Extraordinary Popular Delusions

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Methinks the has fallen for a red herring. It's not that . It's that they don't read the AJC anymore.

Today's top-left story on the website? ""

Top story under news buzz? ""

Oh yeah. You'll have to register if you want to read those stories online.

And they seriously don't understand when people find more substance in ?

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I have no idea who Mike Penner was. I'm not a sports fan, so I certainly don't have any need to follow sports news through a writer a full continent away from me. Having said that, however, this writer showed up on my radar screen this morning. It seems Mr. Penner is taking some time off from writing and will return in a few weeks as Christine Daniels.

Christine has written for her readers explaining clearly, nervously, and unapologetically why she's doing this: because it's the only thing she can do. Or in her words:

When you reach the point when one gender causes heartache and unbearable discomfort, and the other brings more joy and fulfillment than you ever imagined possible, it shouldn't take two tons of bricks to fall in order to know what to do.

It's well-written and thought-provoking, as well as unexpectedly humorous. (Be sure to catch her anecdote about using a movie to come out to her friend Tim.) It's also about 20 years behind my own coming out as a gay man. I had hoped we'd gotten past the point where anyone felt it necessary to live their lives so far in a closet, but apparently that's still not the case. Maybe one day we'll reach that point, so that future generations don't have to endure so much heartache for a little bit of happiness.

Godspeed, Christine. Know that someone you've never met is pulling for you.

Monday, April 23, 2007


We’re back from in Asheville, and WOW what a show! Kai and Nat (and John and Anita and Maggie and Eugene and everybody else) have every right to be proud of the way this one came off. There’s a lot I could say here, but it would sound like a really cheesy letter to my mother, so I’ll just give you the highlights.

  • Hilton and Lucy, our former next-door neighbors (and quite possibly the best next-door neighbors ever invented) were there. Yes, this in itself constitutes a highlight. If you live in Atlanta and wonder whatever happened to Mambo, it’s been reincarnated as .
  • Dinner Friday night was at Mediterranean restaurant in Biltmore Village called with appetizers at their sister restaurant next door, Enoteca. EVERYTHING that landed on a plate in front of us was really phenomenal. I had the Paella Catalonia, which was very good but a little different from Lucy’s Paella Catalan. Phil had a lamb shank that was to die for.
  • Saturday morning, we arrived at the Biltmore Estate for a panoramic photo of cars and owners in front of the house, before the gates were opened to the public. The proofs look great. I’ll see if I can wrangle a digital version for both of my adoring fans.
  • Saturday afternoon, while all of our friends were picking through the sharks, we committed an act of heresy and signed up for a . Oh stop it. BMW used to own Land Rover, so it’s OK. Besides, the allure of getting somebody else’s Range Rover dirty in a back corner of the Biltmore Estate was simply too strong to ignore.
  • Saturday night at the banquet, we one 3rd place in class (not a bad achievement, considering the number and quality of sixes there). Then I won a in the raffle, courtesy of . And since I never win anything aside from the occasional t-shirt, I thought that was pretty cool. And then I won the grand pooh-bah prize: a complete refinishing kit from . I made a lot of enemies when that happened. Apparently the world is full of haters.

Those are the biggies. Yeah, it was a great show, and it didn't end with a wreck. (This in itself constitutes a great show.) Watch this space for photos as I get them uploaded.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh the places I've been

So it occurs to me that you’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to for the past year. (Yeah, I know you’re not. Humor me.) Honestly, there have only been a couple of notable developments.

My grandmother Pauline passed away in February. I’m always going to miss her, but I’m finding it hard right now to convince myself that she’s gone. We lived in different cities for the last 20 years, so I didn’t get to see her as often as I’d like. And that means that right now, I’m still convinced that she’s alive in Moultrie. She was one of only two grandparents that I ever knew, and her husband (my grandfather) died in 1983. Both of my dad’s parents died before he was grown, and my dad died in 1995. That means that my mother is my only living “ancestor,” for lack of a better word. That’s a really odd feeling, as if the grave made a quantum leap toward me when my grandmother died. Maybe that’s why I'm finding it easier to believe that she’s still alive.

By the way, something happened at her funeral that everyone saw and no one mentioned, at least to me. It’s been bugging me, and I want to explain what happened. Even if it’s just for my lone reader in France.

My brother and I were asked to be casket-bearers, so we met with the funeral director before the funeral so that they could explain what we needed to do. Yes, I paid attention, but you’ll understand if I had other things on my mind. The instructions were pretty standard: roll the casket toward the hearse, lift it into the hearse, follow the hearse to the cemetery, take the casket from the hearse and carry it to the gravesite. From there, we load it onto… that mechanism thing that lowers the casket into the grave, whatever it’s called. They told us the gravesite would be “dressed,” whatever that means. They also told us that they would be right beside us every step of the way in case we messed up.

Things went pretty smoothly until we got to the cemetery and my family gathered around the gravesite. We lifted the casket out of the hearse, and started carrying it toward the gravesite. I was on the front left corner of the casket, with two people directly behind me. There were two people already buried in this family plot: my grandfather Everett and my mother’s older brother Dick. I never met Dick. He died as a little boy when he was hit by a car.

Anyway, as I approached the gravesite, I realized what they meant when they said the grave would be dressed. It was already open, of course, and they had laid Astroturf around the grave so that we could walk across it. And as we approached the grave, I looked down and realized that I could see the edge of Dick’s grave sticking out from under the Astroturf.

I’m sure every mother thinks that part of her job description is to continue preaching the same sermons over and over in the hopes that her children will eventually listen to her. My mom and I even joked about it. “Mom, is this sermon #37 about being careful and not driving too fast? Should I just go get it out of the filing cabinet and re-read it so you don’t have to go through it all again?” I’m sure it was the same with your mother. But what amazes me is that there are a few things that she told me only once, and they will probably stick with me all my life. In this latter category is something that she told me years ago when we were visiting a cemetery somewhere. I couldn’t tell you where. Maybe it’s where her grandparents are buried. Anyway, I was a little boy, and I was walking and playing everywhere in the cemetery, as little boys will do. And she told me that it was very disrespectful to walk over the top of a person’s grave. And for some reason, I haven’t ever been able to shake those words.

So flash forward 30-something years to the day that I’m burying my grandmother, and I’m approaching her grave and realize that I can’t do this without walking across my uncle Dick’s grave. And I can’t. I just can’t. The mechanism thing that we’re going to put the casket onto has wheels on the top, much like the back of the hearse, so obviously the casket is supposed to roll. It made sense to me at the time, but like I said, I had other things on my mind. I put the front edge of the casket onto the rollers… and I just stopped walking. I refused to walk across the grave of an uncle I never met. The men on the right side of the casket kept walking, but the men behind me couldn’t go anywhere. Fortunately for me, the funeral director was close by, and he did grab the handle and pull the casket forward while I just stood there stupidly. With my family in the little folding chairs in front of me, watching. I’m sure they thought I was grief-stricken, and in a way, I guess I was. But honestly, I didn’t go any further because my mother told me that would be disrespectful.

It’s weird. I nearly typed “because my mother always said that would be disrespectful.” But that wouldn’t be accurate because, in this case, she only told me once, and once was enough. I have no idea why.

So that’s it. Like I said, there have been a couple of other developments in the past year, but all of a sudden they don’t seem so important. I’ll get to them one day if you’re interested.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is there anybody out there?

Wow. I didn't mean to take a sabbatical of nearly a full year when I last posted, but it looks like that's what happened. At any rate, the show in Helen is coming up again this weekend, so this seemed like a good time to move that headline a little further into the archives. I know you're tired of looking at it, too. That is, assuming you're still looking at it.

I've considered coming out of "retirement" on a few occasions during the last year, usually when there's a news story that I have strong opinions about, one way or the other. And I know that blogs are, like, so 2005. But you know, I actually just miss writing here. It helps me keep my thoughts straight (no comments from the peanut gallery, please). Plus I've had a few aimless days lately, and blogging always makes me feel better.

Incidentally, we're not going to the show in Helen this year. We're taking a different car to a different show in Asheville, North Carolina. It should be a good weekend. The weather's supposed to be nice. Plus, we're supposed to run the on Friday; I've always wanted to do that but haven't yet had the chance. I'll report back and let you know how it goes.

So that's about it. I'm back, and I'll try to be here a little more often. I know I don't have billions of adoring fans, but I've got a couple of folks who still check in from time to time. I'll see if I can't come up with something a little more interesting for you to read.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Helen says Hey

Well, we survived the trip up to Helen with nary an incident. There was a late-night storm on Friday, but it cleared out by late Saturday morning and left us with beautiful weather. In the show, we took People’s Choice in the Late Open class (late model convertibles). And they closed down the main drag through town on Saturday afternoon to let the pedal through.

Aside from that, there’s really not much else to tell. Of the five meals that we ate while in town, one was an awards banquet, one was lunch at Wendy’s, and the other three were Huddle House1. Not my choice, I might add. I stopped by (more bad polka alert; enter at your own risk) looking for German magazines, but all they had were the German equivalent of Women’s Day. I did pick up one of their Bavarian cream muffins, though. Those alone were worth the trip.

We forgot to take the flamingo with us, though. He stayed home and watched the house.

Last night, Trailerboy turned me on to the wonders of Starbuck’s Light Frappucino, or however you spell it. Basically it’s a Frappucino made with skim milk and Splenda, and no whipped cream. The tall ones2 are three points for most flavors, but the mocha is only two points. I had a caramel one last night. It’s actually very much not bad.

Tonight is more Deutsche mit Hans-Peter. I’m actually more comfortable about tonight’s class than last week. I did OK last week, but I’ve been brushing up, so I ought to be able to follow him better. We’ll see how it goes.

1They have French fries, you know.
2That’s “small,” for the English-speakers in my audience.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Such a vicious attack monster

Apparently my Aussie doesn't like the buzzer on our new dryer at all. Last night I was watching...whatever they call that Presidential TV show with Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland. When the dryer buzzed, she roused herself from her floor-slumber, hurried over to where I was lying on the couch, and proceeded to climb up onto my torso. With all four paws. That wouldn't be a big deal except she's never been allowed on the furniture and she knows it. And she's a stickler for rules and structure.2

Her brother (read "70 lbs of blonde fur and slobber") slept like a baby through the entire ordeal.

So much for my watchdog.

1The dog, not Geena Davis.
2If that sounds funny, you've never had an Aussie.