Anniversary. One week ago last Friday, on August 16, 2018, Bob, my partner of 50 years, died quietly in our West Village apartment. My mourning now takes the shape of working with his 29 diaries, 9 photo albums, and voluminous correspondence to combine them with my own reminiscences and comments in a joint memoir. In time everything will go to the gay history archive at the Gay Center on West 13th Street, but two subcollections will go to the Center next month. And now ...
Another Brooklyn note, lest residents of that noble Borough think that I, a longtime Manhattanite, deem them unworthy of comment. Far from it. Followers of this blog know the morbid fascination inspired in me by Brooklyn's very own Gowanus Canal, once a jaunty little trickle of a creek freshening the rural swards of Brooklyn. Alas, the genius of American engineering transformed it into the industry-plagued Gowanus Canal of today, whose waters were once plied daily by a hundred ships. One of the most polluted sites in the nation, today its stink reaches far beyond the narrow confines of its sewage-strewn waters.
|In the background, a newly reopened subway station. |
As for the foreground, the less said the better.
The All-Nine Images
I'm on Facebook (more or less). For my personal page, go here. For my business page, go here. And please, oh please, "like" the business page, if you can. I'm trying to play the Facebook game, and "likes" are a part of it. And now for my five favorite hates. Facebook is not -- not yet, at least -- one of them.
FIVE THINGS I HATE
3. pop-up ads
4. "Happy Birthday to You"
5. coffee enemas
1. Once, in the dining hall at college, I got one with its jacket not removed. The jacket listed the ingredients, a conglomeration of meat scraps so disgusting that it gave me a lifelong disgust for the product.
2. The genius of American technology: we put a man on the moon, but have never muffled a jackhammer.
3. They’ll never hook me this way. And if I can’t click them off, I leave the website at once, and forever.
4. It isn't sung, it's screeched. I've never heard it sung remotely on key. In this regard, it outdoes even the Star-Spangled Banner. By all means wish people a happy birthday, just don't try to sing it.
5. Never had one. Said to be a healing modality, but they strike me as a waste of good coffee.
Five Weird Things I Love
1. slime molds
5. Destroying Angel
1. They are infinitely varied in form, ranging from clusters of little black spheres to chains of yellowish pretzels to shapeless red blobs to little brown balls. And they change with time: what is white and oozy in the morning may be a hard black crust by night. The names themselves enchant me: multigoblet slime, carnival candy slime, wolf’s milk slime, red raspberry slime, pretzel slime. I have seen a few of them on damp stumps in autumn woods, but never enough. They are weird, they are beautiful.
3. These are good guys, they kill mosquitos and flies. Yes, the black widow eats her mate after sex, but that’s a problem for lusting male spiders, not us. In fact, their sex life is far richer than ours, involving, bondage, rape, chastity belts, castration, and suicide. When I find one in my apartment – which is rare – I transport it to a window and release it into nature, where it will surely thrive.
|A spider eating a fly.|
|A black widow spinning her web on a tree branch.|
4. I know them from aquariums, where their streamlined bodies dart and swirl, their mouths showing dagger-like teeth, while their eyes look cold and merciless. I wouldn’t want to meet one in the wild, but in the Coney Island aquarium, with a good, thick glass wall between us, I marvel at their long, supple bodies, their deft grace in the water. They are efficient machines for killing. Scary, yes, but beautiful.
5. Amanita virosa. An Amanita mushroom, characterized by (1) a ring or annulus, the remains of a partial veil; (2) a cap with remnants of the universal veil; and (3) a volva, an enlarged base consisting of a cuplike structure, the remains of the universal veil. (The partial veil protects the spore-developing gills on the lower surface of the cap. The universal veil encloses the entire mushroom. Both veils are broken as the mushroom matures.) And why is it important to note these three characteristics? Because they say AMANITA, and Amanitas include some of the deadliest mushrooms in the world, responsible for countless deaths. I often saw this one in the woods while vacationing on Monhegan Island, Maine, its classic white mushroom silhouette sharp against the dark trunks of the spruce trees.
|The volva, or base, of Destroying Angel.|
Look at it, but don’t pick and eat it, unless you want to devastate your liver (which may have to be replaced), vomit, have diarrhea, and depart this earth. Destroying Angel: beautiful, but deadly.
Coming soon: How to get rid of junk mail: a sure-fire ruthless guide.
© 2019 Clifford Browder