In praise of cruising

Mark Turner in The Observer: Welcome to the cruising capital of the world

Whether he was careless, reckless or foolish, as some have claimed, really isn’t very interesting. I also don’t care if he takes drugs (‘Shock! Horror! Pop Star Smokes Dope!’). I don’t care if he’s a well-adjusted homosexual. I don’t care about his pending ‘wedding’.

The article includes not only a defense of George Michael but also brief reviews of some London cruising locales.


I’ve had a month of not always knowing if I’m coming or going. It started off the second week of May with a visit to Fry Communications, which prints and mails UU World, to meet our account rep, see the magazine on the press, and get a tour. Fry is located in Mechanicsburg, Pa., so I flew to Philadelphia, had a lovely visit with my friend Barbara and dinner at Vortex House, then drove west. The press visit started early and went right up until I had to start back to the airport.

As interesting as the press tour was (and yes, I guess I really have become a thorough magazine editor, because I did think it was fascinating), the best thing about the trip was the countryside. It’s nothing like what I grew up with, but from my first visit to Philadelphia I loved the countryside of SE Pa. The rolling hills and plentiful open space and vistas raise my spirit. There’s a lot of hayfields and cattle, which supply two odors from childhood that somehow make me feel like all is right with the world. And mechanicsburg is a small city. All in all, it renewed my disattisfaction with living in a city.

The weekend of that week was the biannual Lavender Country and Folk Dance (LCFD) dance camp. It was at a new place for us, a YMCA camp in Connecticut. That was the weekend there was so much rain and flooding in Mass. It was pretty wet at the camp, but not terrible. It was on a lake, lots of trees, very picturesque. I didn’t do a whole lot of dancing, but there was a fantastic hambo workshop where I really got the woman’s role down–not with everyone I danced with, but with three of the guys especially. I also finished a good book while there. Very satisfying weekend.

The I went back to Pa. (by car) to facilitate the Quaker Workers Gathering the following week. It was held at Kirkridge, an ecumenical retreat center in the Poconos. I had had mixed feelings after having accepted the invitation, but it was a good experience. And the participants liked it, too, so that turned out well.

And then the next week I was at a two-day Certified ScrumMaster training. (You may now say “sir” when you address me.) Scrum is a management method used in software development, but my colleagues and I will be giving it a try with magazine production. (We started our first sprint on June 1.)

Then the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair was a must-do on Memorial Day weekend, combined with a visit in Amherst with my friends Jan and Ken. I tried (briefly) a spinning wheel at the fair, but ended up buying two more drop spindles (so I can have more than one spinning project at a time, of course!), some raw fleece (because I’m curious to see how it spins. I’ve felted raw fleece and loved it.), some laceweight yarn, and a locker-hook rug kit (because you can never have too many hobbies).

Jan and I also went to the National Yiddish Book Center (ייִדישע ביכער-צענטראַלע), where I bought a great yiddish alef-bays poster and several books. (Sonja and I have agreed to learn yiddish together.)

For those keeping score, that adds up to the coming week being my first full week in the office in a month!

Ten things in London

Since I’ve been totally negligent about the Friday Tenâ„¢, I thought I’d post these ten things I’m looking forward to doing while I visit London for the next eleven days:

  1. Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites (which is the reason for the trip)
  2. Visiting my friend John and meeting his partner Nick
  3. V&A: Style and Splendor and Arts and Crafts collections
  4. Neal’s Yard Dairy
  5. New Year’s Eve in Brighton
  6. Rubens exhibit at the National Gallery with a fellow member of Copyediting‑L
  7. Favorite museums: National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain
  8. British Library
  9. Eating and drinking: Indian food and bitter
  10. Theater: Billy Elliot — The Musical, Edward Scissorhands, or maybe a preview of Gutenburg! The Musical   


Visiting Brawley

I flew home to California to see my family at the end of last week, and I took a few pictures to give an idea of where I grew up. Here are a few pictures taken just a few miles west of my parents’ home (they live in town).




This photo was taken driving east toward the Chocolate Mountains. You can see the Algodones Sand Dunes just before the mountains.


Here’s the lifeblood of Imperial Valley:


And here’s my family:


Me with my parents.


My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew.

Montréal to Boston

On our drive home we decided on the spur of the moment to visit the Bread and Puppet Museum in Glover, Vermont. It was time for us to have lunch, so we stopped at the general store in Glover. Generous deli sandwiches. And stuffed animals. Lots of them. One aisle has freezer cases on one side, shelves of chips on the other, and a row of deer down the middle. One of the deer is being attacked by a small bobcat. In another room is a moose. Sorry, no photos.

The Bread and Puppet Museum is in an old barn. It is a surreal space, packed to the rafters (literally) with puppets of all sorts.






the WHY CHEAP ART? manifesto

PEOPLE have been THINKING too long that
ART is a PRIVILEGE of the MUSEUMS & the
It does not belong to banks & fancy investors
you. ART has to be CHEAP & available to
because it is the INSIDE of the

Art wakes up sleepers!
Art is like green trees!
Art is like white clouds in blue sky!

Bread & Puppet Glover, Vermont, 1984

Jardin botanique de Montréal/Montreal Botanical Garden

One of our priority destinations in Montreal was Jardin botanique de Montréal/Montreal Botanical Garden , since we didn’t get there last year.

Here are a few photos of greenhouse plants and the nearby Olympic Stadium with and without clouds.





And some photos of the koi in the pond in the Japanese Garden:




Finally, a lotus from the Chinese Garden and Bob in the courtyard:



Up next: bonsai and penjing from the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, respectively.

(And with this post I’m trying out the “publish on” function of Typepad. I’m actually writing this on Wednesday evening but it should post on Thursday mid-day.)

Ottawa and Montreal

Yes, I’m descending into travelogue. I figure, if I use a blog to keep track of books I’ve read (usually with minimal commentary), then I might as well use it as an aide-memoire for trips as well.

Bob and I left for Ottawa on Saturday, August 27. We had a pleasant drive up through Franconia Notch in New Hampshire and across Quebec through Montreal. Our favorite signs (sorry, no photos) were the one that looked like an open dogfood can with the international NO! symbol across it (No Dogfood!), and the one with the diamond dipicting a leaping deer above two smaller rectangular signs: “night danger” and “danger de nuit.” Wouldn’t that make a great drag name, Danger de Nuit?

Sunday was Ottawa’s gay pride parade and festival. It was pretty low-key, but there was a former National Party leader and a group of Crafty Queers carrying enormous knitting needles. I was prone on the grass tending to a very bad backache, and everyone who was passing anything out ran over to dump several on my lap. Bob and I must now have between us a dozen little plastic bags with condoms, lube, and instructions. (Well, if you must know, we tossed the instructions so we wouldn’t be lugging around so much in our pockets.)

I hope to get photos from Bob of the Mackenzie King estate in Gatineau, just across the river from Ottawa. Mackenzie King was a prime minister of Canada who never married and had sceances to contact his mother. He gardened, designed and built lovely country homes, and collected antiques. Hmmm. As my coworker Kathy said today, “Circumstantial evidence, but he’s clearly a Mama’s boy, so what does it matter anyway?” At any rate, his estate made a good outdoor activity on Monday.

The Musée de beaux-arts du Canada/National Gallery of Canada is in a lovely building designed by the same architect who did the Peabody-Essex in Salem, Massachusetts. Two really delightful discoveries there: the Group of Seven, early twentieth-century Canadian artists who sought to evoke the north of Canada; and Janet Cardiff’s Forty-Part Motet, a reworking of “Spem in Alium” by Thomas Tallis, recorded with individual mics for all forty singers and played with individual speakers arranged around the salvaged Rideau Street convent chapel. Sitting in the center of the space and listening to the music was wonderful, but just as wonderful was walking through the Canadian galleries and noticing it just at the edge of hearing.

Our final attraction in Ottawa was Le Musée candien des civilisations/Canadian Museum of Civilization. Building by the same architect as the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., with large organically-shaped spaces inside and out. One of the largest halls houses lots of totem poles and six Native houses from the Pacific coast. Tucked into a seating area on another floor were nine Inuit stone carvings of stylized animals. On part of the main floor is the Canadian Postal Museum/Musée canadien de la poste. So many tiny little pieces of art were just overwhelming. We were lucky to see a temporary exhibition on Pompei. Bob’s been there, but I’ve never seen anything but photos. I thought this exhibit was extraordinarily well done. There were casts of the skeletons and bodies in each area along with some of the artefacts found with them and murals from the rooms in which they were found. Very powerful.

Ottawa dining highlights included an Indian restaurant near our host’s home and a creperie in Gatineau across the river.

Tomorrow: photos from Montreal sites.