My Father Washes With Rubbing Alchohol

(another aside, until I very shortly return to the regular trans* related programming)

My father washes with rubbing alcohol.  He unscrews the entire lid from the bottle, holds three fingers over the opening, then rubs it all over his hands and arms.  Next, he scratches it into his legs, his feet.

Each time that he re-loads his hands with alcohol, I see bits of skin, hair, blood, effluvia swirl back into the bottle.

He believes that this ritual will prevent poison ivy, skin fungus, athletes foot, jungle rot, lyme disease, sore joints, arthritis, rheumatics, infections, Ebola, flesh-eating bacteria, and brain eating amoebas.

He is actually causing dry, itchy, raw, irritated skin which produces incessant sensations of ivy rash, creepy crawlers, dust mites, parasites, and melanoma.

After he leaves, I discard the bottle and purchase a new one.


Envisioning Howard Finster

Before I return to my regularly scheduled blogging, I need to take one minute to plug my friend Norman Girardot’s book.

Howard Finster was a retired preacher from Georgia, who in his later years became a spectacularly prolific, frequently genius, self-taught artist.  In his unclassifiable book, Girardot examines Finster from the point of view of a scholar of comparative religion, but also from the point of view of a person who’s life was transformed by his interactions with Finster.

Norman spent five or six years on this book, and I am honored to have been a part of his book’s creation.  It is trully unique and insightful.

This is the book:

original coverThis is my spoofical version of the book:

officialcoverHere is the book at amazon.

If you look closely at the Amazon page for the book, you can see a picture of Norman’s face which I drew years ago.

By the way Finster left his own mark on my life, as well as thousands of other people’s lives.  We passed a banjo back and forth, while we waited for the pot of coffee to brew, and he called me a star-faced clown from heaven.  I am glad to see that he is still being talked about, 14 years after his death.

Feed Stray Cats

I have been participating in a discussion with Ellen Hawley, of Notes from the U.K., about the practice of feeding obnoxious wild animals ( Gulls, cats, bears, gators, etc … ) and the strange attraction that I feel about the idea.  I realized that the idea is nothing new to me:

Feed Stray Cats

I leave backpacks and coolers full of hotdogs and beer for bears in the woods.

I painted this sign in 2003.  It reads:

Feed stay cats.  Allow them to grow and thrive and multiply until they are a formidable presence in the neighborhood.

Feed birds and squirrels in the park. Feed gulls at the beach. Leave backpacks and coolers full of hotdogs and beer for bears in the woods.

I don’t know why I have such a perverse attraction to this idea.  In real life, I would never do it.  But I have this vision of myself as an elderly person sitting on the beach with bags of potato chips and hundreds of swooping ravenous gulls.

Now I have to confess that my wife and I do feed stray cats. I am already halfway to being a weird cat lady.   Ever worse, we know the cats by name.  But we get together with the other weird cat ladies in our neighborhood and get the cats fixed.  So all of them are neutered (Scruffy Ringtail and Sylvester and Jewel and Spikey and Grey Momma and Grey M and Grey F and Jasmine and Dash ).

So I guess that’s all right.

Mind Purge

Typical Trans* Column Outline

  1. I went to the {bank, restaurant, work, store}.
  2. Where a person that I {know, d0 not know, am married to}.
  3. Called me {she, he, her, his, they, yo, dude, babe, sweety, sir, ma’am, man, honey, hey baby, hey lady, girl, bitch, brother, bro, cxxt, fxxxxt}.
  4. Which caused me to feel {happy, sad, elated, confused, angered, amused, delighted, accepted, defensive, angered, mad, defensive, acknowledged, recognized, invisible, thoughtful}.
  5. But now I am feeling much better.

My intent is to stick to transition related topics here. Recently, though, everything that I think of writing seems to follow the above formula. Being a naturally scattered person, this week I am going to write about a bunch of unrelated topics, so that next week I can return with the regularly scheduled programing:

1. Everyone is getting married. Hooray for Marriage Equality.
Two of our best friends were married in New Years Eve.  Last week, in the same day, I ran into a couple of gal friends who got married in November, and a couple of guy friends who are getting married next weekend.
2. I have been making art. I go through periods when my creativity is diverted to other things, but I always return to visual art.

Mr. Imagination Shrine

Shrine To Mr. Imagination

This is my shrine to my friend Mr. Imagination, who died almost three years ago.  We spent some valuable time together, over many years, and I still feel much sadness over his parting.  There is so much in my life to remind me of him.  We traded a lot of art, so I have his work in every room of my house.  Glancing at his art usually stirs off a string of memories.

It is hard  to see in the above photo, but the shrine has a throne room on the left, and a bedroom on the right.

Here is a close up of the bedroom:


Bedroom in Shrine

The whole shrine is made out of a horrendous built-in spice cabinet which I ripped down when I bought the house that I live in now.  There are ritual activities associated with the shrine.  You may have tea with his dolls, or you may flatten bottle caps, for instance (I still find bags of bottle caps that friends had saved for Mr. I).

If you want to see Mr. Imaginations art, the Intuit gallery in Chicago is having a retrospective of his work right now.

More scattered topics soon until we return to trans* related topics!

Sign Off

I have a friend with whom I share email correspondence.  Somehow, we have got in the habit of writing humorous closings for our emails.

This morning, I am in an exceptionally silly mood.  Partly because am excited about driving the neighbor down to Ikea in Conshohocken this afternoon.  I am the unofficial Ikea tour guide.  I don’t have any money myself, but I can go with a friend and help them to spend their money!

So, here is how I signed off my email this morning:

Giant, Car Dwarfing, House Swallowing, Earth Tremor Inducing, Stories on Great-Great-Grammas Knee Inspiring, Slumbering Bear Wakes-Up-Turns-Over-And-Goes-Back-To-Sleep, Even Public Charter School Employees Might Get a Haffa Day Off,  Aint No More Salt Left at the Store, I’d Better Put My Caramels In My Pocket to Keep Them Warm, Let’s Go Skiing, If I Was To Put Some Flavored Syrup On This It Sure Would Be Good In August, Sure Am Glad That We Have Marriage Equality Now So I Can Snuggle Up With My Wife, Igloo Igloo Igloo Igloo I Just Want To Say Igloo Igloo Igloo, I’ve Got a Bad Case of the Sillies Today, WooHoo For Marriage Equality Again, Better Run Out To The Store For Bread And Milk, It Sure Was Funny The Stray Cat Scruffy Who Lives At The Foot Of Our Lawn Didn’t Get Up Until Yesterday At 1:30 PM And Then He Just Stretched And Turned Around And Climbed Back Into His Little House, Kinda Like Everest to a Garden Gnome, Piles of Snow,


And, oh, this friend just got married to her partner of 15 years, on New Years eve.  We had the great honor of being witnesses.  Plus, I got to ring the Tibetan bowl during the ceremony!

I just had to share!

Buzz Cut

I looked first in the people department, but I purchased them from the pet department, because the pet version was sturdier, yet less expensive.

Alongside the clippers, the box contained a pamphlet, with instructions for grooming sheep and goats, horses and hogs.

They have given me, and the dog, many years of faithfull service.

I love my clippers.

horse parts cow partsbuzzcut

Hey, all.

I haven’t posted, or read any of your posts, since mid October.

To those of you whom I read and comment on regularly … Your words mean something to me.  I am going back to read and comment on some of what you have posted in the last few months.  Thank you for existing.  It is important to me to have people to communicate with who share some of my life experiences.

Peace to all of you.

I Love My Job

Marie Curie in laboratory

Marie Curie in laboratory.  Image public domain from Wikipedia.

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