Male model and Mister Universe finalist Alexis Descalzo gives good face (and body) as Hunk of the Day. In these hot summer days, that’s all anyone needs.
This is the response of Joe Jonas to all the hotness that his brother Nick has stolen the past couple of years. A naked Nick Jonas is certainly a sight to behold, but the best revenge is being hot, and Joe proves that right here. When you look back at the Hunk of the Day post for Joe Jonas, and the Nick Jonas Hunk of the Day feature, it’s hard to tell who’s going to be showcased next. (Hint: whoever doffs their shirt again.)
High summer is upon is, as is a heat dome, and I’m reminded of my hero Lee Bailey’s July mantra: water, water, water – and keep watering. Coupled with weeding, cleaning out the attic, and the rest of the house, it’s a stay-home summer of long-overdue tidying. Of course, it’s more than that, but I’ve yet to determine how best to work it all out here. For now, the usual look-back at the week that came before:
The night I took my Mom to a gay bar.
Give it up for Roxette!
High, high hollyhocks.
A very naked Nathan Adrian.
Our one true anniversary.
It’s a wonderful thing when inspiration breeds more inspiration. When Greg Louganis revealed his HIV status, Hunk of the Day Ji Wallace was watching, and Wallace credits that courageous moment as what inspired Mr. Wallace himself to come out as HIV positive. As a fellow Olympic medalist, Wallace could understand the struggle that Louganis went through first-hand. Today, Wallace coaches in his native Australia, and can add Hunk of the Day to his list of accomplishments.
Flowering cherry, signifier of spring.
Oh, early bloomer,
You beckon summer,
Even as you’ll disappear
Long before she arrives.
To put on such a splendid show, without waiting for an audience, is a certain act of defiance.
It is also an act of love, of beauty for the sake of beauty.
There is a lesson in all of this.
You must be still and quiet to glean it.
You must pause and be patient to learn it.
The world will do everything it can to obscure such mysteries.
I’m not sure why it should be that way.
Pink and green, such wonderful colors after a winter of grays and browns, backed by a sky of blue.
So richly saturated your heart wants to burst again, like it does every year.
The balm that erases and heals a winter of hurt.
This is what beauty does.
This is what art does.
Taken together, they can change the world.
“An artist, under pain of oblivion, must have confidence in himself, and listen only to his real master: Nature.” – Auguste Renoir
Every spring arrives with the promise of hope, and the hope of salvation. After the tumults and little deaths we go through in the winter, the return of spring is a happy thing indeed. Far more than that, it is the chance at re-birth and resurrection. We could all use the opportunity to begin anew, to start over again, to re-structure our world.
As we did in the beginning of our journey, we pass through more portals. There is nothing to fear now, and the feeling with each approaching passage has a very different tinge to it than it did at the start.
Perhaps we have accrued a little wisdom, or changed our way of thinking.
Maybe it was something simpler, but somehow more profound.
At any rate, the spring brings the great thaw – of hearts and minds and earth and stone.
The Delusional Grandeur Tour shall resume shortly, and it’s been going for about a year now, which means we are very close to the end. I had such grand hopes for this summer, but with everything that has happened – and is happening – in the world, I’ve cut out some traveling and focused on making my home a little better, inside and out. It’s my version of nesting, I guess, minus the pesky lifelong albatross of a baby.
The summer of ’16 will go down as a very dark one, and I push back against it by improving the homefront. I like our house to be a little sanctuary – not just for us, but for everyone who visits – especially in such times as these. Not unlike this website, which you hopefully find a soothing and safe respite from the rest of the wretched internet. And not unlike The Delusional Grandeur Tour Book, which seeks to thrill and entertain as we make our way into the penultimate chapter. For now, a quick look back:
THE DELUSIONAL GRANDEUR TOUR: LAST STAND OF A ROCK STAR
Some couples – particularly same-sex couples – have multiple anniversaries. Because it was not legal for us to get married for so long, we had no choice. In our instance, we celebrate our “real” anniversary today – for it was on this day that we met. That was sixteen years ago.
A lot has happened in the intervening time, and I wouldn’t change any of it.
Happy Anniversary, Andy!
The British are coming! The British are coming! To Rio, that is, and a handsome part of their mens’ gymnastics team is Max Whitlock, our Hunk of the Day. Mr. Whitlock brings his skills to the pommel horse, where he will move with deft chalked hands and musclebound dexterity.
Because most of you couldn’t get enough of Nathan Adrian naked the first time around, here’s Nathan Adrian nude for the second time. Tom Ford once advised that tan lines like this aren’t bad – they actually give the illusion of lift. Not that Nathan Adrian’s ass needs any augmentation whatsoever… Naked Olympians are body-beautiful by nature.
Suzie was over for dinner the other night (a dinner at which she fingered my wattamelon, but that’s another story) and it’s a fitting point of reference as she was present for the two most salient memories I have of sunflowers. Both are summer tales, meaning they’re light on substance, but imbued with the spirit of summer, at least for me.
The first was a spur-of-the-moment trip to Provincetown in late August of 1995. It was my virgin trip to that famed gay gathering spot, so I was naively unaware of the popularity of the place on summer weekends, even if it was rainy. Luckily that rain made travel a little lighter, and we rolled into a rather quiet town that was damp with the fallen water, but still warm and balmy. Of course there was no room at any of the inns, so like Mary and Joseph with a sequin purse as our baby, we made our way until Suzie found a pricey but doable pine-knotted room that would easily suffice for a night.
The sunflower memory that comes from that weekend was based on one that was blooming beside a gate near the house. I snapped a photograph of it as it shook off the rain and unfurled its sunny face to the world. Scentless itself, it took the smell of summer on as its fragrance, and every time I looked at the framed photo – which followed me from Amsterdam to Boston to Chicago and back – I smiled with the memory of my first weekend in Provincetown with Suzie.
The second sunflower memory I hold is a passing blur. Speeding along some wretched never-ending highway in Montana as we made our way across the country, a field of sunflowers stretched out on either side of us. A sea of yellow and warm summer faces enjoyed the last light of the day as we sped along, bringing Suzie home from her Seattle stint. Once again we were on the hunt for an elusive hotel at prime travel season, where the great park of America stretched its tourist call as far as Montana, making it difficult to locate available lodging. Eventually we did, rolling into some tiny and sterile Super 8, but I already had my sunflower memory to keep me warm at night. The rest was just summer fun.
A nocturnal animal meandering around at the noon hour is a thing of worry. Rabid or worse, they should be avoided at all costs. Of course, when you see a raccoon right outside Copley Place in the middle of the day, you can’t help but gawk a little and take some pics. Besides, there were two women between me and the animal, so if it charged they were my safety buffer. (I’m an equal opportunity scaredy-cat, and I’ll gladly hide behind man, woman, or child if it means saving my ass from rabies.)
Fortunately, this critter seemed less inclined to charge and more interested in escaping our prying eyes by climbing into a nearby tree. Of course, from here on out I’ll have to watch above me as I pass this particular stretch leading to Dartmouth. There’s always something.
It’s my brother’s favorite store, and he used it as inspiration for his own current brick-and-mortar endeavor. This is Ball and Buck Outfitters, a rustic yet charmingly elegant collection of mostly-men’s gear and accessories, and a throw-back to a by-gone era, where shaves and haircuts are given old-school style. Located on Newbury Street, it provides a badly-needed foil to all the high-end holier-than-thou fashion neighbors whose glossier goods sparkle and shine out of the average person’s reach.
Some men’s stores have fizzled and faltered in this vicinity (Jack Spade, Marc Jacobs) but others are thriving thanks to their unabashed embrace of traditionally masculine rituals with a modern-day twist. There are jackets and coats that offer both form and function, a selection of colognes and soaps and beard oils for everyday manscaping and pampering, and various goods and sundries that should fulfill the pickiest male on any wish list. (I tend to go for a gift certificate and let my brother do the work.)
Subtle earthy shades and sturdy fabrics comprise most of the pants, while softer offerings are on hand to cover what’s above. A definite dose of Americana imbues the place as well; the American flag is a recurring motif that somehow doesn’t overwhelm.
Don’t be put off by all the guns and shooting paraphernalia – the friendly staff is genuinely interested in making your shopping experience a good one, and will happily engage or disengage with customers as they read fit.
As mentioned, there is an on-site barbershop like your Dad or Grandad used to frequent, and well-worth an afternoon’s stop to go back to a time when guys indulged in taking care of themselves. (Some of us never stopped.)
Hollyhocks are a favorite garden plant of mine, but I haven’t grown them for years because of their susceptibility to rust and beetles. After seeing this relatively healthy stand of them, however, I may give them a go next year. While they are technically biennials (leafing out the first year and flowering the second before giving up, they reseed with such reliability that most people consider them perennials for all intents and purposes.
There are double pom-pom varieties that can be quite stunning, but they’re a bit too over-blown for me. You don’t need much more impact than their sturdy height and color. In gardening, less is so often more. When spires like this reach to the sky, there’s no need to gild the lily. Or the hollyhock.