Thursday, April 27, 2006

Meat Balls

Nothing says post softball game mixer like big trays of meat balls in preternaturally red sauce. I guess.

Softball players are a hungry lot, It seems. They engaged in a meatball feeding frenzy, their eyes rolled back in their heads.

I liked the addition of red gravy as splashed on the teams' livery. It looked like cartoon blood, as though they were taking bites out of one another in their marinara consumption orgy.

I enjoy the uniform pants in any case. Generally.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


After dessert,
we went to a warehouse party in Fishtown.
The street was lined with shiny late model imported automobiles, made glossier by the driving rain.
Only a short time ago, such parties were held in the lodgings of working artists, who dragged easels and work benches to one side in order to permit buddies' local bands to generate rent making keg guzzling enthusiasm at $10.00 a head,
and all the Yuengling Lager you could drink.

Now, The Future Yuppies of America, attending Ivy League universities across town, split the doubled $2500.00 rent (plus everything) four ways in order to reap the pussy premium of living somewhere "cool" (if still somewhat chilly in the winter months).
It was a frat party, with dreadlocks. These particular youths had constructed a large-ish skate board bowl just inside the entrance. My female companion observed that these were the very same demographic, of full breeding age now, that she'd baby sat in High School. I, to an elevated horror, realized that I could (technically) have fathered every single one of the guests, even this one: at approximately 5' 10" 195 lbs, who's broad back, shoulders and powerful arms had been nicely augmented by a fresh buzzdown. I ruminated on creating a new generation of baby sitter's charges of my own with buzzdown, 'till ultimately distracted by fragrant pizza summoning me from it's nearby corrugated lair. I liberated a slice, salty and slick, gliding it effortlessly into my mouth, as smoothly as I suspected that buzzdown's fat, veiny...


Look! There's a break in the tedious line which had been snaking endlessly from the toilet stationed next to the ping pong table, right in the center of the kitchen! Realizing how badly I had to go, I danced a truncated pee dance jig over to the bowl, and while gripping a 16 oz. plastic cup of Pabst Blue Ribbon between my teeth, unzipped with one hand and let go a steady yellow stream, the droning of which harmonized nicely with the clipping and popping trajectory of the ball on the green plywood playing surface just beyond my left shoulder. So positioned, dangling, with just the upper crack of my bare white ass presented to the revelers behind me, I took this picture as I continued to enjoy my greasy slice.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Between drinks, we noticed "Bombes" on the specials chalk board.

Intrigued, we ordered one, with forks for each of us, and one for the bartendress.

Inside, were layers of creamy mousse and yellow cake.

It was gone in the blink of an eye.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Goodmorning Fairmount

Some snapshots of my neighborhood this morning.

Most of the city is like Fairmount, a grid of three story brick row houses enlivened here and there by schools and churches. These shots are all within two blocks of my house.

The belfry to the left was built as part of The Masterman Orthopedic School for Crippled Children, which encloses four large internal courtyards while filling a city block. Unusual for city schools, it's all on one level, with ramps sweeping up on either side of grand limestone porticos on the east and west facades. It's like a salesman's sample of 1930's Neo-Georgian architecture, having at least one of every possible variation of period ornament. It's now an elementary school.

This is my block, my house is on the left (the really crummy one). The trees are just budding pale green, but will fill out shortly into a dark leafy cathedral. My hostas out front welcome the shade.

This is across the corner on the same street, looking south. The grey stone wall at the end of the street surrounds the 1820's Penitentiary. These folks have envy inducing crab apple trees lining their block.

These are Madame Lee's lilacs, three doors down. She runs a tiny grocery from the basement of her house. The scent of the flowers rises up to my open bedroom bay window and wafts in on the chilly night time breezes. It reminds me of the house where I grew up.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ghost Chairs

I lived once in an impossibly grand, impossibly decrepit 18th century country house, as the informal ward of the Squire; like Dick Grayson under the care and tutelage of Bruce Ward. The Squire had held dozens of elaborate parties over a dozen years and just about any gay man over over forty in the city has memories of the halls ringing with laughter and the lawns swarmed with lithe fellows in button down shirts, trampling the thick green grass with their penny loafers and Top Siders, or soiling the knees of their khakis in the cover of the magnolia hedges and holly trees. That was all before my time. While I was in residence, he and his partner held a sit down Thanksgiving dinner for one hundred people. In the perfectly symmetrical elliptical salon, the deep window embrasures ledges and the mantle shelves of the twin fireplaces, and the tables, were filled with candles. Their soft focus flicker blurred the harshness of cracked sagging plaster and moldings so chipped and scarred that they looked as if they'd been chewed. Though love seats and blanket chests were pressed into service, every guest had a seat around the green baize draped saw buck tables configured in a giant H-shape, which filled the twenty by thirty foot room. I was hugely impressed by all this, and especially by the vast availability of seating options. The Squire laughed and told me that it was always good to have extra chairs, in case company comes. One can never have too many chairs.

The chairs pictured were imagined in 2001 by a designer who's work I often admire, but who's personality I kinda hate. For years now I've hated him. He was one of the 80's design "star" personalities, marketed himself just as heavily as his idiosyncratic output. He's since furthered his career by decorating expensive boutique hotels frequented by the media/design crowd, and designing condos for them to live in when they return home to L.A. and South Beach. He is a "brand". He is French.

The chairs are ridiculously expensive, especially when you consider that you can get a half dozen other plastic stacking chairs at the drug store for about the price of a case of beer. The only reason I have them at all, is 'cause they were used in a window display, so I got them for cheap cheap after it came down. It's been pointed out that my basement and garage are largely unusable due to a centuries spanning survey collection of chairs (among other things) and that I am hardly lacking in places to sit. However, the more chairs, well, the merrier - and there are a number of 'em.
So festive.

In the freight elevator lobby I played with my new chairs for some time after they arrived, arranging them in rows and columns and conversational groupings and taking pictures of them in varying lights. A painter from down the hall witnessed this and observed that the transparent chairs would be ideal accommodations for all of my imaginary friends. I recalled a line from a stand up guy on T.V., who reminisced that he "only had two friends as a child...they were both imaginary...and they only talked to each other." I couldn't bear the potential snub, so dragged them back into the studio and stacked them behind the black vinyl chair in the lounge. It's always good to have extra chairs. In case company comes.

That Thanksgiving was the last event held at the big old house. Soon afterwards I saw the oval room stripped to it's neoclassical bones, no table, no gold framed portraits, no book cases filled with the history and design volumes I studied at the Squire's knee, across the hall in the perfectly square pea green room where we sat long into the nights, smoking hashish from a china trade opium water pipe engraved with temples and Mandarins. Nothing but furrowed floor boards and a few brown leaves, and naked windows with panes loose from dry rot and missing putty looking over the sloping brown south lawn and the river beyond skeletal leafless grey trees. I picture my new chairs in that room perfectly and equally emulating both the fine proportions and stark emptiness of the once vibrant space, now occupied only by ghosts and spiders. I think the squire would approve. I think he would say that they are perfect and that we must have a hundred of them mirroring the shape of the room with their oval backs as they lined the curved walls and standing sentry like long the broad passage through the center of the house. They would be ideal accommodations for all the guests who are now only memories, and besides, one can never have too many chairs.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Roof Top

Spring photo shoot for new blog head shot.

No usable mug shot resulted.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I am short. Bigger men will often say that I'm a "cute little guy". I'm flattered that they find me attractive, but I wish they come up with a different label for my stature. I'm a full grown, if 3/4 scale, man.

I'm not little.
I'm short.

Perhaps even "runty" which somehow I prefer. I am certainly the shortest man in my family. The men of my Father's generation and previous ones all began adulthood topping out at over six feet, and looking like extras in the tennis club scene of a Merchant Ivory Production; fair, blue eyed, gracefully long limbed, v tapered and naturally athletic. The photos show that all were destined eventually to thicken and stoop into slightly more linear versions of those garishly painted, cheaply carved softwood ye olde sea cap'n figurines you can buy in gas station/gifts shops on your drive out to Provincetown (along with tiny imitation glass fishing floats in coarse rope netting, $3.00 flip flops, and Coppertone) Their faces were destined to shrivel like shrunken apple head dolls. Their noses, consistent throughout the clan and prominent to begin with, would thicken and fissure into ruddy figs under the relentless assault of sun and wind and salt. But they'd still be tall.

I blame my Mother for being height challenged. Mom is 5' 0" which I gather is a reasonable height for a woman born into rural poverty on a plantation outside of Lares Puerto Rico, before World War II. Maria Pelegrina Caban Ortiz Velez brought some fresh and distinctly different genetic material into my fathers old Yankee family when, eighteen months after marrying him, she bore the first of his two natural sons, my older brother (the future starting linebacker), who emerged the size of the turkey in that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting. Ten months after that, she had me.

Once I asked my Mother why she hadn't taken a longer breeding break. Very typically she answered with both less and considerably more information than I wanted; "We made you in the kitchen." she stated, and then after a moment of dreamy reflection clarified; "No... No, it just started in the kitchen...". I surmised that I was "unplanned". I turned out to be sandy haired and pale like my father and his brothers, and generations of antecedents, but the similarities ended there. Perhaps her plumbing had been fatigued by the gestation efforts expended on my strapping brother's behalf, but for whatever reason, I was tiny. I stayed that way, looking two or three or four grades smaller than my class mates all through childhood. I wasn't able to enjoy the "you must be this tall" amusement park rides at Rocky Point 'till years after I didn't care anymore. My jacket for the Sophomore dance was purchased in the Boys' Department. Once, at seventeen while driving a girl and a guy I'd been (separately) screwing around with to the beach in my Dad's faded 1965 Dodge Coronet, a cop pulled me over. Dwarfed by the huge car and enormous Elvis Costello inspired horn rims through which I could barely see over the trash can lid sized steering wheel, the officer determined that I must have taken my older brother's license as there was no way I could be older than thirteen. It was humiliating.

When I entered adulthood it was not as a miniature of my paternal uncles and cousins. I was proportioned as I suspected my Mother's male relatives ( I've never met any members of her family) must have been formed, and at 5' 5" of similar stature, maybe even on the tallish side. From the front my torso formed a trapezoid not that much wider at the shoulders than the narrow hips, though considerably thicker around a proportionally large chest. Below my small waist stumpy legs swelled over sturdy thighs and then again through pronounced calves tapering to narrow ankles, on their short journey down to disproportionately large feet ( 9 1/2 D, the size which always sells out first). My arms effectively kept my hands attatched to my body without drawing any undue attention to themselves. With periodic muscle mass and belly size fluctuations, this is how I've remained. I imagine the whole apparatus to be ideal for tracking through miles of jungle in pursuit of wild boar or shimmying up coconut palms. Neither quarry was available in my home town, or anywhere I've lived since.

There are some benefits to Mom's genes. Her tiny nose seems to have countered the blessedly not inherited scale of the schnozes I'd seen staring down at me from the portraits hanging on the front parlor walls of my late Grandfather's house. I seem to have suffered less the ravages of time than have my younger cousins. Though only the most observant physical anthropologist or forensic technician would recognize the Caribbean aboriginal skull and physiognomy camouflaged by my British Isles pallor, several men who "only like Latino guys" have found themselves attracted to green eyed whitey-white seeming me. Maybe it's pheromones.

One of those guys was a not tall, broad shouldered man with substantial fur suggested at his neck and the thick fore arms revealed by the pushed up sleeves of his tight thermal shirt. Rather than telling me I was "cute" he flattered me by saying that I had a well modulated voice, and should be in broadcasting. I'm sure I blushed. Later as I faced away from him searching for cast off socks and jeans in tangled bed clothes, he watched me from the next room through the open pocket doors. In a thick accent similar to but far more refined than my Mother's, he observed; "Frrrum dey bahk, jew look like a leetle boy." I turned and faced him. "Oh! But den jew turn arrround" he purred, And jew are a MAHNNN..." I smiled, because as he'd delightedly discovered only shortly before,
I'm not little.

I'm short.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Spring Photos

I should be using my fancy digital camera to take pictures of the natural world awakening from its winter slumber. The trees along Green St. and 19th approaching my house form a lacy canopy over the pavement, a tunnel of pristine white blossoms sculpted into a faintly box like shape by the moving and delivery trucks bringing new residents and fancy furniture to an old and plain neighborhood. The dull straw colored grass planted last year in the recently laid out dog park along the penitentiary walls, is faintly shaded with luminescent pale yellow green growth, intensifying each day in depth of color and increasing in contrast with the backdrop of crumbling grey stone ramparts. The daffodil borders set by the new 30 something yuppies who've joined the old lady busy bodies of the residents association (not long ago devoted to reducing petty crime and chasing gangs of sullen teenagers off the stoops of vacant houses, but lately focused on parking and "beautification")are in full golden blossom.

Instead, my thoughts have turned decidedly to getting laid, so I'm using it to take pictures of myself to post on various hook up sites for whatever attention and approbation they'll garner.
Like these two.

Um, call me?

...Leo, 5'5"... turn-ons: long walks on moonlit beaches, nude volley ball, pillow fights...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Spring Drive

Sunday was the most beautiful day of the new spring.

After my 2PM awakening (it would have only been 1PM without the "spring forward", which isn't all that bad for a Sunday) I spent most of the hours before sundown driving aimlessly about the city with the top down. I found a great parking spot in the middle of the rapidly and annoyingly gentrifying Washington Square West neighborhood. It's where all the queer bars are. In parking as in city living generally, one must often compromise square footage for location. The best spots are often the tiniest. I have been known and lauded for my parking prowess, both in locating primo spots and being able to shoehorn my charriot into their confines. The current rig has been giving me problems. Though smaller than the late Big Yellow Chrysler convertible, the Sleek Black Leopard's wheel base is strangely configured with a long overhang between bumper and axle under an exageratedly lengthened hood, and a short rear deck with the wheels pushed to the back. I've had difficulty plotting my trajectory. I was able with the Chrysler to jam the thing into a spot EIGHT INCHES longer than the machine. It would take seven or eight wheel cuts, but I could do it. With my background and ego, having to actually pull out and re-approach, with a line of Philadelphia drivers patiently leaning on their horns, is deeply humiliating. No such difficulties Sunday night; I slipped in in one smooth pass, palming the wheel with one hand with the other arm resting on the the edge of the drivers door. About a foot of clearance on either side. Not bad.

Two gay bars in Philly now have decent beer on tap; Woodlies, with the fine if slightly sweet Flying Fish ESA (overpriced at $4.50 a pint), and The Westbury, which features Yards Belgian Saisson and their brilliant Thomas Jefferson Ale. At $3.00 a pint, both go for less than Budweiser and are WAY cheap in the 'hood, especially now that the bridge and tunnel crowd has arrived. It's brewed from a Monticello recipie and is my current beverage of choice. Thom also favored Veuve Clicot Ponsardin Champagne, which I would drink alot more of if I could somehow rationalize the cost. I've tried. The Sage of the Blue Ridge Mountains never bothered much with budgeting, and ended his life much in arrears. Similarly, it's likely that I too will be carried dead and cold out of my crumbling, constantly changing never finished house. I think me 'n' T. J. coulda been great pals. I wonder what he would have driven?

In addition to an afinity for my favorite dead president, the Westbury has a warm welcoming staff and does not reek of stale beer, cigarettes and despair like my usual watering hole. It's cheerful. On the sidewalk in front of The Westbury was a pair of handsome gay homosexual men, easy and relaxed, on either side of a mid 70's Honda CB 350 motorcycle. The bike's gleaming unrestored chrome and orange and black paint work mimicked the '76 CB 550 Four I dumped on a coastal highway in North Carolina the summer I turned twenty four (I picked myself up off the sand and gravel shoulder without a scratch on me, the bike was less fortunate). We talked motorcycles; they have several. They informed me that they come to the Westbury most Sundays. They suggested we go riding. The thicker, darker one got on the back ( note: bottom ) behind his lanky blue eyed partner, and they rode away leaving me with their card in my jeans pocket. Inside, I saw several refugees from the Bike Stop and didn't pay for most of my beers. I decided I'd be back the next Sunday.

It was chilly in the wee hours when I got back into the car, alone on the stretch of Broad Street which had been tightly lined with cars hours before. I was too lazy to open the trunk and extract the vintage stiff dark blue new-old-stock Maveric jean jacket with long flapping pointy collar I'd picked up during my wanderings (i'm bragging here) so pressed the button to raise the top. The top closes itself in a mechanical coreography. The side windows lower, the canvas raises and meets the top edge of the windshield, and worm gears tighten and snug the two together, then, the side windows raise and the performance is complete. Usually. Last night the drivers side window stayed down, which it does from time to time.

That system failure invairiably signals storms are a commin'. Steady rain began in the late morning and has continued 'till now as I write this, and my corduroys are stuck to my ass with the water sponged up from the soggy leather when I parked downstairs. The patrons of the new Thai place on the corner fill up all the spots this time of night, but i found one right by the door. A tight one. In one sharply angled approach and seven turns of the wheel I got my baby in there. Pleased, I measured the space with my fingers and placed them on a tape when I got up here to see just how close it was. SIX AND A HALF INCHES.

Spring is measuring up pretty good, so far.
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