Monthly Archives:

October 2017

A Surprise Halloween Post

After my summer sabbatical from blogging, I vowed to treat you (or trick you as today’s case may be) to a different and occasionally-unexpected posting schedule. It goes against the cardinal rule of blogging, which is to stick to a set schedule, but that’s why I like it. When you know the rules you can break them. Hence this surprise post on a day when this blog usually goes dark.

Tonight, we welcome the neighborhood children to our home for free candy in a resigned bow to socially-sanctioned extortion. (And by we, I mean that Andy will be handing out candy with a smile and genuine amusement while I hover in the background nervously sipping a strong cocktail, possibly draped in a velvet cloak lined with purple satin but more likely still in work clothes since everything starts so early these days.)

Our front yard will both beckon and warn the unwary passers-by. A stand of castor beans overhangs the walkway, waiting to grab anyone with its prickly seedpods. Its immense leaves spread wide like an outstretched hand – fingertips elongating to fiendish needle points. A thorny clump of barberry waits to shred the calves of those careless enough to ignore proscribed boundaries. Even our pastel cleome comes with sporadic razor points laying in wait for anyone daring enough to pick one of her pretty flower heads. My plants fulfill two very important needs: protection and prettiness.

When the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is this thin, we need beauty and barricades.

Happy Halloween, everybody. 

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The Eve of All Hallow’s Eve: Recap

Halloween is my day off, which means I will dress down and let the amateurs have their fun. See you on Thursday, when I’ll be back to the usual shenanigans. Until then, check out the previous week here. It was positively ghoulish. 

It began with the paws of a lion, padding along even the late in the growing season. 

A couple of Halloween heroes

Things that go Boo

A party song with a melancholy undertow.

NYC adventures!

NYC adventures with Suzie!

A perfect marriage: flowers and fashion

Vote for the next Three-Time Hunk of the Day

An outfit fashioned out of black lace, red garters, and a thong

Halloween time again. 

Hunks of the Day included Miles Kennelly & Zander Hodgson.

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Gourd Have Mercy

‘Tis the season for pumpkins and squash and dried hay and cornstalks as seen in this timely corner of the Anchorage in Ogunquit, Maine. It’s that time of the year when we begin the roasting journey in the kitchen, with winter vegetables and squash, savoring the autumnal flavors and hues. The aromas of sage and rosemary, cinnamon and nutmeg, conspire with the gray smoke trails of extinguished candles and other cozy accoutrements.

Halloween is one day away, and I’m put in the mood by a spell of seasonal songs. Once upon a time my friend Joe and I created some spooky-themed music and lyrics, and next year I’m hoping to return to the process. Until then, a look at what we we’ve already done.

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Red Garters, Black Lace

This year’s costume for the Boo-jolais Vampire Ball was the vampier, slightly-more-sinister sister of last year’s lace ensemble. I usually don’t veer so close to something I’ve worn before, but this one seemed to take that one to a new extreme, with its full-six-hoop bottom and high-collar decadence. Its color palette was a complete shift as well. Next year I’ll conjure some head-spinning act that is truly outré. (Which in my case may very well be jeans and a t-shirt.)

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The Next Triple-Crown Hunk

Thus far in the history of our Hunk of the Day feature, there’s only been one gentleman who has been honored a total of three times: Ronnie Kroell. It’s time we add another to that vaunted stratosphere of hunky heaven, and I’m going to allow Twitter to vote on who it will be. (You don’t need to follow me to vote, but I’d strongly recommend it for the hoot and a half that my Twitter feed often is. The pool will be the Pinned Tweet for the next few days.) As for the final contenders for the next Triple Threat Crowning, I’ve chiseled it down to the following fine folks, in no particular order:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of these gentlemen has been honored as a Hunk of the Day twice already, so whoever gets the next nod will become an ultra-rare Third-Time HOD Honoree. This is serious. It’s the stuff of resume builders and online glory. It’s the spark at the end of the curriculum vitae that might get you the next gig. This is your place in the pantheon of internet adulation.

A word of advice to those in the running: promotion is everything, and nudity is even more. That’s all. Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best Hunk win!

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The Secret Life of Flowers X Fashion

“Normality is but a paved road. Comfortable to walk, yes, but no flowers grow on it…”

Baz Luhrmann has created the holiday promotional video for ERDEM X H&M’s new collaboration/collection, coming next month. This site is big on flowers, as am I, so this looks intriguing enough to get me back in the store. It’s not spring, so florals can be groundbreaking again. 

As for this collection, I’m intrigued and impressed, and I only hope H&M delivers something slightly above its average/poor quality for such an enterprise. There’s promise here, but not all flowers are as pretty as they appear in pictures. We shall see. 

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust

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A Tale of Two Trips – Part Two

Andy was good enough to drive Suzie and me to the train station while it was still dark. And chilly. A welcome chill in the relative heat of this autumn, and one that would quickly dissipate, like the fog rolling over the Hudson River as we rushed by en route to Penn Station. It was an other-worldly journey, clouded by the early hour as much as by the strange weather that had portions of the river shrouded in fog and cloud cover, with only a few floating vessels and trees appearing through the haze, illuminated by the morning sun. A magical beginning to a magical day. I wore my grandmother’s sapphire and diamond star-shaped ring on my pinky – a bit of bling that would have made her proud. We brought some lost family members along with us in our talks during the day, as we tend to do only when it’s just the two of us.

We started with a rather unproductive stop at Century 21. I found a stunning Emilio Pucci coat which was marked down to $1260 (from $4000 – which is a bit of a steal when you think about it, but not so much when you really think about it). In the end, Suzie found more than I did, but on a day trip without a hotel home-base, I didn’t mind being empty-handed. We walked along Central Park as it neared lunch time, making our way to the Plaza.

In the past, I’ve discounted this corner of New York as a tourist trap, and it still is, but there are nooks and hideaways that can get you away from the masses and into the embrace of a cocktail. The Rose Court is one such place, slightly hidden up and away from the Plaza’s Lobby. We found a velvet banquette in the corner and set up shop for a ladies-who-lunch moment. A martini and a burger are a great accompaniment for a conversation with an old friend (so is whatever froo-froo champagne concoction Suzie ordered off the menu). The latter came with an orange peel that occupied her. Food and service were both impeccable, and you pay for both. We finished and made our way to Broadway for a matinee preview of ‘M. Butterfly’ with Clive Owen. I was eagerly anticipating the visual sumptuousness that director Julie Taymor usually brings to her work, but it was sorely lacking. The jewel-box description of the show made it sound more beautiful and intricate that it is, but the cast did their best with it. Even when Broadway doesn’t shine at its brightest, it’s still a nice escape.

A walk back toward Penn Station and some shopping stops later (Suzie tried out a few pairs of Doc Martens as if it was 1994 all over again) and soon we were at Keen’s for a final cocktail before our train ride home. It’s our old pre-Madonna concert stomping ground, where we’d always grab a burger before the strenuous gauntlet of a Madison Square Garden show. On this night, a sleepy Sunday evening that had us peering up at the Empire State Building on a breezy but balmy balcony a few moments before, we paused at the bar, holding on to our last moments in the city.

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A Tale of Two Trips – Part One

For two weekends in a row, I made a trip to New York. That’s usually the extent of my travels to that not-quite-fair city in a year, but I’m coming around to its appeal after quite some time of general antipathy. It still fatigues me, it still wears on my nerves, and it still wreaks havoc with my social anxiety (it’s not exactly the place one can avoid people), but if I can seek out quieter spots and safe havens, as well as the escape of a Broadway show, I can usually enjoy it.

For the first weekend, I stayed at the rather atrocious Marmara Hotel. The less said about it the better, but I’ll reveal a contradictory complaint to whet your appetite. As some of you may know, I’m not shy about showing almost everything here and getting completely naked at the drop of a hat and/or outfit. I have no hang-ups about nudity or such, but I like to be in control of how it’s done, and how much is actually revealed, and I’m never naked in public in person. (You won’t see me parading around Times Square a la the naked cowboy or that frightening over-size adult baby.) In person, I’m rather shy, and almost always fully-clothed. (There are notable party exceptions, but there’s never full-on nudity of any sort.) So it was with shock and dismay when, in the midst of my changing for dinner, housekeeping barged into the room unannounced and saw me in all my middle-aged paunchy glory. My hands instinctively cupped my cock before I gave up the ghost and shrieked that someone was in the room, but the first woman likely got a full-frontal eyeful. Good for her, I guess, but who enters a room at 5 PM right after a guest has just checked in, and without knocking first? You can find the rest of my hotel review on Trip Advisor, but dirty carpet and sticky balcony doors won’t win anybody over.

Thankfully the rest of my first trip was rather wonderful. The main impetus was to try Tom Ford’s Ultra-Limited Private Blend “Fucking Fabulous” – as first reported here. I’d uncovered hints that Andy might be working on that as a Christmas gift, but its hefty price tag demanded an in-person test for confirmation that it was as exciting as its cheeky moniker. On Saturday morning I made my way up the plush, carpeted circular staircase leading to the fragrance room of the Madison Ave flagship store, and promptly sprayed my arm with the new scent. Happily, it’s exquisite. While it’s described as an Oriental Chypre, I got a much lighter feel from it. Softer than expected, it floats around one rather than stomping about like ‘Tuscan Leather’ or ‘Amber Absolute’ – the perfect bit of subtle sparkle and pizzazz for the upcoming holidays.

With my Tom Ford mission accomplished, I had time to take in a preview of ‘The Band’s Visit’ – the new Broadway musical that got rave reviews when it first opened in Connecticut last year. Those reviews were largely correct – it’s an enchanting little show with two lead performances that are lock-ins for Tony nominations. The music was glorious, the storyline quirky and unexpected, and despite a relatively stark and drab set (intentionally-so to fit the storyline) I was completely transported to another world. Initially and outwardly it appears as a dreary stop on a way to better places, but soon reveals itself rich in the wonder and beauty of the human experience. To be taken away from our own demons for a couple of hours is the greatest gift of a Broadway show.

The next weekend, Suzie would join me for another one

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Just the Saddest Party Song In The World

It’s our party we can do what we want
It’s our party we can say what we want
It’s our party we can love who we want
We can kiss who we want
We can sing what we want

It struck me as our train was speeding toward its over-an-hour-late arrival in Albany-Rensselaer at one o’clock in the morning. Suzie was asleep next to me and we had just enjoyed a marvelous day-trip to New York. Most of me was exhausted and supremely spent after departing before the break of day and arriving well after the fall of night. But a small part was not quite ready to stop, a part that didn’t want the carefree Sunday to end. A reminder that once upon a time the one AM hour was just when things started to get good.

Red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere
Hands in the air like we don’t care
‘Cause we came to have so much fun now
Bet somebody here might get some now
If you’re not ready to go home
Can I get a “Hell, no!”? (hell, no)
‘Cause we’re gonna go all night
‘Til we see the sunlight, alright

And we can’t stop
And we won’t stop
Can’t you see it’s we who own the night?
Can’t you see it’s we who ’bout that life?
And we can’t stop
And we won’t stop
We run things, things don’t run we
Don’t take nothing from nobody
Yeah, yeah

At 42 years of age, I mostly find that those days have passed. A week later and I’m still trying to recover the sleep that was lost. The body doesn’t bounce back as quickly as it once did, the energy no longer replenishes itself instantly, and getting a second wind is a thing of miracles and dreams. When Miley Cyrus sings this strangely melancholy song of non-stop partying, it means something different to me. Hidden among the distorted vocals and modern machinations is a gorgeously sad melody that celebrates and bemoans not wanting the party to end. Defiant all the way into the first light of morning, we keep our hands up in the air, reaching for something that will always remain elusive, grasping for the final feather in the cap of a perfect day. We never seem to realize that by the time we are trying to capture the moment, it has already gone. Sometimes it’s enough to remember, sometimes it’s not.

To my home girls here with the big butt
Shaking it like we at a strip club
Remember only God can judge ya
Forget the haters ’cause somebody loves ya
And everyone in line in the bathroom
Trying to get a line in the bathroom
We all so turnt up here
Getting turned up, yeah, yeah, yeahhh

And so we draw back from getting too serious, as if by keeping things silly and superficial we can tame the ticking of time, roll back the encroaching years, stop the loss and hurt that age and growing older inevitably bring. In ‘The Great Gatsby’, Daisy Buchanan staves off her sorrow by inhabiting a flimsy atmosphere of sheer, ephemeral glamour, lost in her soft cadence of whimsical words. I wonder if that’s the best way to deal with the world. Turn a blind eye. Escape in the fantasy of beauty and riches. Throw off heartache with the turn of a bracelet. Maybe Daisy was onto something. Maybe she knew things that we don’t.

It’s our party we can do what we want to
It’s our house we can love who we want to
It’s our song we can sing if we want to
It’s my mouth I can say what I want to
Say yeah, yeah, yeah, ehh

And we can’t stop, yeah
And we won’t stop, oh
Can’t you see it’s we who own the night?
Can’t you see it’s we who ’bout that life?

And we can’t stop
And we won’t stop
We run things, things don’t run we
Don’t take nothing from nobody
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ehh

Our train trundles onward, speeding us toward the final destination, trying to make up for lost time, whether we want off or not. In the still, dim compartment, young people parade by, former versions of ourselves. They’re just beginning, and in their wide-awake smiles and cheery countenance in the face of a very late train, I can see they have yet to be beaten down by life. It warms the heart. They don’t want to stop just yet either, and they have the energy and expanse of a long future to sustain them.

I just want to reach the soft comfort of my bed, and the moment after a long hot shower when I can sink under the covers and inhabit the only place I want to be at one AM these days.

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Hunk of the Day: Zander Hodgson

Sometimes one doesn’t have to do anything more exceptional than look pretty and smile in order to be a Hunk of the Day. That’s the whole point of a male model. Case in point is today’s selection, Zander Hodgson. The hair alone is enough to merit such an honor.

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A Night For A Bite

The Boojolais Vampire Ball takes place tonight – starting at 6 PM at the Albany Capital Center. It’s the big dress-up day of the year for some of us – for me it’s just another Friday in bloomers. This year’s outfit is reminiscent of last year’s, but with a darker spin, and a bigger circumference (and I don’t just mean my stomach). It’s always a good time for a good cause. Tickets are still available, so I hope to see you there.

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Halloween Heroes

Never thought I’d be so moved by a couple of kids and their parents, but watch this all the way through and get the tissues handy. 

Then check out the rest of the work that Landwirth Legacy is doing

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Hunk of the Day: Miles Kennelly

Instagram is notoriously inconsistent when it comes to which pics they decide to ban and which they allow to remain. Some have said there’s an unsaid bias against male nudity, while women get free reign to show tits and ass. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I do know I get a ton more accounts trying to follow me that have a profile shot of a naked woman, 0 followers, and a link to a porn site than I get naked men with the same. Another bit of evidence to support the theory is the recent banning of Miles Kennelly for some relatively tame photographs. Mr. Kennelly is an undergrad at Harvard University, and he wears a number of other hats such as investor, entrepreneur and vlogger. Apparently Instagram didn’t like him in a swimsuit so they kept taking down his photos. Some are seen here, and nothing rises to the level of tasteless or even remotely close to full-frontal nudity. Hell, there’s not even a naked ass here, and they’re all over Instagram. Whatever the reasoning for Instagram’s prudish and arbitrary banning policy, it’s resulted in even greater exposure for Mr. Kennelly, which is why he’s Hunk of the Day. That’s the way an Instagram ban works: more traffic elsewhere, less Instagram interaction and engagement. Congratulations to Kennelly on joining the I-Was-Banned-From-Instagram club, and his first Hunk of the Day nod.

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The Paws of a Lion

You’re gonna hear me roar, because I have nothing but accolades and excitement to report on my first season growing the lion’s paw plant you see in these photographs. Scientifically christened ‘Leonotis leonurus’ – oh what a beautiful bit of Latin alliteration! – the more common name for this beauty is the lion’s paw, based on the fuzzy petals of its monarda-like flower form. (It’s also called the lion’s tail plant in some circles, but I find the paw reference more fitting and accurate.)

I saw it in the corner of a Faddegon’s greenhouse earlier in the year and read about its size and orange color. For some reason, with the notable exception of a self-seeding butterfly weed (Asclepias) I have a hard time getting orange into the gardens. (I’m not a fan of marigolds.) The small photo on the plant marker promised that would change. It also promised a big, bodacious, space-filling annual that would astound in a single growing season.

I planted it in full sun, as was its listed preference, and waited. And waited. And waited. Slowly, it grew taller. Then wider. Then taller again. Finally, in the last couple of weeks, it flowered, and it was well-worth the wait. I took these photos in the late afternoon sun, and hopefully you will get the lion’s paw resemblance.

What I didn’t manage to capture, and therefore can’t completely convey, is the size and stature of this plant. It stands at a good five feet tall, and sprawls out just as wide. It’s a doozy of a plant and deceptively appears rather inconspicuous until the floral fireworks begin. That’s also where, at least for this season, things got the slightest bit problematic.

This specimen didn’t get going until late September. Luckily for us, we’ve had an extended run of summer weather so we were able to enjoy it, but for most years such gorgeousness would have been lost to the cold and frost. I’m not sure if its super-late-season blooms are normal, or if the spotty summer had something to do with it. From what I’ve read it enjoys a hot and dry atmosphere, similar to its native Africa, so perhaps our relatively rainy early summer set it back.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find a few of these again next year. I was going to see if I could capture some seeds, but I fear the frost will arrive before they have a chance to ripen. We shall see. Until then, you’re gonna hear this roar.

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An Out-of-Time Recap

It was a promise I made after taking this summer’s break from blogging: no rules, no restrictions, and no obligation to blog for any other reasons than inspiration and desire. On this Monday, I’m writing one quick recap, because I spent all day yesterday in New York with Suzie. We shall get to that later in the week. (Everyone loves a Suzie Adventure.) First things first.

One of the very first Private Blends by Tom Ford was Tuscan Leather. All these years later, I finally came around to it. 

Ease on down the yellow brick road

Andy celebrated the first birthday since losing his father, and though it was a relatively somber affair, there was cake and pie and shrimp cocktail. 

Get your Boo on at the upcoming Boojolais Vampire Ball this Friday, October 27.

A quarter of a century ago, Madonna released ‘Erotica’ and ‘Sex’ and my world would never be the same. 

Going for the Gold Rim

It’s a sad day when I end up defending children from a cashier at Lowe’s

Hunks of the Day included Billy Eichner, Lewis Hamilton, Philip Fusco and Diego Arnary.

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