”).  I guess for me, all three symbols represent all three virtues – the Catholic faith is pretty big on that whole “trinity” thing.

So, yeah, that little charm has been on my mind for the past day or so. Seems silly to admit it, but I kinda’ wish I had one, like on a key chain or something. Even though I am NOT Catholic anymore, it still amazes me how such simple imagery can bring peace and comfort to me when I am troubled or uneasy. I’d “feel better” if I could fumble with these guys between my fingers.

My Mom and Grandma’s charms are long lost/have otherwise “departed” with my loved ones. Who knows – I may have to make a run to the closest religious supply company/jeweler and grab one of these for myself. I think my life would be a little more at ease…

When words are not enough…

Today, I received some news I cannot understand; it involves the health of one of my oldest, dearest friends and, to be honest, it ain’t great. In fact, it makes me really, really sad.

crying

The Universe pisses me off sometimes, and this is one of those times for sure.

This person and I were, at one time, inseparable – we worked together, we ran around together, we even had apartments in the same building. He was – and still is – like a brother to me. Life has “gotten in the way” and we are not nearly as close as we once were but he is one of “those” friends – you know, the kind that feels like you just spoke with them yesterday when it has been weeks or months since you last spoke.  It makes me sad that I was not able to be with him when he got this news, to be some sort of support and crutch to him. I hope in the coming weeks and months that we can spend time together and I can, in some small way, bring him comfort and happiness in his journey. I’d like that, and I think he would like that, too.

We have had many adventures together, he and I, and I expect this one to be a whopper. I mean, he’s the guy I sauntered backstage with at a Grace Jones concert and ate cheese off her “courtesy buffet tray,” LOL!  I’m not sure what the future holds for him, but I know I want to be a part of it. I also know this – if anyone can “get outta’ this mess,” it is my friend.

This quote just about sums up how I feel about you, DR –

teddy_bears_hugging-20600

“Of all the friends I’ve ever met, you’re the one I won’t forget and if I die before you do I’ll go to Heaven and wait for you.” – Unknown

Dem Bones, Dem bones, Dem SORE Bones

According to the internet, the adult male human body has a skeleton comprised of 206 bones. Two. Hundred. Six. Today, all of mine A-C-H-E…SkeletonFor people who follow my blog, you remember I am currently moving my interior design and home furnishing and accessory boutique business to a new location and, so far, it has been exhausting… I mean, I shouldn’t complain.

My partner, Martin and my business partner, Scott, have been pretty-much killing themselves almost daily this past week, and for that I am very thankful (not about their near-death moments but because of all of their help). I have tried to be as much help as I can but, to be honest, I am not too “handy,” nor am I very “mechanical” or even very “strong.” I like to think I am relatively charming, and that is certainly a talent that comes in handy but I am no musclebound hunk or any sort of three-handed handyman. So, I contribute what I can and hope it is enough…

However, the question still remains: Why am I so tired?

imtired

Clearly, I am no “spring chicken” anymore but, OMG, it seems like just THINKING about working makes me tired… Thank God for Martin and Scott. If we all live through this move, I vow to get in better shape. Plus – if the move turns out to be as profitable as I hope/dream/pray it is, I can even hire a personal trainer. Woohoo!

Please cross your fingers – only NINE days till our re-opening. Or, as I like to think of it, 206 x 9 MORE aches and pains.  🙂