Friday, December 23, 2016

Assorted Balls And Nuts

Sensitive People Who Don't Like Reading About Men's Genitalia Probably Shouldn't Read On

I am not advocating nor endorsing...I just find it oddly fascinating.

From what I've heard and seen through the decades, men are fond of their cocks and balls, sometimes proud and happy to share and other times rather protective.  Painful experience from accidents have demonstrated that when our nuts meet a hard, solid object, we understand pain.  Many of us, if not most of us, try to avoid that pain really hard.

When I was a kid, I'd watch wrestling on TV.  Every once in a great while, some nearly naked guy would get a boot or fist to his nuts.  Yes, of course, it was dirty wrestling, but it was also somehow exciting.  The barber shop in my small town had all kinds of soft-core girlie magazines, sports magazines, and The Police Gazette...I was never really sure what that was, but the men enjoyed it.  But I found my thrills in wrestling magazines and, even better, the thicker digests.  Grown nearly naked men, many who were furry-chested and either in pain or dishing it out, were right there in black-and-white.  I had to be in their middle and upper single digits in age can get hard-ons at the least provocation.  When I noticed that a wrestling magazine (or better yet, a digest) was lying around for the last couple of visits, I'd ask the barber if I could have it.  He seemed amused and would always let me.  I may or may not have been able to cum, but they made for inspired fantasy.

My man wasn't able to have sex for the last several years because of his back and the medications he took for that and for his mental anxieties.  Let us say I discovered the joys of internet porn a while ago.  One time I googled vintage porn.  My first roommate had all kinds of explicit gay magazines usually with people our age or a little older. He kept his stash around for the young guys who came home with get them primed, I guess. He let me enjoy his stash, too, and I tried to find the pictures of my earlier "sex friends." No luck with that.  Then I googled gay wrestling.  I discovered I had to narrow it down. Ultimately I found naked men who wrestled, sometimes completely naked, and they'd get some nut shots in from time to time.  cbt...cock-ball-torture became even more explicit, although the two were rarely on the same video.

Back when I was in the psych ward, there was a really compact, good-looking young guy who loved to fight...legally through Mixed Martial Arts and fight clubs and such for not those not so legal moments (there's a general story about him elsewhere here, "The Chair Is Not The Answer").  I was startled a bit, and I recovered by saying he didn't look like he got hit in the face.  He contradicted me by saying he'd been smashed, even KO'd, from punches to his face or head.  He was in for anger issues.  We walked the halls a lot and it really felt like the two of us were friends.  A couple of times he sought me out to talk.  I'm a good listener.  One time I asked him if he ever got kicked in the balls.  "Oh, yeah," he said and started to laugh.  OK, I thought, let's pursue this.  And then he said, "I like to make it part of my training sometimes.  The pain is amazing.  I got a friend who knows how to kick me in the nuts really hard.  After a couple of kicks, I have to stop and then deal with the pain."  I confessed to my wrestling fetish.  He laughed again and told me he understood.

My partner died last summer.  I'm starting to feel horny again, and so I've returned to naked gay men cbt, no-holds-barred, low blows, nut kicking wrestling.  After watching some of that, something came up recommending me to Nut Shots on YouTube.  YouTube? Srsly?  So I went there and was astonished.  Guys in their 20s to mid-30s are punching each other in the balls and having a great time doing it.  Not quite the one's naked.  Still, there's one guy who has by design been kicked in the nuts, or had them otherwise tortured, more than 5,000 times.  He's straight, married, and has a daughter. He can also be gorgeous.  He has friends who do a lot of Jackass stunts on each other. "On" rather than "to" because there are times when it really feels like it's their way of having sex.

Then I noticed "young dudes" nut shots.  OK.  A little young, maybe, but they probably know the score about ball injuries and are willing to take and/or give.  (I was told it's more blessed to give than to receive.  I think I'd pretty good at the giving; to be on the receiving end of a fist, heel, or foot, not so much.)  Then I saw that there are those who like to do it to themselves.  Jumping down from a platform or porch roof and landing straddling a sort of protected fence, throwing a heavy object onto a shovel and getting banged by the handle, running up to a light pole and jumping up and spreading his legs just before impact.  There are a couple of country boys who have devised some interesting, rural variations on nut self-torture.

They now have games.  One is Knife, Paper, Scissors, Nuts, in which two guys play that hand game and the loser is punched or kicked in his balls.  Some videos show the participants blindfolded so they don't know who won until one of them is in pain, which is an interesting variation.  Does it hurt less when you see it coming?  The one rule is that if you wind up on the floor, you're out.  There's Nut Ball, with two guys sitting opposite each other and either rolling or tossing an object, usually a ball but also oranges, Rubik's cube with additional corners, basketballs, bowling balls, whatever is handy, aimed for the family jewels.  Another is Rashambo,  This is Knife, Paper, &c. without the hand game a sort of cut-to-the-chase with just the kick or fist to the nuts.  Sometimes the game is over when one guy falls, other times they just go at it, whether he touches the floor or not, until one of them can't get up...period.

Usually, everyone is laughing.  They are also drunk or stoned or both.  I expect it's all a show of what a man you are.  Most of them play with their cock kept up by the elastic waistband, some of them are physically impressive (the games tend to be played bare-chested and in boxer shorts), some of them are pain-impressive, and after the guy falls, he's laughing, stunned, or pissed off, and definitely in pain.

It's one thing for adults or college-age boys or drunks (or drunken college boys) or even high school guys to do this, but I'm seeing kids now, and I find that kind of scary. Obviously, they've seen this on YouTube or somewhere else or have been talked into it by one's friends or a "more mature" middle schooler.  I'm not sure about the middle school guys, but the young kids still in elementary school, some of them in their middle or upper single digits.  Oh...wait...that's when I was jerking off to pictures of nearly-naked men just after a low blow or in pain or inflicting it.

Things have changed.  Things have not.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pity Party

Probably the first of many.

The beard disappeared yesterday.  Except for the mustache.  The mustache stays.  Always.  The beard, not so much.

I got tired of the Santa Claus jokes.  Facing the season is hard enough.  It's the first holiday season I've had without Jack for 37 years.  I'm not looking forward to it. Neither of us particularly liked Christmas...more to be tolerated than anything.  In more recent years, both of us were in bed before 00:00 New Years.  Hallowe'en was Jack's favorite; Groundhog Day was mine.  I don't know that there are any special days to be observed now.  I certainly don't feel like there are.

"Hey, Santa!"  "What're giving me this year?"  (That was always from an adult.)  "Hey, Santa!  Ho-ho-ho!"  I don't really feel like putting up with their ho-hos.  Not that I don't know the similarities between this Claus person and me.  I worked checkout at Kmart for about 6 months, months that started out with holiday shopping.  I have to admit it was fun when kids would look up and stare.  Jingle bell hat?  Check.  Old guy with beard?  Check.  Shakes (when he laughs) like a bowl full of jelly?  Check.  I loved the stares, but if a kid asked if I were, then no, I wasn't Santa, I was one of his big elves. The kids, for the most part, bought it and the parents thought it was funny.  And it was. I have a friend who is maybe around 5' tall and has had a beard forever, so it's long, white, and perfect.  He tells me he gets "the look" from kids even in summer.  I'm having trouble being jolly this year.    

I'm not doing as well as I thought.  I've withdrawn from everything.  I still take walks. Patches, our cat, is one of my few focuses of attention, and she gets a lot.  I fill time with putting music into Finale, the computer program.  I pretend it's important.  I pretend I still matter.  I spend very little time on Facebook, as opposed to being there about an hour daily.  My friends are now the people who inhabit  It's difficult to stay away from JMG.  They really are my friends.  No doubt I could get in touch with people who have been my friends and casually ask if maybe we could out.  There is one woman who does that.  Does anyone else come forward?  Not anymore.  Perhaps they have assumed that I don't want to see them.  Perhaps they've assumed that I'm OK. Perhaps they feel that if I needed something, I'd ask.  That is not part of the Walker Syndrome, back into which I've landed.  I need someone to take the initiative.  It's not that I'm frail; I just wish someone would call and ask me to be part of their life for a lunch or a movie.  But what good does sealing myself off do?  Makes for a great pity party.

I am a rock.  I am an island.  I so identified with those lines from the Simon and Garfunkel song Back Then.  It was what I wanted to be, what I felt I needed to be.  The last part of the song either did not apply to me or wasn't anything new, depending on the day.  I was gay in a world of straights.  I was the fag, ripe to picked on.  And that meant I had to steel myself to know and accept and live with the fact that no one would ever be my friend or, heaven forbid, my special friend.  I was drunk and/or stoned all four years of college.  I can now see that it was self-medication.  However, it was also 1964 to 1968.  To the medical and psychological and psychiatric worlds, I was sick. I. Was. Sick.  I had given up on religion by that point.  It wasn't yet the age of the Jerry Falwells, but I heard I was an abomination.  The way I felt about religion and the religious, I knew I'd ultimately be isolated all my life, no matter how straight I played it. So be it.

Things changed considerably, of course.  There were other gay people not only in the world but nearby.  I was not alone.  And then Jack and I met, and I discovered that two gay men could love each other, could spend their lives together, share, watch out for, defend, and do anything for. 'Til death do us part.  He died.  We're apart.

So, time for you, my guests, to leave.  Pity parties are like that.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Don't Have Your Rights

It happened again on election day.

My town has a relatively new business operating on Main Street near where the polling station is.  It looked like a place that provides services to old people, and since that's where I am, I stopped in on the way home to find out more.  It reminded me of what used to be called The Traveling Nurse Association...someone stops by to make sure you're OK, that you're taking your meds, and generally provide help.  Payment is involved, but why not?

As the co-owner and I talked, the topic of non-discrimination came up.  I think it started with a discussion of how do you choose what retirement facility you want to spend your remaining days in.  I told her that I'm gay, so obviously anyplace with a religious denomination's name would be ruled out; I wouldn't get in anyway, probably.  She looked like I made a joke and she didn't get the punchline.  I have a concern about the staff at such places, whether "religious" or not...there are reports of anti-LGBT harassment, so is staff training changing to include us?  She admitted not being an expert on "homes," but she assumed as much.  If any of her employees received complaints of such treatment, they would be immediately dismissed.

"And what would you say in court?" I asked.  She looked at me rather blankly, as in "she's fired, she's gone, case closed."  "Court?" she asked.  And I explained to her that she could not be dismissed on the grounds of harassing an LGBT resident because we have no such protections.  "No, that's not true," she responded.

I explained to her that Pennsylvania, the state in which we live, is one of about 30 "marry on Saturday, get fired Monday" states.  Blank stare.  "That means that non-discrimination laws don't apply to me."  She still looked like I was an old fart making this stuff up.  "It means Jack and I could have been married on a Saturday and I could have been fired Monday for putting our wedding picture on my desk at work."  No response.  "Yes, we can get married, we can be legally married in any state, and I can be fired legally...just because I'm 30 states.  I would have no grounds on which to object because there's no law against it.  So aside from maybe elder abuse, you would not have a case against your former employee."  She told me that the contracts the employees sign contain the standard non-discrimination clause.  I replied that it means nothing to LGBTs, we are not a protected class.  One's "sincerely held religious beliefs" supersedes "all people are created equal."

What it boiled down to was that she could not believe that in 21st century USA people are still being legally discriminated against.  Not just in the USA, but right here in Pennsylvania.  She excused herself for a moment and went back to a file and pulled out what turned out to be Pennsylvania's non-discrimination law.  "You're right.  There's nothing there."  She looked at me appalled.  She had no idea.  She just assumed....

And that's a major problem.  We can get married, but then the legal refusals come in.  No flowers because of the florist's "firmly held religious beliefs," thrown out of the marriage suite because the hotel doesn't serve LGBTs, thrown out of the apartment because the landlord didn't realize we were fags, and fired because I went to Human Resources to change my marital status and the company's CEO has expressed that homosexuality was an abomination...says so in the Bible...and is grounds for dismissal.  People don't understand that manners, treating everyone fairly in the marketplace, basic humanity has to be written into law.  This is a nation of laws, and if it isn't written down, nobody has to do it.  We're accused of seeking "special rights"; what we seek are the same rights assured to women, fundamentalists, people of color, original nationality, and, in Pennsylvania, people with a high school equivalency certificate.

Religious beliefs are good in the religious community, but we are not all religious, and we are certainly not all of the same sects and cults.  We have the freedom of religion and also have the freedom from religion.  We should not be punished by being what a religion deems as not to their liking.  A nation of laws goes by the laws in the books, not in one's religious instruction manual.  It should be illegal to discriminate against any citizen because of one's "firmly held religious beliefs."

We parted amicably.  She thanked me for telling her about the possibilities of discrimination.  I was glad to do it.  I asked for her business card because, well, you never know.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Dead Cat, A Hysterical Spouse, And Opening Night

This morning a friend informed me of the death of his older cat, a furry friend, and most certainly a part of his family.  Words of comfort, of solace, are scarce at the receiving of such news.

When I hear about the death of a cat who was part of a family, particularly a gay person's family, I automatically go back to the death of Suzie.  The Harrisburg Gay Men's Chorus was about to perform a concert.  I, as director, did a fair amount of pacing...not nervous so much as just going over the music and having little conversations with each of the guys.  Perhaps 15 minutes before the vocal warm-ups, the man who was then the Unitarian minister at the church where I was choir director came in, looking around for me. He asked if we could talk privately.

We went out to the hallway between the green room and the theater's lobby.  He told me that our cat, Suzie, died.  Jack was inconsolable but was at a friend's house.  He told me that Jack found her body and freaked out.  I was stunned.  She wasn't even sick, as far as I could tell that morning, and now not only was she dead but Jack was freaking out.  He was, however, in good hands.  Having completed his task, the minister left.  No hugs, no touching, he just did his job and left.

Numb, I stood in the hall as people walked by toward the lobby.  I returned to the green room.  One of the guys asked if I were all right.  I told him and them the situation.  They all understood.  The theater's stage manager asked if I wanted to hold curtain.  No.  I did ask the accompanist, however, to do the vocal warm-ups while I tried to get myself together. There was no place to go, no time to mourn.  People sat out there and wanted to hear the chorus.  The show must go on.  That was bred into my being.  Not only go on, but should also start at the stated time.

I told the guys that I would do my best to direct them, that I would try not to just wave my arms around.  I asked them that Jack and the dead cat were my problem, not their's, and to try not to look at me with sympathetic eyes.  We lined up and walked onstage.  Not just the show, but life must go on.

I cannot begin to describe how schizophrenic I was for the next two and a half hours.  I tried (and mostly succeeded) to put my life, my sorrow, my devastation, my concern for Jack out of my mind and concentrate on the music.  Although I usually had the music memorized, I also always had it in front of me.  I realized near the end of the first half that I was practically reading the music and, worse, that I was avoiding eye contact with the singers.

During intermission, I apologized for not looking at them, not enjoying hearing them sing, and to be rather closed up in my little world.  I asked that maybe we not talk about the situation until after the concert.  I told the accompanist where I was a quiet spot backstage...and asked him to give me 5 minutes' notice.  I convinced myself that there would be ample time to mourn; this was not the time.

We went out for part two.  I had determined to watch the guys sing.  I directed, smiled when they got through difficult passages, kept the tears back during sad songs, and did not have to pretend to be overjoyed with their performance and the audience's supportive and heartfelt reactions.  The accompanist insisted I take a solo bow and the guys applauded.  I usually don't like that, but I knew this was not pro forma, that they were applauding me for getting through a near-impossible evening.

After the concert was a social.  The president of the chorus told me that I could leave if I wanted to.  I wanted to.  I went to our friend's house and sat with Jack.  He had pretty much recovered, so we drove home.  He started crying hysterically again, but at least this time I was there with him, to love him, to mourn our loss together.

At times, I envy people who have dogs and cats around because they like having dogs and cats around.  I envy the detachment, I suppose.  I've never been able to be like that; most of the time I don't want to be.  Dogs and cats and I get along very well.  Pets are our furry friends and are members of our families.  But I think there are those of us for whom our pets become as loved and as important in our lives as children.  That was certainly the case with Suzie.  And it's the same now with Patches.

Most of the guys in the chorus understood that, probably felt the same way.  One of them was a veterinarian who later gave me a little memorial plaque.  We had another concert the next night.  The men were concerned about Jack, concerned about me, and we had a wonderful evening.  Not that I wasn't in mourning, but I was able to concentrate on the music, enjoy the singing, and help create an experience for the audience.

But consider:  It's the first night, opening night, for a concert series.  As director, you are in charge.  You are sure it will go well and all your thoughts are aimed at what happens starting at 8 o'clock.  Then in pops someone who says, essentially, "You're cat's dead and your husband is in hysterics.  Gotta go."  And you're supposed to carry on.  Not the easiest thing to do.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Where Have All The Protest Songs Gone?

It mystifies me (sort of) that protest music doesn’t exist here. Yes, it was different Back Then. Labels didn't charge artists for use of their facilities. Radio stations were privately owned and could do a lot of independent programming. They may not have been the greatest examples of American music, but we learned the songs, we sang them during protests and in coffee houses and "our" bars. Hell, one of the protest songwriters got a Nobel Prize for Literature this year...50 years late, but at least he was recognized. I don't get it.

I don't blame young people, really. I just don't understand why, if the anger is there, if the dissatisfaction is there, why isn't the music there? Or do I just not hear it?

You're absolutely right, and I didn't even think about it. There were all kinds of protest songs in the '60s and '70s... then nothing. Sure, there were some deep tracks on some LPs (like Prince's "Ronnie Talk to Russia"), but they never got any airplay. Why is that?

The airplay is easy...St. Ronnie opened the can of worms that is currently known as broadcasting. There is hardly a radio or TV station that isn't part of a conglomerate. I cannot think of an independent radio or TV station that's on-air today. Even most of the Jeebus stations are owned by Jeebus companies. He did away with the Fairness Doctrine, so broadcasters no longer had to present both sides (or, god forbid, ALL sides) of an issue. Jeebus stations could have been challenged by different sects. No more. Talk radio exists because they don't have to be responsible to the public, to air all viewpoints. Big companies tend not to like to ruffle feathers, so no protest.
But Joan Baez didn't live in a vacuum. She, Dylan, Nina Simone, Phil Ochs, and other protest singers made an impact underground. We knew where to look in record stores. Major labels discovered there was more than pop, jazz, country, and Jeebus. Independent stations built formats around folk music. Their signals made it out to the country, where those of us who were ripe for rebellion could hear, too. Singers at coffee houses sang about civil rights and the war. Sometimes the protest music got out of the shadows. Just as white singers tamed black rock and roll, nice guys (Peter, Paul, and Mary, for example) took the edge off protest...didn't necessary change the lyric, but didn't sound as angry or threatening. And the likes of Simon and Garfunkel could be heard on pop radio. Good, responsible people didn't listen to FM radio except for elevator music, so programmers got smart and decided they could continue to make money off their AM stations while programming for "the kids" on FM.
The Civil Rights Act and the end of the Vietnam War greatly reduced the need for pop protest music. Radio got a little less nasty, but they were still responsible for political content. Then St. Ronnie came along, waved his magic wand, and suddenly it was OK to own more than 7 stations nationwide, and he knew that broadcasters would be socially responsible and continue to present both sides of an issue, so he did away with ruling and conglomerate broadcasters showed how socially responsible they could be.

To me, the radical, racist anti-Constitutional America ammosexuals are deeply, fundamentally worthy of protest and protest songs. We are worthy of having protest songs sung to us, to have protest theater onstage and on the streets. Young people hate old people, which is fine by me...I did the same when I was young (when the hell are you guys gonna die off?). Can't that passion become music?  Can't the Bernie folks continue his ideas onstage? Music delivers opinion its own special way, and I don't understand why protest music, street theater, independent papers, the college campus circuit, or even pirate radio stations don't exist.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Them Lex Boys

He laughs like Walter Brennan or Gabby Hayes, a high-pitched laugh that approaches a cackle.  It's fun to hear, at first, and the laugh is not what you'd expect.  He's around 50, would be a bear if he wanted to be, OK looking, and his nickname is Woody.  (I didn't ask.)  He seems to have a good heart, although he's drunk the Kool-Aid about Hillary Clinton.  But I'm currently living upstairs, so I don't have to see him much.

The landlord and his two brothers are remodeling the house.  They're all experienced in construction and are an excellent team.  Brothers either click or they don't; these guys are thoroughly in sync.  The landlord, Joel, is in charge.  While his brothers have done their own remodeling work, deference is given to Joel because it's his property.  It's fun to overhear Woody and John, the third brother, dis Joel over some of his decisions...not to his face, of course.

Joel and John would be taken for brothers by anyone.  Woody is much taller and stockier than the other two.  Joel and John even have their hair cut and combed the same way. Their clothing choices are similar...kind of hip construction guys as opposed to Woody's overalls and heavy boots.

As I've written before, my late spouse was a hoarder.  I think he hastened his death because the EMTs couldn't get to him because the place was so filled with stuff.  I will admit to being Jack's enabler, but at some point I just gave up trying to make sense of the place:  He didn't care, so why should I?  When I returned from the hospital, watching Jack die, I was greeted by a two-page letter that essentially evicted us because the place was deemed unfit for human habitation.  They didn't know Jack had died and apologized profusely...the policeman who reported it stopped by the next day and apologized over and over because he didn't know Jack died when he taped the notice to the door.  I found that touching, but it's also a small town, and that's what we do.

We had a couple of "get this stuff outta here" work days with friends of Jack's and mine and pretty much cleared out the house, except for some mementos, books he wrote, and some things I wanted to keep, including my huge vinyl records collection.  Although the living room looked worn, it also looked far more spacious than I remembered.  To appease the health guys, Joel decided to rip the entire first floor out, remodel it, new heaters, update the electric wiring, and while it's not done, it's fantastic.  I remembered why I first rented the place.  It's an old house and it has a certain charm.  Also, it now has insulation.

While that is going on downstairs, I've moved my basics upstairs.  We have two rooms and the bath upstairs.  One room remains the bedroom, the other has become a sort of office, and it's also where the records are.  I bought a turntable that connects to the computer to make whatever has replaced mp3s so I can make CDs of music I never replaced and some music that I had.  I think we've been through this before, my preference for the vinyl sound as opposed to the digital.

Upstairs is not out of earshot of downstairs.  When I met Joel's brothers, Woody seemed like a people person, in that he knew how to get along with people in whose houses he worked.  John, however, seemed a little put off.  I have no idea what Joel gave them as the backstory to the house's condition or to Jack and me.   I wrote it off as John not warming up to people.  When I'm not at the LGBT Center, I'm upstairs with the computer and the cat.  The guys brought in a radio and there was a song with Elton John...and it sparked comments.  Woody said he liked Elton's songs.  John said he didn't because "the guy is gay."  I heard a "shhh," probably from Joel, and except for Elton singing, there was silence.  I assume Joel brought John up-to-date.  The next I heard from John was, "Did I say that out loud?"  Maybe not the best recovery line, but it showed a little effort, certainly more of an effort than I used to encounter.

John has actually become's not nearly as cold around him as it was.  I'd like to think that's it proves Harvey Milk's observation that coming out is not just a political act, but it makes straight people think.  "David's gay?  But I've always heard that gay people are this, that, and the other thing.  David doesn't seem like that at all."

The problem is the thinking part.  The concentrated dumbing down of America has worked on far too many people.  Kids are taught how to pass government-made tests.  They do not learn for their own good, they learn to give the school a good enough rating that it will continue to receive money.  Kids are not challenged to think.  Thinking takes time nor is it easy.  Memorize for the test, then forget it.

And so it goes.  Work continues, although a fourth guy has appeared who, it seems, has nothing to do with the project...they're standing around being butch (football, the awful Hillary, the smart Drumpf) and not disparaging gays.  I leave the LGBT Center tomorrow, and that's another topic.  I'll be here as things progress downstairs.  And it sounds like, aside from the bathroom, Joel doesn't want to do much up here.  I miss Jack terribly.  This, though, seems to be a way of starting a life without him.  That's probably a good thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Almost 38 Years

This is the weekend we would have celebrated our 38th anniversary of being together, of being in love, of sharing our lives.  We were never sure of the date when he got off the train at the Lancaster station.  We knew it was in mid-September, and since it was only rather shortly thereafter we both knew we would be together forever, we always set aside the third weekend in September to honor and celebrate our lives together.

It's been two months now.  I'm still wandering around like a tourist lost in an unknown place, a place I never thought I'd be, wouldn't want to be if I could choose.  I would like to have my money back and go home, but the agency is closed.  It all seems

After her cocker spaniel died, my sister vowed she would never have another pet.  It was something I understood very well.  You give a living creature so much of your love and attention and happiness and care and then it goes and dies on you.  She's kept that vow.

I understand that.  A pet finds its way into the core of our lives.  Our love for that living being is unique.  It is a love we do not offer to everyone we know.  It is a special love. And I will say that I see it as similar to the love we give our spouse.  It's not an absolute comparison; neither is it so far from the truth.

Jack and I had our own private, personal commitment ceremony in the living room one night.  We knew we loved each other.  We knew that we wanted to be together, stay together, live together forever.  We promised to help each other, to do our best to be worthy of each other's love, respect, and odd ideas.  We promised not to run out on the other just because the relationship wasn't fun.  We promised to share.

No one witnessed that moment in our lives, but I think it is fair to say that anyone who saw us together intuitively knew about it.  I think people could feel it as they could with other couples who are simply devoted to each other.  Sickness and health, richer or poorer, successes and failures, easy and impossible times...I think people could feel that commitment even if they didn't see a ring.  I could hear it in their reaction when I proudly told them how long we were together.

Jack Veasey died two months ago.  This would have been our 38th anniversary of being together, of sharing our lives.  I miss him.  I keep thinking he'll be down from the bathroom soon.  I keep thinking he'll walk through the door, happy after an evening of poetry.  I keep thinking that he's on the bed watching TV.  I keep thinking that when I turn around I'll see him.  I keep thinking, "I'll have to tell Jack that.  He'll get a kick.." and then I remember.  I remember good things, proud moments, times I'd never had experienced without him.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My Music Is Back

One of those "Two Roads Converged in a Tulgey Woods" stories.
When friends came over to help clean out the house after Jack died, I saw the incredible number of LPs and 45s both of us collected when we were younger persons. I kept two a complete system and one in need of a pre-amp, which I still have. I've been giving some consideration to putting the system together and giving it a try.
Wednesday was Old Farts' Eye Exam Discount Day at one of the chain optics stores. Since I am bus-dependent, I arrived early and went to Guitar Center. I haven't been there in years (no reason to go), so I decided to see what has and hasn't changed in the last several years. Plus, a set of headphones is considering bidding me farewell, so I wanted to price a new set. As it turned out, they had a very good AKG set and a turntable that you can plug in said headphones and enjoy the music or plug into the computer and make .mp3s from cuts on the LPs. And it was all on sale for the holiday. I took advantage of the sale price.
I haven't tried to make .mp3s yet, but I plugged the headphones into the turntable and had a great, sentimental, happy, sad, and OMG reunion time this afternoon. It may mean I'll never come out of the house again.
What was the first thing I wanted to hear on my return to my records? That actually took a little thinking. One of the most influential TV shows on my life was a 1962 special called Julie (Andrews) and Carol (Burnett) at Carnegie Hall. For some reason I noticed the orchestra, bought the record, and listened to it forever. The orchestra (that is, the orchestration) added to the fun without getting in the way. Great arranging. Also, I love Julie and Carol; it was nice to hear them again, pretty much as I remembered.
Second album? Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. It was one of the few albums, especially pop albums, that I could listen to top to bottom. Most albums I bought because I liked one or two of the songs; I knew of no clunkers on Sgt. Pepper then and I still pretty much feel that way. It was somehow refreshing to hear the old familiar pops and scratches. I bought the CD to replace my LP of a lot of my records, and I missed those pops and scratches. I knew where they were and they were part of the song. CDs were pop and scratch free, but there's a sterility to digital reproduction that is fine for a lot of people. I prefer the warmer, friendlier vinyl surface.
My grandmother Walker had a 78rpm record player. She had a few records that I, as a young child, was allowed to play. The problem with 78s, of course, was the amount of time per side. Classical music in particular was not the 78s' best friend. She had a recording of The Nutcracker: Suite which I adored. To this day, when I hear "Waltz of the Flowers," I can hear where the break in the music was so you could flip the record and listen to the rest of the music.
I've had "conversations" with sound buddies and opinionated friends. They contend digital is the only way to go and/or there's no difference in the sound quality between vinyl and digits. No. Sorry. Now that I'm back to a turntable, there IS a difference and my preference goes to vinyl, pops and scratches and all. For my personal listening pleasure. Obviously, digital works better for people on the go and for music and effects in plays. But for me, for the joy and rest and comfort of kicking back and listening to the music I love, I'm so glad to have access to vinyl again.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins, B. B. King, and Joyce Keener

I probably wrote this before, but it came to mind while watching one particularly touching, inspired scene in "Florence Foster Jenkins." Many years ago, just after the invention of mud, I worked on the TV crew at WITF. We did a series of folk concerts. One was called "Dark as a Dungeon" and was staged in Eckley, PA shortly after "The Molly Maguires" was filmed there. Several facades were built, and one building constructed with a train station exterior and a general store and something else inside. There was a porch, and that's where the concert would be taped. Merle Travis, who wrote the song from which came the title, was a guest, as was B. B. King. Merle's guitar apparently booked a different flight; at least it didn't show up with his luggage. So you're one of the featured performers in a TV concert minus your instrument. How does the show go on? It goes on when one person offers another what he needs. In this case, B gave Merle his beloved, treasured guitar, "Lucille." That act of generosity has stayed with me for decades.
Joyce Keener was a friend for many years.  She worked at WITF as assistant producer at that same time.  She wrote a movie, "The Silence At Bethany," shot locally, for which WITF threw a fundraising premiere at the Hershey Theater.  I think that's where my late spouse, Jack Veasey, me her.  He was a poet and was impressed by her poetry.  He booked reading for a Harrisburg organization named Paper Sword and asked her to read next time she was in Pennsylvania.  She did.  During the reading she began to cough. We got her some water, but she continued to cough. Finally, she simply could not speak.  At that point, I was an announcer and I told her I could read for her, if she wanted. Fortunately, I can read ahead a couple of words, so I read her work with a slight knowledge of what was coming and, thus, how to read it.  In a thank you note, she compared what I did to what B. B. King did for Merle Travis.  I never thought about it that way.  I never thought about it, period.  It's what you do.  You help.
It came to mind yesterday while watching "Florence Foster Jenkins" because...and I don't want to give away too much since you really should see it...Florence was an aspiring concert pianist who lost the use of her left hand. She tells this to her accompanist as she sits at the keyboard of his piano. With her right hand she starts to play a Chopin Prelude. After a few notes, her accompanist, standing, supplies the left hand chords.
I want the world to be like that. Please?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Jack Died Today

Just like that, after just about 38 years, he's gone.  I don't remember the exact words, but Margaret "Hot Lips" Hoolihan said something on M*A*S*H about death.  "It never ceases to amaze me.  You're alive, you're dead, and that's it."

Jack Veasey was born April 4, 1955 and lived most of his early years in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia.  He was abused by his parents and frequently had nightmares about them, especially his mother.  He frequently lived with his grandmother.  She sang around the house, which he picked up and continued to do all his life.  He enjoyed reading poetry and was encouraged by friends to try to write it.  He did...exceptionally well.  I've long thought of him as the most internationally-ignored published contemporary poet.  And he was published, and not by vanity presses.  But late 20th and early 21st century poets are seen as frills and extras.

He sang.  His poetry often sang, but he audibly sang, songs that could make you laugh or remember or cry or tap your toes and wonder why he couldn't get gigs.  He turned from a very disciplined approach to free verse (sounds ironic, but I suspect poets know what I mean) to very formalized work, especially the sonnet.  He'd finally found his form.  And as strict as the forms of poetry was how free he was with his singing.

He was passionate about his poetry.  I'd hear other poets talk about their poetry and he would talk about his and poetry in general as the art it is.  Writing is putting words together, but words count even more in poetry.  The right word is needed in writing a sentence; poetry needs the precise word, accentuation, place, beat.  It was second nature to him.

Jack taught poetry classes like a preacher spreading the gospel and also as the best teacher anyone ever had.  He could always find something good about the most dunderheaded doggerel, but when someone had a breakthrough, he sang their praises and knew exactly what to say.

He never forgot, something both fortunate and unfortunate.  He never forgot someone who was kind to him or gave him a break.  He also never forgot a slight, whether real or imagined.  While I'm not big on "forgive and forget," I do believe in letting bygones be bygones and he couldn't.  Real or perceived, he was hurt and he never forgot or forgave.

He knew how to make me laugh.  He knew how to make me feel better.  He was among the world's greatest nurses.  Any of his friends would tell you about his loyalty.  He was an artist who needed support, help, opportunities, and love.  I did my best with all of that and never felt as if I did enough.  I hope I did.  He certainly deserved it.

Jack Veasey.  Dead at the age of 61.  He never got what he wanted most of all, to have his talents read and heard by the masses who would understand him.  He was read and heard by the regional masses, however, and he enjoyed that a lot.

He wrote innumerable poems, but he wrote this one for me in 1993:

On Living Together

for Dave

Now that I know how you live;
now that I have heard your stomach grumbling;
now that I've endured your silences;
now that I have seen your hair
before you've seen the mirror in the morning,
sipped your breath before the toothbrush touched your mouth;
now that you've seen me scream
at my frustrations, hurling tantrums
at the walls we share, within which
my worst face is often witnessed;
now that you know how I live;
now that you have heard my stomach grumbling,
and endured my silences;
now that we assume, no matter what, we will go on through any future;
now I know this is love, this gritty bond
so much more real than what I'd wanted,
not too clean
or too convenient.
Now I know
what I was waiting for.
(c) 1993 Jack Veasey

Goodbye, Mr. Woof.  We showed 'em.  You showed 'em.  You showed all of us.  I love you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On JoeMyGod June 29, 2016

Mat Staver Slams Churches That Reacted To Orlando With Kindness: It Was A Homosexual Love Fest

Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch:
Staver went on to lament that some churches turned memorial gatherings following the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando into a “homosexual love fest.”
“Even in the situation following what happened in Orlando,” he said, “churches got involved and they led in some cases and in other cases they followed and they ultimately allowed that situation, instead of an opportunity to pray, some of them allowed it to be a homosexual love fest. That’s not something that we need to celebrate, this is a tragedy that is against all Americans.”
Co-host Matt Barber then joined in to fault gay-friendly Christians because they are “disobeying Christ, are actually running afoul of God and Jesus in the context of the marriage debate and are siding with the Prince of the World who is trying to redefine marriage.”
“Believe me, this idea of gay marriage didn’t come from God, it didn’t come from Christ,” Barber said, “so who did it come from?”

How disgusting a person do you have to be to even think something like this, much less SAY it?!

And what will our Christian allies say to these two shit bags? What will their rebuttal be to hate now being directed not just to us but to their own who don't measure down to their standards? For god's sake, people, speak up. Your silence sounds like, "Oh, maybe they're right."

Respectfully, can I ask what "speak up" would sound like to you? I mean, I'm not going to get invited on MSNBC like Tony PerKKKins, so if I---or other Episcopalians, for example---want to speak up (or are already doing so), who/how would they hear us? [Full disclosure: I do a heck of a lot of blog commenting *outside* of JMG and the gay intertoobz, generally. Y'know, the kind of places where I get moderated OUT. By Christianists.]

The Truly Religious have decided PA needs a bathroom bill. The PA "Family" Association (our AFA chapter) held a rally Monday...the now-familiar "fears" and "concerns" were expressed by the local usual suspects. The rally received hardly any coverage. What DID get covered was the counter-demonstration by a group of concerned people, some transgender, some not. They were not polite. They were loud. They were noticed and their spokesperson got interviews. The group formed at our LGBT Center and came back to detox. The Center is small, so their meeting area was also where my receptionist desk is, so I got to hear their takes on the day. Some of them were down because of the harassment from the "Family" members, some were angry. But, because although I'm a shy person I also can't help but offer my 2 cents, I reminded them they were a presence, people saw them and heard them, and they made an impression...they couldn't help but make an impression on some of the kids who were dragged there and some of the adults who also were dragged there.
What can our Christian allies do? I don't know and I don't need to have the answer. But the group on Monday reminded me that all politics is local and that you make the news by speaking your piece. If they just showed up at the capitol rotunda, how noticeable would that have been? They decided on a way to get noticed, get coverage, make their point. Visibility, like coming out, is important. Making noise, like coming out, is vital.
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, United Methodists, United Churches of Christ, "good" Lutherans, Unitarian/Universalists and the other mainstream denominations have worked together in the past. There is no denying their importance in the Civil Rights movement. Do they think we are worthy of their efforts?
We're in a nation that's been dumbed down to the point that a traditional approach to getting attention, to speaking on talk shows, to writing comments doesn't work. Again, how do respectable, good Christian allies not just share the attention but gain it and seize it? I hate that our nation's decibel level is so high now, but it seems that wresting attention is what's needed. A critic doesn't rewrite a show s/he doesn't like. We read here all the time that nothing good will happen until the old farts die off and the millennials take over. I'm all for it. I'm nearly 70...I'm tired. The millennials of the mainstream denominations need to convince their old fart leaders that the old farts' ideas aren't working and new ways need to be used, that the denominations need to come together, need to let the "no, WE're right" theology take a back seat to getting together and work to prove "they're not all like that." Sooner rather than later.

To paraphrase Velma in "Chicago," we cannot do it alone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Solution In Search Of A Problem

Several of Pennsylvania's honorable legislators have decided that we need a bathroom bill.  It would seem if we don't get going, we'll be left behind.  Never mind that our LGBT people have no civil rights, the only state in the northeastern part of the US not to have civil rights for all its citizens.

Yesterday was Rally Day for the Potty Party.  The Pennsylvania "Family" Association, our chapter of the American "Family" Association, had a big to-do in the capitol rotunda.  (As a rule of thumb, if the word "family" appears in an organization's name, it's a safe bet that it's fundamentalist xn, has very little to do with families, and lots to do with spreading and maintaining a level of hate, fear, and discrimination.)  Interestingly, the local newspaper/website didn't report on it, so I don't know how many of them attended.  I DO know that about 30 protesters were there because they organized at our LGBT Center.

The "idea" behind the restroom regulation is to make sure that transgender people must use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate, not the one they identify with.  I call this "the solution in search of a problem" because there's never been a reported case of a man dressing as a woman to get into the women's room to rape someone.  Never. Ever.  Anywhere.  So what's the problem?  The problem is that the LGs of LGBT have achieved a kind of respectability now that marriage equality is settled law.  While many southern states have tried to bar the ruling, they continue to be shot down.  While states like Pennsylvania will be fighting to keep equality from becoming law, the Republicans, preachers, and other grifters have noticed their contributions decreasing.  People now know gay men and lesbians.  We are family members, the friendly neighbor, the helpful co-worker, your child's teacher, and increasingly fellow members of the Parent Teacher Organization.  Back in the '70s, Harvey Milk said the biggest political act any of us can do is to come out.  It worked.

People in the hate industry discovered that it's still possible to demonize us, but it doesn't generate the money it used to.  Brian Brown's National Organization for Marriage, set up to stop progress toward marriage equality, held its annual hate march this past Saturday in Washington, DC.  Last year, there may have been 3000 people attending, thanks largely to a politician in NYC who hired several buses and transported hundreds of people free to the "march."  The problem was they thought they were there for a tour of Washington.  Instead, they got sandwiches and speeches, which they couldn't understand because they were Hispanic and their English wasn't that good. They were not happy. That scam wasn't tried this year.  Someone did a head count...237, including the speakers, babies, and reporters.

Lesbians and gays are finally becoming human.  Bisexuals, like divorcees, comprise a fair number of fundamentalist xn congregations, so they aren't an issue.  What's left?  Most people don't know anything about transgender people.  That makes them an easy target. An authority figure such as a preacher or a legislator can come up with all kinds of lies, tell them often enough, make them sufficiently horrible, and the sheep are ready to believe. After they lost the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality last June, they needed to find a new straw man and find it quickly.  Transgender people are perfect.

The dumbing down of the US has been a huge success.  Science "threatens" religion. Education, thinking and learning are discouraged.  Encouraging someone to question, to think for themselves, is dangerous.  It posits the possibility that whatever their authority figure says may be wrong.  Dangerous.  Former governor, former preacher, and presidential wannabe failure (even though his god told him to run) Mike Huckabee tested the waters by joking about how, if he had known all he had to do was chose to be a girl some days, he'd have taken showers with the girls.  This passes as humor in some circles. Since that got a laugh and provoked confusion, Republicans and The Truly Religious picked up on it and quickly came up with the baseless scare that their women and daughters were unsafe in the women's room and in store changing rooms.  In one day, North Carolina railroaded a bill through both houses of their congress and signed into law to make it a crime for a person who identifies as a woman to use a women's facility.  It also made it impossible to use the state court system to appeal a grievance at work, for cities to pass their own non-discrimination laws, and many other clearly hateful, discriminatory provisions.  

And, of course, there's the theological problem.  If god actually created a man inside a woman's body, that sounds like god made a mistake, and god can't do that.  The Truly Religious won't allow it.  It's bad enough that LGBs maintain we were born "that way," but it's just too much for a woman to be born in a man's body.  Rather than grant the possibility and investigate the research and talk to people who are transgender, dictatorial pronouncements are made and the masses are expected to follow.  And since it's far easier to follow than to think, the demonizing, fear, hate, and suspicion begins. 

The Pennsylvania "Family" Association, which has started hurting for funds, and certain Potty Party legislators, who are up for reelection this year, decided Pennsylvania needs the solution in search of a problem.  Most legislators don't think it will be debated, let alone voted on, let alone pass, let alone survive a veto from the governor, but it plays well.  "I'm scared now when I go to a public bathroom," one 14-year-old tender young thing told the gathered throng.  A year ago...hell, 6 months ago...neither she nor her parents would have given it a second thought.  But we now have new people to demonize, new people to be afraid of, new people to be suspicious of, new people to feel superior to.

I wanted to make this about the protesters who met at the LGBT Center before the fear fest and who returned to the Center to detox after.  I will say that most of the people were young, although there were at least 3 "older" people.  They were wonderful, articulate, knowledgeable, and many were transgender.  I felt privileged to be in their company yesterday afternoon.  I hope to write about that soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that our Constitution made marriage equality legal.  In one one very significant but still only one way...LGBTQ people can't be refused the right to marry just because we're gay.  We can get married on Sunday and be fired Monday, whether telling HR of our marital status change or showing our wedding pictures.  Unless the local government has set up its own anti-discrimination laws, our only right is to marry the person we love.  And now North Carolina and Alabama have laws saying local governments can't grant us "special" rights...meaning it's legal to deprive us of the basic human rights that every else in the community expect.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast with the "married Sunday/fired Monday" discrimination laws firmly in place.  No.  I take that back.  There's no law that states that; there's no law to prohibit it.  One cannot discriminate against anyone because of their religion, which is their choice.  One can legally discriminate against me because of their choice of religion.  This means that religion trumps civil law in a commonwealth that clearly set out in the very first article of the PA Constitution(s).
The original 1776 article 1 reads


I. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, amongst which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

A constitutional convention in 1873 stated virtually the same:
  § 1.  Inherent rights of mankind.
        All men are born equally free and independent, and have
     certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those
     of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring,
     possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of
     pursuing their own happiness.

Two weeks ago, 49 of my brothers and sisters were gunned down by a military grade weapon owned by a religious fanatic.  People of a certain persuasion love to point out his "radical Islam."  These same people conveniently forget the joy coming from many pulpits of radical xns.  I was recently engaged on YouTube by someone who insisted that a call for gay people to be killed and for the rest of the people in Pulse nightclub to be killed, too, wasn't a call to violence.  I asked him if his bible included "the second greatest commandment, that you love your neighbor as you love yourself."  He told me that he loved his neighbors excerpt for me.  This is the basis, apparently, as Christian Love (TM).  I'll be 70 in October...I've known about and experienced Christian Love (TM) for most of those decades.

Two years ago, our federal judge John Jones III (suggested by Santorum and recommended by the lesser Bush) struck down Pennsylvania's anti- marriage equality law. His decision concluded with something I wish everyone understood:
"The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. 

"We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

Marriage equality became the law of the land a year ago today.  Christians have rejoiced with us; xns have gone out of their way to make life difficult for us.  Joe Jervis, whose blog I read daily, has written, "They want to make us invisible.  They failed.  Let's dance."

Marriage equality became settled law a year ago today.  The sky still hasn't fallen.  Let's dance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bathroom Bill, Part 1

Sunday, May 2, 2016, Miranda Blue reported in Right Wing Watch:
It turns out that anti-LGBT activists are right that men are taking advantage of a transgender-inclusive policy at Target to go into women’s restrooms — and those men are anti-LGBT activists. In an interview this morning with “Breitbart News Daily,” the American Family Association’s director of governmental affairs, Sandy Rios, said that activists have been “testing” Target’s policy by sending men into women’s rooms at the retail chain.
On Monday, May 3, 2016 ran a story on several male members of The Truly Religious trying to invade women’s restrooms to protest Target’s stated policy that their customers may use the restroom for their gender identity.  Are people so willfully ignorant that they cannot understand that transgender does not mean a guy wants to use a women’s locker room so he can watch them shower?  Is it so difficult to admit that a man may be trapped inside a woman’s body or vice versa?

In the post, this thread appeared:

Why aren't they protesting and disrupting Catholic churches? You know, where there are REAL pedophiles...

Not to mention actual men in dresses.

Why aren't WE disrupting catholic churches? Seriously, I'm so damn fed up with these assholes[?] [F]uck the high ground & strike back. Reason & civility do not work.
David Walker
The Civil Rights movement had both Dr. King and Malcolm X.  There are times, and I know you and I are in the minority, that something must be done to attract attention.  The suffrage movement demonstrations for women's votes in England were not particularly "lady-like."  I just wonder sometimes if we....
There are times I think we need our own Mrs. Pankhurst:

Another area of comments sparked me to write this:
“In response to Bluto in zhera's observation, currently above this one, I suggested something a bit more violent, using Britain's suffragette movement as an example. I am all for protesting at churches, although we would have to be aware that open carry and concealed weapons laws exist. However, I am serious about this. As I said, the Civil Rights movement had both Dr. King and Malcolm X...and, I'm convinced, it needed both. Mrs. Pankhurst in London lived her convictions, she was in the trenches and chained in jail and force fed like the others. We made progress with the AIDS drugs by making noise, blocking streets and entrances to buildings, and by educating ourselves AND OTHERS about AIDS. I can see marriage equality going the way of abortion rights in the US. Abortion is legal, but it's also being chipped away and women soon will find it impossible to exercise that choice in many, many states. And what's being done? Nothing that anyone notices. We don't even have legal status as individuals. And we won't because The Truly Religious will continue to press their hateful advantage to make sure we are not in any way considered equals. I don't advocate violence, but I sure as hell advocate visibility, action, and maybe protesting at churches is the way to start.
“I understand that this may well offend a lot of you. However, being nice has got us where we are, with assholes making totally invalid accusations and winning elections and now demonstrating inside Target stores. Activism is needed now as much as with AIDS, as much as with sodomy laws, as much as with marriage equality. I like being nice. It's brought us a long way. But being nice is the HRC (organization) approach, and while we need to make nice with the money people, we also need to be more forceful in our standing up for ourselves, our brothers, and our sisters. Yes, it's different than it was in the '60s and the '70s. One of the differences is that this time it's about us.”

Why do we excuse ignorance, hate, and fear regarding our fellow humans…especially when the ignorance, hate, and fear come from The Truly Religious?  Why do our objections to their dysinformation need to be gentle, framed with deference that is neither earned nor deserved?  We should not shoot and kill people…that’s their game.  However, being gentle and understanding has not given us our equality.  Something needs to make them pay attention, to learn, to grasp how filled with hate their Christian Love™ is, and maybe even to help them understand just how not-Christian they are.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Roman Catholic Church opposed to lifting statute of limitations on sex abuse?

Today's (May 2, 2016) JoeMyGod included a full-page ad in the Albany, NY Times-Union newspaper warning legislators that “professional victims’ activists” would be in town to sway legislators to "a bill that would lift the statute of limitations on charging the perpetrators of sexual abuse against minors."  Apparently, as far as Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the church does not see this as a good thing, perhaps because it gives the victims rights.  I am not about to copy the ad.  If you're curious to see the Roman Catholic Church's stand on why the statute of limitations on children's ability to report sex abuse, see for this date.  I find it too offensive and infuriating to re-publish here.  However, this is what I posted on JMG:

The LGBT Center's DVD library received "Spotlight" last week and I watched it... twice...over the weekend. I've also read "Betrayal," the book upon which the movie is based. The book had me yelling out loud (Hubs is used to that). The movie, necessarily shorter, is more focused on the immediate goings on, but it's no less infuriating. There is a scene in the movie in which the Stanley Tucci character says, "It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to destroy one, too." As the Billy Crudup character says, the statute of limitations runs out quickly; the victims don't say anything because they're kids, and it's not the sort of thing a boy would admit to, especially in a working class neighborhood. Another character asks at the end of his silent victim speech, "How do you say 'no' to God?"
There is much I don't understand about humans, about powerful organizations who cannot admit to wrongdoing. Worse, I don't understand how an organization that professes love, compassion and understanding prefers to blame the victims of employees' abuses of the power given to them, and then continue to blame the victims by trying to deflect blame to others...I get it, they need to save their ass. Nixon said, "I am not a crook." Except he was.
I understand vested interest, too, but that doesn't mean that changing the law in favor of the victims is picking on the poor catholics. It means that ANY victim of child abuse would have the gift of time to understand what happened to her/him, to understand that it was wrong, that s/he has been suffering because of hiding it, but s/he would be older, understand, and could accuse. The catholic church is perhaps the largest organization facing child abuse accusations, but so what? It's not just about the catholics. It's ANY child abuse. Donahue gives the impression that it's just another catholic bashing, poor baby. He writes to try to justify something, "...less than 1% of priests nationwide have had a credible accusation made against him. Who can beat that record?" He sounds as if having a child molester in the holy organization is OK, he's defending the priests. Why in his god's name are the victims unimportant? If it's only one victim, that's one too many. The church was responsible for it; the church needs to own it. The priests broke both civil and moral law, yet Donahue and the rest want to continue to cover up.
"How do you say 'no' to God?" By helping the victims as much as we can.