Monday, February 23, 2009

sunday drive: hot dog

A photo essay which attempts to answer the question, would your blog host really drive twenty-eight miles round trip just to procure a meal of authentic Detroit Coney Island Hot Dogs?

Would he brave a return to the Valley, in his beloved 12 mpg tank, just to consume steamed natural casing dogs served in a steamed bun with loose meat sauce, freshly diced onions and mustard?

You decide for yourself.

Friday, February 20, 2009

dance with me

Don't you love how low-tech a high-tech video looks 20 years later?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

blogiversary deux

Wow, it's hard to believe that another year has gone by, and that today the little World O' Jeff begins its third blog year. Even more amazing, here I am still writing. I guess I didn't think I had that much to say.

This year took a very unexpected turn in the fall when my friend Geoff came out against Proposition 8 from his Fresno pulpit and took us all in an activism direction that was very exhilarating.

Many other changes as well. Some dear friends passed on, some wonderful new acquaintances were found, the economy sank like the Titanic, I worked at three different showrooms for the same company.

But most importantly, we're still here. We're still writing and commenting and Sunday driving and working for change and justice and getting through these trying times the best we can.

As a reminder of where we came from, here's the repost of the first ever World O' Jeff story, "sweet sticky dog".

Thanks for being here.

sweet sticky dog

Valentine's day was this week and the impending trauma of it forced me to come up with a plan. I decided to tackle it head on. Calling Will (who is alternately Sacco to my Vanzetti or Cybill to my Mary Ann), we assembled a group of friends to meet in West Hollywood in pursuit of a Stunning Martini. The only requirement was to wear black, head to toe. I used a vintage tuxedo jacket and bow tie to create a dashing flair, Will did a tone on tone number with a black silk tie, bad boy Tony chose a biker jacket and black denim to set a completely different mood within the same color statement. It's all about our personal flair.

Our mourning party progressed to the Abbey where we found ourselves at a table in the wind tunnel (many of you will know where I mean- its like a covered outdoor bowling alley with wall sconces) next to a totally fun lesbian couple- they were chatting with us about a fashion show they were planning to help launch a line for a designer they were unfamiliar with. David-who-knows-everything was already familiar with the event and was lobbying to score a spot on the VIP list (I was on the VIP list once at a Cemetery, but that is a story for another day). Anyway, somewhere in the second round she shared that the designer was named Honey Labrador.

Honey Labrador? I burst out- I knew her in the 90's in Chicago. My friend Crazy Ass Ron (the one who thought he was Joan Crawford) used to hire her for Spiegel photo shoots. We would drink heavily and think of alternate names for her with the same cadence- Lobster Thermador, Sunny Ecuador, even Crosley Shelvador. I guess the drinks made it seem clever. Anyway, the fun couple were amused and actually relieved that someone had heard of Honey. So relieved that they bought us a round. Very cool girls.

Of course, I had to call Crazy Ass Ron in Chicago and tell him the news. I left a message on his cell phone from the Honey Labrador Fan Club. He called back a few minutes later snickering. "Honey Labrador- that was 1993! How the hell did you remember that?" "You know me", I replied. "How could I ever forget a girl named sweet sticky dog?"

Monday, February 16, 2009

back to the pulpit

Father Geoff returned to the pulpit on Sunday, presenting his first sermon since he spoke out against injustice on October 4. Of course I'm speaking of Father Geoffrey Farrow, the Roman Catholic Priest whose vocal opposition to Proposition 8 brought him the attention of the LGBT world and a firestorm of condemnation from the Church to which he had dedicated twenty-three years of his life.

Father Geoff, dressed in a black suit instead of his usual collar, spoke at Hollywood United Methodist Church. Located in the heart of old Hollywood, Hollywood United is a socially progressive venue whose motto is "All Are Welcome". This was clearly reflected in the diverse and enthusiastic audience. He was welcomed with a standing ovation both before and after his sermon, which he entitled "Transformational Prayer".

His sermon was loosely themed on the interpretation of the Lord's Prayer but was really much more far reaching than that, specifically honing in on the spiritual starvation so many LGBT people feel when they are rejected by the mainstream religions of their birth. He cited as specific example a letter from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles written to reassure "homosexual" members of the Catholic faith that they should not feel like second class citizens by the august body which spent millions to stamp them with that very label. It was a warm, loving, funny, and very touching sermon that well deserved the standing ovation which it received by the full house at Hollywood United Methodist.

Father Geoff has proven that he still has a lot to say, especially to the LGBT Community. If you haven't had the opportunity to hear him speak, we will have a video of the sermon later this week. The text of the sermon appears below. Father Geoff is off to Sacramento today lobbying the California State Assembly to repeal Proposition 8 in conjunction with Equality California. He reported this morning that the Yes on 8 side has been intensely lobbying to preserve the bigotry they so cherish, and recommends that everyone contact their legislators on behalf of decency and reason. The link is below. This upcoming Saturday he will be at All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena presenting a sermon called "Staying the Course: How to Stay Focused on Faith and Hope when the Going Gets Tough".

And by now, he's an expert on that.

On the web:

Equality California:
Father Geoffrey Farrow:
Hollywood United Methodist:
All Saints Pasadena:

transformational prayer

Text of the sermon presented by Father Geoffrey Farrow at Hollywood United Methodist Church, Sunday, February 15, 2009


In the Gospel of Luke 11:1 "one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray. Here a disciple asks Jesus for practical instruction in how to pray. I've often heard people in the gay community make the statement: "I'm spiritual but, not religious."

There is a great truth in this statement. It is born of personal pain and loss. Many have been rejected outright by their religious communities of origin, some have been relegated to a sort of second class citizenship where they are tolerated, at best. Worst still, some parents have echoed what religious leaders have told them. Believing that they were doing what was best for their children, they have unwittingly become accomplices with religious leaders in driving their children away from God and the spiritual life. Even more tragically, some have believed that they are worthless and have taken their own life.

Yet, like the disciple who asked the Lord to teach him to pray, many in the LGBT community recognize a transcendent spiritual good for which they long. The Lord responds with tender and generous love and teaches this disciple who is hungry for spiritual life seven petitions which we know as the "Our Father" or "The Lord's Prayer."

"Our Father."

St. Brigit of Sweden said that you could spend the rest of your life meditating on the first two words of the Lord's Prayer. A scripture professor was in the museum which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Like most large public spaces, there were crowds moving around and suddenly, a small girl started crying loudly. She was saying "Abba, Abba" the word for father which Jesus used in this prayer. The professor was taken aback, it was the first time he had heard the word used outside of academia and by a child no less. A large hand stretched out from the crowd, the little girl recognized it as her daddy's hand. She put her little hand in that large hand and her countenance changed from fear and tears to reassurance and a gentle smile. She was safe, she was with her "daddy." My professor told our class, for the first time I understood what the Lord meant when he taught us to address God as "father."

"Hallowed be your name"

Relationships are not a "right" but, a privilege. Who here today can pick up a telephone and call the President of the United States and have him answer the phone. Yet, the Lord granted us the privilege to be able to call the supreme being at any time. To be able to address God intimately.

This second petition is intended to remind us to cherish this privilege. In Hebrew, there are no vowels, just consonants. Vowel sounds are identified by points which are placed under the consonants so that the reader may pronounce the words. When the Name of God was written, the vowel points were excluded so that the name would not be abused. The Holy Name was invoked in the Holy of Holies of the Temple in Jerusalem. The High Priest would whisper the name, invoking mercy on Israel for her transgressions. While he was in the Temple, the representatives of the various tribes stood outside making as much noise as possible so that the Name of God would not be heard and misused. We have gone from that deep respect and reverence to blurting out the name of God when our cheeseburger order gets messed up.

"Thy Kingdom Come"

When we think of "kingdoms" or "countries" most of us think of a map. In antiquity however, a kingdom was thought of as "great" not by the extent of its lands but, by the number of its subjects. We could say that the Mayor of New York is probably more influential than the Governor of Alaska. Even though geographically, New York is much smaller, it have a much larger population than the State of Alaska. This petition, reminds me that the Kingdom of God will never be found "out there" until it is first manifest in my mind, heart and soul.

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"

The instant that the angels in heaven know the will of God, they execute it. Do I do that? In my major decisions in life, is what is most pleasing to God a first consideration? Is it a consideration at all? If God is love, as St. John asserts in his letter. Then, Love should be my guide in relationships, finances, career, social issues, politics, etc. This petition was placed on the lips of disciples by Jesus to have them measure their words and deeds by this standard. St. Augustine said: "Love and do as you will". If authentic love is your touchstone in decision making, you are not far from the kingdom.

"Give us this day our daily bread"

When sister taught us the Our Father in grammar school, she asked the class if this meant: "Wonder Bread, that builds bodies in 8 ways" I stretched up my hand and blurted out "YES". It was, of course, the wrong answer. The Lord taught that man does not live on bread alone. Here we are asking God for spiritual sustenance. Grant that I may think, speak and act as spiritually enlightened person. Grant me the sensitivity to look beyond my own needs and wants. Grant me the courage to speak and act for what is right and not merely do what is expedient. Give me grace, a share in true and abiding love.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Most of us learned this prayer as small children. Most of us machine gunned it out of our mouths as we did the alphabet. How many times have we actually paused and considered what it is we are petitioning the Creator when we speak these words? The Lord, deliberately placed this petition on the lips of every man, woman and child who would claim to be his disciple.

Please, take one moment. Close your eyes and imagine the person you most dislike in this life. The person who had most wronged or hurt you. Or, even worse, has hurt someone you dearly love. Now, speak this petition slowly. How you treat that person, how you speak of that person, that is how you want God to treat you. It can be a sweet heart deal or, merciless. Its up to you. And that is precisely why the Lord placed this petition on our lips. To require us to reflect. To help us to grow. To help us become channels of love and mercy in a world which is all too often obsessed with hatred and revenge.

Lord Byron wrote that "hatred is the abiding pleasure." Its like a cat that sits on our lap and we pet. You can really get into fantasizing about that evil so and so getting what they deserve and imagine all the scenarios. But, if someone seriously suggested that you invite that individual to move into your guest room and live in your house, you'd think them insane for suggesting the idea. When you chose to harbor a grudge, you're not inviting someone you dislike into your home, you're inviting them to take up residence in your mind and heart. You're inviting them to spend time with you to the exclusion of others. Hatred becomes a very insidious and corrosive cancer which consumes those who hold it in their heart. Let it go. Pray for that person, that he/she come to the same joy and peace you desire for yourself. Spend your thoughts and times on good things and people who extend you their love.

"And lead us not into temptation but, deliver us from evil."

Two years ago I was driving to the hospital and I saw a car with a bumper sticker which read: "And lead us not into temptation, I can find it for myself." That should make a Marriage and Family Therapist's Accountant very happy. Sin and temptation have been used for decades by advertisers to sell us everything from clothing and toiletries to automobiles. All of us have probably made an impulse purchase which we later came to regret. Sadly, this is sometimes not limited to commodities but, in unreflective moments of weakness, relationships have been seriously damaged, or destroyed.

Beyond this, we all have a breaking point. A point were "we lose it." Where we say and do hurtful or hateful things. Here we the Lord teaches us to know our limits. This petition teaches us to consider our limitations and ask for help to avoid those circumstances which could be too much for us. It also asks for Divine assistance at the end of life's journey.

Considering our end is not morbid, it helps put things in perspective. Where are my practical choices leading me? How do I treat others in my life? My co-workers, people I supervise, my family members, people I date, my partner/spouse? Would I want to be with me in any of those relationships?

The petitions in the prayer the Lord taught us are meant to make us reflect. They are formulated to help us grow spiritually. They are made to help establish a little piece of heaven in our mind, our heart and in our world.

warm words

Here is the text of the Pastoral Letter from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, published on its website and reproduced in its entirety:



As Bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we are addressing this message first of all to the homosexual members of our Church. Given the controversy generated by the passage of Proposition of 8, we want to reassure each of you that you are cherished members of the Catholic Church, and that we value you as equal and active members of the Body of Christ. At the same time, we would like to address this message to all the members of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and to all men and women in the wider community.

The passage of Proposition 8 in the State of California does not diminish in any way the importance of you, our homosexual brothers and sisters in the Church. Nor does it lessen your personal dignity and value as full members of the Body of Christ.


Makes you feel all warm, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

favorite blossom

Extremely happy turn of events today as I found that my favorite Blossom Dearie song of all time has been posted on youtube. It's audio only, but it captures the remarkable talent of the tiny voice that roared. It was introduced by Dodie Goodman in New Faces of 1954, but Blossom made it her own. It's a comedy song, but instead of singing it in a comical manner, she presents it with utmost love and tenderness. It matches her voice perfectly and to me personifies the immense talent that was Blossom.

So please take a listen to "Someone's Been Sending Me Flowers"

Rest in pace, Blossom. You were one of a kind.

support the troops

Live from Iraq, here's a home video showing first hand the hardships of deployment. The cramped quarters, the need for double bunking, and the attempts at relaxation, complete with the strains of Journey on the Victrola.

If this is war, sign me up.

I love the disclosure, "This video is not gay at all". Riiiight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

what love is

A Valentine's Day dedication to the 18,000 loving, happily wed couples that Ken Starr, America's Bedroom Monitor, wants to forcibly divorce. Never mind that Yes on 8 forces initially said they would not go after these marriages, for as their entire campaign was about lies and smear tactics we should not be surprised.

Instead, listen to Regina Spektor and watch the images of love, devotion, family and friendship. This is what love is. Keep these 36,000 spouses and their children and friends in your thoughts and prayers today, and visit the Courage Campaign to send your words to the California Supreme Court.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

marrying karl rove

in honor of right to marry day, a repost from October 29.


Even though I had been in several relationships, I never really thought about marriage as a concept until he appeared. It was the spring of 2004. I was about to turn a major digit on my odometer and had always assumed I would die a single man in the eyes of the law.

And then Karl came onto the scene- with a round bald head, pasty white complexion, a belly reminiscent of an off season Santa Claus and a heart full to the brim of black bile and unrestrained opportunism. A man who truly earned his nickname of "Turd Blossom". Yes, I fell in love with same sex marriage because of Karl Rove.

Karl all but invented same sex marriage. It didn't come from us. It was he who introduced the need to ban it as an agenda item in the 2004 State of the Union Address. He created a panic in order to motivate the "Christian Evangelical" base and energize the election campaign in favor of an inept and corrupt President.

Because the inept and corrupt president had absolutely no compelling argument of his own why he should be elected (not technically re-elected, darlings, because the first election was stolen), they had to think of something. Turd Blossom engineered the gay marriage threat and energized the wingnut base to call for a pre-emptive ban on the severe threat to civilization posed by... adults professing their love for one another. Egads, the horror of it all!

Then Gavin Newsom threw some Chanel No. 5 onto the fire by actually issuing 4,000 same sex marriage licenses in San Francisco. Thank goodness the State shut him down before the social fabric was irreparably torn. But all this publicity made me think. At that time, I was seeing someone that I was very attached to. And for the first time, I thought about the statement that marriage makes to ones beloved and realized that I wanted to make that promise. I wanted to be able to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and in health.

And I further noticed that a domestic partnership is as woefully inadequate as a colored drinking fountain in a Birmingham Bus Depot. And that's when I decided that I won't settle for a distant second best, I want my civil rights.

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

I won't settle for anything less than the real thing.

And I owe it all to Karl Rove.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

star maps

I took this picture of Michael Phelps' LA digs yesterday...

What? It isn't April Fools yet?

peer pressure

All the cool kids are doing it, so I guess I have to join in.

You must admit I make a very understated superhero, not a lot of tacky jet packs and stuff. Simple, elegant colors and gloves, because sometimes the world need be saved after six o' clock.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

blossom adieu

Very sad news from over the weekend that jazz and cabaret icon Blossom Dearie passed away in her sleep on Saturday. The legendary chanteuse and Diva of the first rank was a fixture in London and New York, with a tiny voice that was described as "unable to reach the second story of a doll house", and as much soul as Miles Davis.

Here is Blossom's "I'm Old Fashioned", from 1964's May I Come In, a departure album featuring a full orchestra instead of her usual piano accompaniment

And this one, presented as a link, is a live performance from 1985 with three classics that are the personification of Blossom Dearie- "I'm Shadowing You", "Winchester In Apple Blossom Time" (my personal favorite), and her sendup of Avant Garde, "I'm Hip".

Watch Blossom Dearie in 1985

And check out Bill Reed's Blossom Dearie Day tribute from last spring.

Adieu to the flower with the tiny voice.

Monday, February 9, 2009

on the air

Imagine the worst possible scenario for a live television commercial. Let's say that you are an automobile dealer, and you fire your sales manager minutes before he was supposed to do the live commercial for you. He says he'll do it anyway. What could happen? Circa 1970, audio NSFW. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

sunday drive: on saticoy avenue

I haven't done a Sunday Drive in so long I'm sure you all thought I forgot how to read a calendar. Well, I'm still not totally back in tune because technically I took these on a Saturday, but the intent is there.

Last Saturday I had to run an errand in Reseda, an early postwar development in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, the area made famous by the film "Boogie Nights". By some stroke of planning, I happened to have the camera along. Unfortunately I didn't encounter Dirk Diggler, but I did manage to capture some of the more interesting visual elements of the town that made him famous. All of these photos but one are from a two mile stretch of Saticoy Avenue. Note the interesting juxtaposition of dining options and the seemingly generous sprinkling of liquor stores, all circa 1960's.

Ladies and Gentlemen for your amusement, presenting Saticoy Avenue.