Archive for May, 2023

Equipment days

May 25, 2023

From my 5/24 posting “More wheat-straw-ware”:

In my 5/20 posting “More new things”, I reported on replacing some thin, cheap, and ugly plastic plates, plates that I had just endured for years, with wheat straw dinner plates — 4 deep plates and 6 flat plates — which are sturdyunbreakable, lightweight, microwave-safe, and attractive (in a variety of muted colors [5/25: some would say these pastel colors are faggy, and I say bring ’em on]).

So pleased was I with these with these that on 5/22 I ordered 5 small plates and an assortment of bowls: 6 huge ones, 8 cereal bowls, and 5 small bowls. These arrived yesterday, 5/23 [photos from the makers below]

… [then] went for 8 13.5-oz mugs with handles … and 4 15-oz. cups with handles, which I hope can serve in place of tall glasses. [more photos below]

These are arriving today. Also arriving today: 2 OXO Good Grips dish brushes, to replace an old and dying — not to mention overharsh for wheat-straw-ware — dish brush.

And while I’m on the topic of household furnishings, I’ll throw in a photo of a hospital male urinal, since 3 of these are significant features of my household: my worktable urinal Otto (named for the big O of his mouth) and the two bedroom urinals, the OvalTwins, Ono and Ona (oval because their mouths got squinched into an oval, rather than round shape; they’re twins because they’re hard to tell apart, though careful inspection will show which one is Ono).


Henry Arnold Zwicky, of Greensboro NC

May 25, 2023

HENRY ZWICKY OBITUARY, published by the Greensboro News & Record on May 24, 2023.

Henry as a young man.

Henry A[rnold] Zwicky, 82, passed on to his permanent home in heaven on Friday, May 19, 2023.

He is survived by nieces; Cathy (Joseph) Burton, Marian (David) Bookhart, Alison (Mark) Claudy, Virginia (James) Ansell, mother of nieces Jean Zwicky Day, special cousin Debby McGann; and many great nieces and nephews.

Henry is predeceased by his parents, Fred and Lucille Cole Zwicky, brother; Fred Zwicky; sister Eleanor Zwicky Justice.

Henry attended Lindley Junior and Greensboro Senior High School. He graduated from N.C. State University and served as a member of the NCSU Rifle team, concert and marching band. He enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing and photography. He spent over 35 years of his career working as an HVAC engineer at AC Corporation. He also worked for M.L. Eakes Company, the Bahnson Company and completed many major projects for Guilford Mills. Henry was a life time member of ASHRAE [the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers] and [the] N.R.A.

The last of the North Carolina Zwickys (in my family), almost exactly my age but quite different from me; he was a guy guy and something of a loner.

His father Fred was the oldest of the five children of Melchior and Bertha Zwicky, and gave his younger son the middle name of his little brother (12 years younger), my father Arnold.

We’re talking considerable time depths here. Henry’s father was born just after the turn of the 20th century (over 120 years ago), my father (and mother) in the year World War I began (109 years ago), Henry and I in 1940, at the beginning of World War II (82 years ago).

So this truly is a Mary, Queen of Scots, not dead yet, posting.

Welcome to Thursday

May 25, 2023

11:45 Wednesday night, woke for my approximately midnight whizz, interrupting a deeply satisfying buddy-sex dream (in which hot man-man sex is combined with affectionate friendship), which I hoped to return to as quickly as possible, but even as I was happily urinating, my mind began racing with other thoughts, about moral monsters like Helmet Grabpussy, about brands of masculinity, about my kitchen utensils, and on and on.

I lay back on the bed, but the prospects for a reunion with sleep seemed dim. And then my Apple Music brought me Schubert’s “Trout” piano quintet, one of my favorite pieces of music, beautifully constructed, also full of playfulness and joy (two pillars of my internal world), and I had to listen to it, all the way through, while I contemplated the wonderful humane gravity of MSNBC’s commentator Jonathan Capehart, who happens to be both black and gay, and that led me of course to Karine Jean-Pierre, and somehow to the raw power of Tina Turner, and then I realized I had to whizz some more, and oh crap, I was hopelessly Up for the Day. After only 7 hours of sleep, in the middle of the night, but Up for the Day.

So here I am. About to have breakfast at 2 am. The t-shirt that came up in the rotation for today is my FAGGOT t-shirt, which suggests  I need to put on the whole armor of the Proud Queer Warrior, that I might be able to stand against the wiles of a hostile world.

(Meanwhile, all the joints in my right hand are once again in great pain, so that I’m doing whatever I can left-handed. Oh hell, now both hands have gone into minor-league shaking — see previous posting on this affliction — but that will pass away in an hour or two, and I can just work right through it. No bout of nominal aphasia this morning, however.)

Now I await the first of three Amazon deliveries for today, scheduled for between 4 and 8 am. Well, here I am, up and alert.


More wheat-straw-ware

May 24, 2023

In my 5/20 posting “More new things”, I reported on replacing some thin, cheap, and ugly plastic plates, plates that I had just endured for years, with wheat straw dinner plates — 4 deep plates and 6 flat plates — which are sturdy, unbreakable, lightweight, microwave-safe, and attractive (in a variety of muted colors).

So pleased was I with these with these that on 5/22 I ordered 5 small plates and an assortment of bowls: 6 huge ones, 8 cereal bowls, and 5 small bowls. These arrived yesterday, 5/23, and required me to reduce 7 cardboard boxes to small pieces that will go into the recycling bin. For this I used my trusty box cutter, which I have become quite adept at wielding; I am now a skilled down-breaker of cardboard boxes.

Yesterday, I managed to return all the old (heavy and eminently breakable) bowls to their original places in my kitchen cabinets — a task that, now that I am 5′7″ rather than my original 5′10″, and disabled, required stretching to painful limits and handling the bowls with great care. But I did it, without breaking any bowls or parts of my body. The new bowls are nothing like the old ones in style, but they’re charming in their own way, plus easy to use.

That left drinking vessels: glasses, mugs, and cups. These are all regrettably heavy, but the cups and mugs have handles; the glasses were carefully selected to have flared rims; ordinary straight-sided glasses are hell for me to use, since I have to grasp and hold them using thumb and forefinger, whose muscles barely work for me, and then painfully, but a lip gives me some support.

I knew ahead of time that plastic glasses, including the wheat straw composites, are almost all straight-sided. Nobody does flared rims, apparently, but there are companies that make fairly tall glasses with handles — one that offers good-looking 17-oz. glasses with handles, but they wouldn’t arrive until mid-July; they weren’t so damn wonderful that I’d wait six weeks for delivery, so I crossed them off my shopping list. Went for 8 13.5-oz mugs with handles (I use mugs for lots of things, including as small urinal-substitutes — I need to have urinals to hand all over the place, and there’s no reason they all have to look like medical equipment), and 4 15-oz. cups with handles, which I hope can serve in place of tall glasses.

Everything arrives tomorrow or Friday. I see more cardboard break-down in my future. Meanwhile, I’m washing glasses, cups, and mugs, and putting them back on the shelves they came from. Hard work for me, but there’s something especially satisfying about washing glassware in hot soapy water, rinsing it, and then drying it with a dishcloth so that it gleams. Maybe I was a dishwasher in a diner in a previous life.


A moment of understanding

May 24, 2023

This is the first of what might turn into a long series of postings about What I Did the Day Before Bob Dylan’s Birthday (Dylan is just a few months younger than me, but he’s in way better shape than I am), aka yesterday, 5/23 — which was packed with terrible pain (I awoke with a fiercely disabled right hand, and a sore left thumb); an enormous number of achievements; several striking epiphanies, large and small; a pile of useful and attractive acquisitions (more straw-wheat-ware!); an excellent morning appointment with my rheumatologist (my inflammation guy); an interval of brisk walking (with my walker) inside Palo Alto Medical Foundation that was, astonishingly, entirely free of my vexing Dyspnea on Exertion; a lot of correspondence with friends; dealing with a collection of baffling administrative things, most still unresolved; and, of course, shaving myself, cleaning the kitchen, and making my bed, in case a friend would be coming by to take some household photos for me (I want things to be nice for visitors).


Who am I kidding?

May 24, 2023

(Note: in this posting I’m going to be unrelentingly careful about the way I frame descriptions of linguistic phenomena (not falling back on the descriptive language of school grammar, which would be familiar to readers but which I believe to be fucked up beyond repair). So there will be a lot of technical talk here; please try to play along, but I don’t think there’s any way to do this right without re-thinking everything from the ground up.)

This is about a perfectly common expression — Who am I kidding? — that went past me in a flash on Facebook this morning but caused me (as a student of GUS — grammar, usage, and style / register) to reflect on the pronoun case in it. On the interrogative human pronoun, appearing here in what I’ll call its Form 1, who, rather than its Form 2, whom.

The pronoun in this expression is the direct object of the verb in the expression, KID, appearing in sentence-initial position (appearing “fronted”) in the WH-question construction of English. There’s nothing at all remarkable about this: in general, both forms of this pronoun are available as syntactic objects (of verbs or prepositions) in the language, differing only in their style / register (very roughly, formal whom vs informal who), with the special case of an object pronoun actually in combination with its governing preposition, which is  obligatorily in Form 2:

Who / Whom did you speak to? BUT *To who / ✓to whom did you speak?

So there’s nothing remarkable about Who am I kidding? It’s just informal.

What’s remarkable is the unacceptability of Whom am I kidding? The stylistic discord between the formality of object whom and the informality of the idiom WH-Pro am I kidding? is unresolvable. To put it another way, the choice of the Form 1 pronoun here is part of the idiom. Just like the choice of the PRP form of the verb KID, conveying progressive aspect: Who do I kid? lacks the idiomatic meaning.


Raisin d’Ȇtre

May 23, 2023

Today’s Bizarro continues the Wayno / Piraro explorations of outrageous puns:

(#1) The title raisin d’être is an extraordinary pun on the French nominal raison d’être (literally ‘reason for being’), but with English raisin [ˈrezn] ‘dried grape’ in the place of French raison [ˌreˈzɔ̃] ‘reason’ (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

English [ˈrezn] ‘dried grape’ and French [ˌreˈzɔ̃] ‘reason’ share the initial segmental phonology [rez], but otherwise are phonetically quite distant (aside from being in two different languages) — utterly different prosody (accent + accentless vs. secondary accent + primary accent), with final syllables that share only an element of nasality (syllabic nasal consonant, nasalized vowel).

The basis of the pun, from NOAD:

noun raison d’être: the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence: an institution whose raison d’être is public service broadcasting. ORIGIN French, literally ‘reason for being’.

What makes the pun so — forgive me — delicious is the fact that French raisin does not mean ‘dried grape’ but in fact  ‘grape’; a raisin in French is a raisin sec (literally ‘dry grape’). French raisin d’être would presumably mean something like ‘grape of being’.

Earlier from Bizarro in the outrageous pun genre, from my 5/21 posting “It’s endive!”: alive [ǝˈlajv] in It’s alive! vs. endive [ˈɛnˌdajv] in the pun, sharing the final segmental material [ajv], but utterly different prosodically (accentless + accented vs. primary accent + secondary accent) and in their initial segmental material ([ǝl] vs. [ɛnd]).

But phonetically very imperfect puns can succeed as jokes if their basis is a well-known formula: a quotation (as in It’s endive!), an idiom (as in raison d’être), whatever.

Such a clean old man

May 22, 2023

(considerable talk about male genitals, man-on-man sex, masturbation, and excretion, mostly in street language — pretty much a dirty jackpot — so not for kids or the sexually modest)

In conversation with my caregiver Erick Barros on 5/18, he complimented me on my being well-groomed and smelling good; this was not mere pleasant social talk, but a significant professional opinion from an experienced employee of Bay Area Geriatric. Who has no doubt seen aged folk who have tended to disregard grooming and bodily hygiene in the face of pain and concern with more pressing matters of life; and especially some men who tend to see things through the lens of a normative masculinity that (as part of a rejection of anything that smacks of femininity) views disregard for grooming and cleanliness as an assertion of masculinity — the attitude that leads to all-male getaways where the guys defiantly don’t shave, bathe, or change into fresh clothing and generally behave crudely (as an escape from the strictures of women).


Street Life

May 21, 2023

A just-installed photo gallery on the wall above the desk in the study of my condo. An addition to the visual density of the place, providing enjoyment for me, but also intended to absorb and please friends and visitors (I am a deeply sociable person, and I like to entertain, in several senses.)

About Street Life. A display of six sex-tinged (but not actually X-rated) photos of men on the street (from Samson McGee, who maintains a gigantic library of malesex photos for sale), each with a fortune from a fortune cookie. I have given them titles and ordered them below in a kind of natural progression; here with the fortunes:

— Soon Paid Off: street hustler, iconic and tough; All of your hard work will soon be paid off.

— Performance over Speed: street hustler, not at all toughened up yet; People forget how fast you did a job — but they remember how well you did it.

— Time Not Money: two sailors, possibly cruising, maybe even hustling; A friend asks only for your time and not money.

— Offer Affection and a Sea-going Hard-On: two sailors strolling, one with a hard-on; Love is being offered to you, be affectionate in return!

— Offer Affection and an Unbuttoned Hard-On: two guys talking on the street, one with a hard-on and his fly open; [once again] Love is being offered to you, be affectionate in return!

— Fish Sticks and Moose Knuckles: two guys talking on the street  in front of a shop selling fish sticks (one sporting a tremendous moose-knuckle); Every wise man started out by asking many questions.

Once again, I would like to give you a photo of the display, but I have to wait until I can get someone to take a picture for me.

The visual density of my environment. First there are the books — in the big main room, the study, and the bedroom. Mostly a deeply random collection of things saved from the dispersal of my 40,000-volume professional library, though there are some coherent subcollections. But possibly worth scanning: I doubt that there’s anyone else in the world with this collection of titles, so you might find some surprises.

Then on almost every remaining horizontal surface, collections of objects — remarkable, pretty, funny, sexy, artfully made, full of affectionate associations. Gay symbols, penguins, mammoths, phallic symbols. In the heavily X-rated bedroom, representations of dicks, simulacra of dicks, creatures with bodyparts in the shape of dicks, and so on.

And on almost every available vertical surface, artworks, cartoons, collages, Zwicky images, postcards (men, animals, food, whatever), and photographs, both family photographs  and hot guys. In the heavily X-rated bedroom, a huge assortment of my XXX-rated homoerotic comic collages.

Much here to amuse the eye and engage the mind. Come visit sometime.



Two homoerotic angels for a Sunday morning

May 21, 2023

(Warning: There will be genitally explicit male nude art works, if that sort of thing offends you. On the other hand, it’s Art, and we should all be able to take it in stride.)

From Pinterest this morning, where the drawings weren’t sourced:

(#1) Google Images identifies this as an Japanese anime drawing, but I haven’t been able to place it in the context of any particular story (but if you’re into this sort of thing, that’s one hot angel-boy)

(#2) This turns out to be a hematite-red monochrome drawing (artist not identified) based on the 2011 painting Fallen Angel by Italian artist Roberto Ferri, which WikiArt describes as “neo-baroque” and “kitsch” in the religious painting genre (more on Ferri below)

I suspect that it’s the homoeroticism of Fallen Angel — it’s not pure art, it’s sullied by the stink of faggot desire — that causes WikiArt to describe it as kitsch.

(This version of the Ferri is also a genitally explicit male nude, while the Ferri original (#3 below), though homoerotic, is genitally innocent.)

Veteran readers of this blog will know that I have a thing for winged men, especially if they have an actual homoerotic edge to them, as these two drawings do. (Well, as I note every so often, I am in fact a faggot with a very strong sex drive, so homoerotic art resonates with me, especially if it’s well done as art.)