In Just No Time At All . . .

elkins, anne

Anne Elkins, my Berthe from “Pippin” – one of the good ones, one of the dear ones

One of the dear ones has died.

Last night I was a roiling, boiling, bursting mess of fury and sorrow over the hate against LGBQT people being legislated and signed into law in North Carolina. I disconnected from social media, dove into a fantasy-romance sort of novel, and turned off my heart and head as much as I could. Sometimes, one must. Or, sometimes, I must.

So, this morning I decided to focus on joy. I needed healing. I headed out-of-doors and took notice of all the blooming spring happening in my own backyard. I posted on Twitter using the hashtag “HugaHomo” which I’d said last night on Twitter when departing it, suggesting people hug the homo nearest them because I, alone in my bat-cave, reading the North Carolina hate news, was in need of embrace.

spring 2016 1 spring 2016 2 spring 2016 3 spring 2016 5 spring 2016 6 spring 2016 7

I take comfort in the blooms of spring. The return of color. The promise. My dear Sissie, she loved spring too and was fond of saying in a Katharine Hepburn-esque way, “The forsythia are in bloom.” Sissie, about who you’ve much heard if you read/follow/know me. When I was a boy-child of twelve, she, the first in a treasured line of  older-women who would enrich my life with friendship, wisdom, humor, and unconditional love, took me to New York City and my first Broadway musical, Irene, because she was afraid what the family would say if she took me to the other big show playing at the time, Pippin.

Fast forward. Age eighteen. I became involved with the inception of the new theatre in my small town, The Octorian Theatre Company, a group of young upstarts intent on shaking up the long-standing community theatre and its reliance on old-warhorses of shows by doing only new, risky, sexy shows. Like Pippin. In which I did a turn as The Leading Player. Octorian’s founder, director, producer, Steve, was wise enough to recruit for the role of Berthe one of the doyennes and reigning prima donnas of that long-running community theatre. Mrs. Anne Elkins.

I’d first met Mrs. Elkins, as I called her then, when I, twelve years old and just back from the Irene – New York trip, auditioned and was cast by that hoary community group to play Floyd Allen, boy-child, in Dark of the Moon. A few years later, a hardly formed but very tall fourteen year old, I was again (mis)cast as the young husband in one or another Neil Simon comedy playing opposite a very (and justifiably) unhappy twenty-seven year old wife. Mrs. Elkins played the mother (in-law?).

As Pippin took shape, I was a very different person than I had been during the previous two shows with Mrs. Elkins during which I’d been awestruck by her talent — she was a formidable actress and singer, and regaled me with her tales of working as a big band vocalist. At eighteen, I was a horrifying mess of a human being, a terrified, nasty, vicious, desperately lonely boy in  a man’s body, trying to find a place in a world that often did not want me. And there was Mrs. Elkins, surrounded by dope-smoking, foul-mouthed, determined to be sexy and shocking young people by whom she was amused and most certainly not abashed, and she insisted that I call her Anne.

I did. But it felt wrong. Always. It was another honor and privilege I wanted to deserve but was naggingly, quietly certain I did not. I was tortured by such doubts then (and, well, now) and those doubts, along with the fear, the certainty I was not enough made me — I am sorry to say — very cruel, very often. I see now that I was arming myself, my cruelties and drug use and anger like the prickly quills on a porcupine meant to protect me from the predators I saw everywhere in the world.

Mrs. Elkins – Anne was not fooled. One day after having watched me throw myself into performing Simple Joys with a vigor of “I WANT I WANT LOVE ME LOVE ME” so desperately intense it horrifically distorted what little technique and charm I might have had, Anne took a quiet moment with me and said, “You know, I know you don’t want anyone to see that pretty heart you have beating in there somewhere under all that bluster, and I’m no expert at anyone’s life or business, but I think if you just calm down and quiet down a bit and let it shine, you’ll accomplish what you’re trying to with all the yelling and running you’re doing. And you might even have a little energy left over to be happy.”

Good advice. About which — again, I am sorry to say — in that moment I was furious, although — I am happy to say — my breeding and fondness for older women did not allow me to express. I said thank you. I thought about it. And I did Simple Joys the next time with very little movement, a snap here and there, a turn or two, and, wouldn’t you know it, my best number in the show.

This week, my dears, I’ve been doing a lot of screaming and yelling. Of late, this life, I have been attacking my reality with such vigor, living in such desperately intense fear, and feeling so horribly lonely and solitary, unseen and unheard, reaching out in all the wrong ways, to suspect people, longing to be hugged, held, heard and, at the same time, panicked I am wearing out and exhausting the few who do see me. I want. I want. Love me. Love me. All that.

Last night: North Carolina. Last night: googling someone I thought I knew a bit and finding out they were a felon. This morning: the spring. This morning: message from someone to whom I’d sort of reached out, who’d sort of reached out to me, saying, “You’re really not enough.” This morning: a message from a loved one, “Wanted you to hear it from me, Anne Elkins died on Monday.” This morning: I am going, now, to pick up my dear 88-year-old mom, who I still have, and have hair day, lunch day, look for Vienna Sausages and no-sugar-added peaches at the grocery store day.

This morning, maybe, listen to Mrs. Elkins — sorry, Anne, that’s who you are to me — and calm down and quiet down and let my pretty little heart show? Maybe a snap here or a turn there, but, holy mother of all things, maybe, please, have a little energy left to enjoy the blooms and be happy?

Yes, and bring me my fucking trapeze!

Thank you, Mrs. Elkins, and, I wish I could hear you, one more time, singing your song; No Time At All.

No Time At All lyrics

 [BERTHE]
When you are as old as I, my dear
And I hope that you never are
You will woefully wonder why, my dear
Through your cataracts and catarrh
You could squander away or sequester
A drop of a precious year
For when your best days are yester
The rest’er twice as dear….What good is a field on a fine summer night
When you sit all alone with the weeds?
Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite
You spit out your teeth with the seeds?
Before it’s too late stop trying to wait
For fortune and fame you’re secure of
For there’s one thing to be sure of, mate:
There’s nothing to be sure of!Oh, it’s time to start livin’
Time to take a little from this world we’re given
Time to take time, cause spring will turn to fall
In just no time at all….

I’ve never wondered if I was afraid
When there was a challenge to take
I never thought about how much I weighed
When there was still one piece of cake
Maybe it’s meant the hours I’ve spent
Feeling broken and bent and unwell
But there’s still no cure more heaven-sent
As the chance to raise some hell

Everybody….

[ALL]
Oh, it’s time to start livin’
Time to take a little from this world we’re given
Time to take time, cause spring will turn to fall
In just no time at all….

Now when the drearies do attack
And a siege of the sads begins
I just throw these noble shoulders back
And lift these noble chins
Give me a man who is handsome and strong
Someone who’s stalwart and steady
Give me a night that’s romantic and long
And give me a month to get ready
Now I could waylay some aging roue
And persuade him to play in some cranny
But it’s hard to believe I’m being led astray
By a man who calls me granny

[ALL]
Oh, it’s time to start livin’
Time to take a little from this world we’re given
Time to take time, cause spring will turn to fall
In just no time at all….

Oh, it’s time to start livin’
Time to take a little from this world we’re given
Time to take time, cause spring will turn to fall
In just no time at all….

Sages tweet that age is sweet
Good deeds and good work earns you laurels
But what could make you feel more obsolete
Than being noted for your morals?

Here is a secret I never have told
Maybe you’ll understand why
I believe if I refuse to grow old
I can stay young till I die
Now, I’ve known the fears of sixty-six years
I’ve had troubles and tears by the score
But the only thing I’d trade them for
Is sixty-seven more….

Oh, it’s time to keep livin’
Time to keep takin’ from this world we’re given
You are my time, so I’ll throw off my shawl
And watching your flings be flung all over
Makes me feel young all over

[BETHE AND BOYS]
In just no time at all…

 

 

Tonight at Eight . . .Random Charlie

It’s eight o’clock on a Friday night … I’ve changed my sheets! WEEKEND!

Okay, well, I’m not just changing sheets; I’m also listening to the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I am listening to it because there is no possible way I will get to see it when I am in New York City for my birthday in LESS THAN A MONTH! Hamilton is sold out until — well, a long, long time.

WHO LIVES, WHO DIES, WHO TELLS YOUR STORY?

It’s okay I won’t see Hamilton. I’ll be there in New York from the 13th to 19th. On the 14th I am seeing Frank Langella in The Father. On my actual birthday, the 15th, I am seeing American Psycho and getting a backstage tour. On the 16th I am seeing Miss Barbara Cook and may even get to meet her — so, yes, the 16th will very likely be the day of my death. Thus, I think when I get off the train on the 13th, after checking in at the hotel, I will head to TKTS and try for seat to She Loves Me because I love the music and I think Laura Benanti is grand and I have never seen Jane Krakowski live, so, yes —

I had forgotten how much I loved the entire score from SHE LOVES ME, especially Tonight at Eight, and so, yes, I should try to see it on the 13th because, though I’ve nothing booked for 17th-19th, like I said, I’ll probably die on the 16th meeting Miss Cook.

My sister, a smartass (imagine that, in my family?) suggested I record myself and what I want to say to Miss Cook since in all likelihood I will be weeping with such vigor should I manage to make it into her presence that I will be unable to speak, thus, I could just hold my phone up to her and press play. Hmph.

I AM SEEING BARBARA COOK THE DAY AFTER MY BIRTHDAY! So ridiculously happy about this. I have been listening to all of her recordings again, over and over, too.

Listen to her voicings of the words “close” at 1:13-1:15 and “wrong” at 1:21-1:22, and “want” at 3:01-3:02, every single time she sings “losing” (god, so so so much pain into two syllables, again and again, how can you not weep?), because each of those words has so much story in them — she gives you hours of subtext; you can SEE the life the singer of the song has lived IN THOSE WORDS. And, holy mother,  the “sleepless nights” at 4:16-4:18 actually has a sob in it without distorting the notes, the visible and audible defeat in “mind” from 4:36-4:42 when the note ends but she CONTINUES the emotion in her AMAZING silence until she comes back in at 4:50 with “I want you so” in such a way it seems she is fighting speaking, the way one fights the confession to someone you know no longer wants you but you simply cannot help yourself, so obsessed are you, so in need of them, and she builds and builds the breakdown (totally in control vocally, though) until the “kind” from 5:42-5:46 which morphs into the closed eyes/turning away from the horror of the final self-admission, the facing, the oh god please kill me I’m losing my mind of realizing, “You don’t love me” and WORSE, “I cannot stop loving you – I am losing my mind.” That end, that final note, that reaching vocally and physically for that love she will never have. NEVER has this song EVER been better sung and it never will be. She is without peer. She makes every single song a journey like this, an emotional tale of truth, beautifully delivered with such intelligence and honesty, nothing false. She is a genius. Brilliant.

Confession: When I sang, it was Miss Cook I strove to please. I wanted never to breathe in idiotic places or sing songs to which I could not bring my soul, always trying to deliver the goods in a way that would meet with her approval.

SUCH A BIG DEAL. Miss Cook and listening to music.

Why is it a big deal that I am listening to music? After a long life of listening to music daily, singing along, knowing the lyrics to nearly every musical written, keeping up with new ones, when I had to leave my last world in which music and theatre played such a huge role, one of the many things that slipped away from me was music. So, playing music in my room as I change sheets, write this, it has a huge-ness. Weird. Feels so weird. Listening again. Will I ever sing again?

I doubt it. But, some days, I miss it. (Confession: I sing alone in the car all the time.)

Weird — this need tonight to confess — confession.

Fitting. This has been a week of weirdness, darlings. I let my feelings be hurt a few times — a couple of times on Twitter. A couple of times by my family. A couple of times by men who think I am English or 40-ish or both.

Then, today, I got my car insurance renewal thank you letter. First of all, I don’t remember being asked if I wanted to renew. Secondly, bright side, since I’ve been with them for more than fifteen years with no tickets or claims I now qualify for no future surcharges no matter how many accidents I have. What? Okay. So, discount for good driving. Hoorah. THEN, I am informed I qualify for the “Over 55 Discount” — WHAAAAT?!?! This was my first “senior” discount and I burst into tears.

Smartass sister again: “You are so eager to die, you’re going to have to get older to do it.” Well, not if the notice of a senior discount or meeting Miss Cook gives me a coronary event. So, HA!

And, might I add (of course I might, I write too much, I’ve been told. And talk too much. So many too much-es about which I’ve been told in my life. I cry too much. I tell too much. I act too much like a girl. I have sex too much. I say no too much. I say yes too much. I want too much. I don’t take care of myself enough (somehow there’s a too much in there) and — well, anyway, TOO MUCH.) that even WITH all the good driver and old man discounts, my insurance still went up. Albeit, only a dollar – BUT STILL!

Oh darlings, I’m tired. It’s been a long week. Gluten-free, sugar-free, corn-free, diabetic friendly, chemical-free(mostly), healthy, clean cooking is so complicated. Everything requires multiple kinds of flour, experimenting with ingredients and temperature and such. I’ve been cooking a couple of hours a day. Which I love to do for my dear ones. I do. Still, my Mom is wonderful, but being with her, watching out for her balance, trying to make sure she is happy, earning enough through random copy editing and ghost blogging and dog/house sitting to pay for her lunches and groceries and such so she doesn’t have to panic about running out of her “monthly funds” — sometimes it is exhausting.

And someone told me this week my blog here would benefit from vigorous cutting. Yes, I know this. But friends, this is a diary, not a short-story. Let’s face it, I’m not a writer, never will be. This is me venting and letting loose and getting out (sort of) the things I need to say — even if it’s just sent into the ether.

So, I have changed my sheets, I have said no to the twenty-year old, I have been listening to Hamilton, I have stomach issues again, I am tired, I say yes too much, I did not say no enough (those are two VERY DIFFERENT things), and Carol is now available on-demand, so maybe I will watch that or read one of my twelve library books (I’ve done it again) or say yes to one of the people who think I’m English and 40-ish — and some said I couldn’t act!  HA! I will have you know, when I played Sweeney, my accent was SO ENGLISH they asked me to pull back by half because no one outside of London would understand me. I don’t know why I’m throwing that in there. I will add that the Baltimore papers reviewed me and said I was terrifying and brilliant and had “crystalline” diction. So, there too.

Uhm … maybe I am losing MY mind.

Love you dears.

Goodnight.

Friday Night … no comment

prince harry bulgeWell, very little comment. I like younger men. I like an English accent. I should very much like to make a match that would make me worthy of a visit to Her Grace, The Duchess Goldblatt. So, perfect sense. And, honestly, I’m due a big break. This one to the left (well, his right) seems to be quite big enough.

prince-harry-nude-naked-article-tmz-top-4I’ve had a thing for him since the pool table weekend.

I like a fellow who is not afraid to play along with the commoners. And, honestly, you’d look long and hard (or, with my luck, soft) before finding anyone any more common than am I.

So, Harry … I have nothing to do on this Friday night – in case, you know, you need someone to tuck prince-harry-nude-naked-article-tmz-bottom-8you. In. Or, someone into whom to tuck. You. Tuck me, please? I mean, it looks as if you’ve at least a general notion of how to do some tucking. You did go to English boarding school, right? Those delicious sorts of goings on are still going on, right?

I said no comment, didn’t I? Well, under 250 words IS no comment for me, darlings. And so I shall leave you with one of my favorite fakes of all time.

Ta, darlings.

PRINCE HARRY & WILL FAKE BRITISH COSMO

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, happy weekending.

Dowager Weekend

 

 

 

A Wastrel’s Wednesday: Saunas, Survivors, Empires, and Horror Stories

Gentle Readers; I am trying to blog daily. After all, I manage to gym almost every day, I maintain a healthy diet, I have sort-of programmed myself out of reflexive snark and judgment, surely I can return to daily writing? Alas, since gymming, dieting, reading, and non-reflexive, carefully considered snarking do not generate income enough that I might acquire the swarthy, toned, sneering twenty-something young man whose job it would be to keep me in line – or, writing lines – I shall have to discipline myself. So, here I am, going. And hoping, with daily entries (let’s be honest, I’ll likely stop tomorrow) I might keep things under 1000 words. (HA!)

Parker, Dorothy

Mrs. Parker

When it comes to culture, well, with apologies to Mrs. Parker; You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think. I spend a lot of my time in ways a lot of you might consider wasting it. (In fact, I considered the syntax of the preceding sentence for ten minutes; the composition, the rhythm of the repeated “a lot of” and the echo of “way” in “wasting”.) My ambition, it turns out, has always been to achieve wastrel status, a goal of those with (credit to Mrs. Parker again) “congenital lowness of brow.”

Goal: met.

And with further apologies to Mrs. Parker, I say;

Observation

If I didn’t care for fun and such / I’d probably amount to much./ But I shall stay the way I am,/ Because I do not give a damn. (First printed in New York World, 16 August 1925)

When it comes to damns, I give quite a few, but not many for things about which those who dismiss me as wastrel think I ought. I weary of closets, the toeing of lines, subterfuge of any variety, and cultural conformity. So, while I have long cultivated the Continue reading

Horror Stories … existential variety …

gif jessica langeI’m not quite as caught in the undertow as I was  in yesterday’s post “Homes, Housepets, Husbands, and Heartaches Not My Own; A How Not To Manual” [click it] but, warning, still not as perky as I might be. Trying. Really, I am.

First world existential issues: my internet connection here where I am house/pet sitting is iffy and odd and disconnects me frequently. Being frequently disconnected feels oddly, terrifyingly symbolic. I’ve been disconnecting myself – as it were – anyway, and other than yesterday’s blog, pretty much hiding out in my own weirdness. Too, one of the doggies here has wakened today – and did I mention they make me get up at 4:30-5:00 a.m. here? – with stomach issues. Gwennie didn’t eat her breakfast, has chewed a lot of grass, shat on the rug, and has stomach-growling going on the volume of which challenges mine from a few weeks ago. I sympathize, Gwennie. She is on my lap, passing gas and gastro-gurgling as I type.

Life is hard right now. There is a lot of Continue reading

Zeitbites: The Lost Weekend (this is what happens)

Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend

Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend

It’s the Monday morning after my most recent Lost Weekend. Not Ray Milland-y, alcoholic haze lost, but, rather, an existential sort of wandering (and, thus, wondering) around: gym, coffee shops, bookstores, retail outlets, parks, here and there in order to afford some privacy and space to the people with whom I live, who put up with me. And, since most of my friends are fictional, virtual, long-distance, or busy, most of my pursuits are solitary. In the process, I become many different people: these are their stories.

Djokovic 1

Novak Djokovic – not bad for a man his age.

 

WIMBELDON & NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S ASS Serena won Wimbeldon again. I love Serena. I love watching her play. I love that she won. But holy crap, have we not evolved beyond the coded (and blatant) misogyny, sexism, and ageism that suffused the coverage of her win? The New York Times in particular should be ashamed. But, I’m a bright side kind of guy – thus, in an effort to spread the gender-bias-objectification-judge-y shit around, here’s some Novak Dojokovic objectification. He won Wimbeldon too. I was surprised the ass on a man Novak Djokovic’s age was so firm and juicy. Good thing too, because his shorts were tight. No doubt he wanted to show off his rumored-to-be very large package. He’s still hot for someone his age, and, wow, he can still play. Sadly, he hasn’t the Nordic-blonde-Aryan beauty of Lleyton Hewitt, or who knows how much money he’d be making from endorsement deals. (What? He’s worth in excess of 90 million already? That’s my boy! And Djoko – is that dick pic floating around the web really yours? If so, nice one.)

UNEMPLOYED & BROKE & NORMA DESMOND I AM NOT . . .

It’s July and I’m home … this is not good. Not good because the prevailing cultural norm suggests one ought to vacation during the summer months. Well, not only am I not vacating, none of my usual clients are vacating either. So, I am stuck in the batcave during the sunny (although, not so much with the sun this year) summer months generating zero income. But . . . (Another aside: I would be happy to discuss house sitting or pet sitting for you – all you people out there, my people, out there, in the dark.) It’s a life theme, that; Generating Zero Income. So, going with it, here I am, blogging for free. Why the hell not? I hereby promise to Zeitbite you more, darlings, meaning; I shall spread my particular brand – Sure, I have a brand, why the fuck not? – of Love and Light more often. Which means regular doses of dash & aside & idiosyncratically punctuated blathering; sometimes happy & funny & snarky, other times insightful & deep & contemplative, and other times dark & sad & suicidal. (See how I use ampersands/& when grouping adjectives but write out “and” when moving to a new-ish topic? That’s me – idiosyncratic. AND WITHOUT AN EDITOR BECAUSE I WOULD SURELY DRIVE ONE – or, a few – TO DRINK.)

JUSTIN BIEBER’S ASS (is this ass thing a theme?)

Bieber's ass - Summer 2015

Bieber’s ass – Summer 2015

Other things happened this weekend. Justin Bieber deleted his ass pic. He has feels. Listen:

“I deleted the photo of my butt on Instagram not because I thought it was bad but someone close to me’s daughter follows me and she was embarrassed that she saw my butt and I totally wasn’t thinking in that aspect. I felt awful that she felt bad. To anyone I may have offended I’m so sorry. It was completely pure hearted as a joke but didn’t take in account there are littles following me!”

Oh Justin, I know what it’s like to have Littles following you. In fact, just last night JustinBiebersLyrics followed me on Twitter. I blocked it, like all the other bots. Anyway, your Bieber-ass is pretty enough – but you’re no Djokovic. (Notice how easy it is to type the words “Justin Bieber” and “ass” close together? Poor Little Biebs – although – Biebs – is that dick pic floating around the web really yours? If so, nice one.

SPEAKING OF ASSES 3 (or, make that 15 now I think). . . . . .  insert here the name of any of the GOP Presidential candidates. I refuse to type them.

SPEAKING OF ASSES literary . . . . . . I am a book blogger – sort of – so I ought probably to write about the big release tomorrow but my feelings about it are all tied up in having spent a lot of time in my life with people in their eighties – especially those in assisted care, and having a lot of manuscripts and writing of my own packed and boxed away, and how I might be persuaded – should I live into my eighties (and please I do NOT want to) and have need of a trusted someone to manage my affairs, how I might be persuaded by that someone – no matter how good their intentions might be – to reveal/publish/share things I NOW, sound of mind and body (well, sort of, shut up) would choose NOT to share. The whole thing makes me feel dirty and I’m not going to read it. (Confession – I didn’t care much for TKAM anyway.)

SPEAKING OF ASSES . . . mine . . .

July 2015

July 2015

Yesterday at the gym a fellow who is in no way someone with any interest in any sort of shenanigans with me said, “You are really looking good.” That was nice. I have worked hard to lose nearly thirty pounds in a healthy way – a pound or two a week for months, exercise daily, good food. It was nice for someone with whom I have no relationship other than sharing a gym to tell me my consistent efforts were noticeable even to strangers. Thank you, Universe, for that Love & Light. (No ass pics nor dick pics of me floating around anywhere – that crazy I am not.) The pic was one I posted on Twitter. You should follow me there. I’m kind of funny (sometimes) and sad (other times) and I’ve been singing little snippets of songs for my darling, Her Grace, the Duchess Goldblatt (you should follow her, too, because she is the Queen of All Things.) In the past 24 hours I’ve talked about the gym, teens eating all my frozen diet treats, Chet Baker and how I love singing “My Funny Valentine”, my late night trolling of the Algonquin Hotel website, the thickness of mattresses on fold-out-couch-beds, Djokovic’s ass, Troubles by J.G.Farrell, new shoes I want, being judge-y about other people’s depressions, and more. I’m a renaissance man, a flaneur of the interwebs. FOLLOW+ME+DAMMIT+ (and re-tweet me and publish me and stuff – you don’t want to be an ASS entry, do you? Wait . . .  ass entry . . .  never mind. Love and Light, dear ones.

…here we are…flashes

Thursday, January 22, 2015 — turned my phone back on last night, first time since Sunday, I hadn’t missed any messages or texts. Got back on Twitter today, hadn’t missed any messages. Seems my disappearing is going to be even easier than I’d thought, LOL. Cue the rolling in of the green mist. Here were some notes I took during my absence — and a few added today.

Sunday, January 18, 2015 — I’ve turned off my phone. I’m rationing my on-line time. I’m not Tweeting or, even, opening Twitter. I need to re-program my brain so that I can, once again, focus hours-long on reading and writing. I’ve allowed myself to be short-circuited. Or, rather, as another step in my long and steady parade of self-destruction, I have short-circuited myself. So, in much the way I stopped with the damaging-self-negating relationships, stopped with the smoking, stopped with the drinking; I am stopping (for a while) with the techno-distractions.

However, I still get these URGES (compulsions) to drop a headline, elevator-pitch about things going on in my life. So, in lieu of Continue reading

Part 3: Existential Cozies, Comforts, and Joys

Well my little hall-deckers, if Christmas it must be, then the Yuletide ought always to be like last night! Maybe there is, after all, something to this keeping an account of my cozies, comforts, and joys. So, Part 3.

MEGAN HILTY

andrea and charlie

Me and my Andrea between shows. Big drinkers; me with a coffee, Andrea with a Coke. Yep. Whoo-freaking-hoo!

Big fan. First saw Ms. Hilty as Galinda in Wicked. Next saw Ms. Hilty as Doralee in 9 to 5: The Musical. Next, became rabid fan of Smash, founding member of Team Ivy. Then, my dear Andrea birthday-surprised me earlier this year with tickets to see Ms. Hilty in concert at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre. And then AGAIN, a few weeks ago, Andrea surprised me with tickets to see Ms. Hilty’s Christmas Concert at the Kennedy Center for last night’s 7:30 show. It was only yesterday afternoon that Andrea told me she had gotten tickets NOT ONLY to the 7:30, but, also, the 9:30. And so, the two of us, front row, aisle, house right — for the first show, somehow, despite it being sold out, we were the only people in the front row, and for the second show, the only OTHER person in the front row was a yawning, unkempt looking fellow in aisle seat, house left. I don’t know HOW Andrea gets these amazing seats, but, uhm, she always does.

About Ms. Hilty. Wow, the last time I saw her, my birthday concert (yes, MY BIRTHDAY concert), she was quite preggers. She delivered the girl-child, Viola, three months ago, and is back, better than ever. She can belt with the best of them but she is also able to quietly croon you to tears. She invests each song with its beginning, middle, end, telling the story with an expressiveness of voice and emotional depth I think is rarely equalled among current singers and Broadway performers. She really is a treasure. Listen to this — which she did last night in an arrangement of mostly guitar (as played by her husband, Brian Gallagher, more below).

And, MOST OF ALL, the relationship between Megan and her husband, Brian Gallagher, who plays guitar and sings with her during these concert appearances, is so freaking beautiful. I want to be one of them. The love they share just radiates from the stage, envelops you in its warmth and fairy-tale goodness. Ms. Hilty sang the song A Place Called Home from the Broadway musical version of A Christmas Carol, and she started weeping just introducing it and speaking of having found “the love of her life” and having a child. Not only was she crying, but as she sang it, so did Mr. Gallagher weep. Both shows. It wasn’t performance, it was life, and love, and so much Light on stage. Great show. If you’ve a chance to share some time with these people, you really ought to. And for me, being there last night (BOTH SHOWS!) with them and Andrea, so much comfort and joy.

COMFORTS, JOYS … quickies

  • And gas is really cheap right now, which is great, as I will soon be returning to Aftermath — where I love to be, which bucolic setting is twenty minutes from the gym. So, cheap gas is good.
  • And, thanks to a niece, found Starbucks Christmas Blend Keurig Cups for 8-something a box. This is a VERY good thing. I know it’s ridiculous, but I don’t think I could function without a Keurig.
  • And I have discovered (thank you TwitterLiterati) the Agatha Raisin mysteries by M.C. Beaton. Delightful fun. Happiness.
ford penis necklace

Tom Ford $800 Penis Necklace

  • And Tom Ford is selling what appears to be a gold phallic symbol. [See New York magazine article here.]  How cool is an $800 dick necklace? I’ll tell you how cool — Bill Donohue of the Catholic League [click here for the fucking moron] is upset about it. And, an idiot. I mean, who even THOUGHT this was supposed to look like a cross? I mean, now, every time I see a nicely arranged set of male genitalia, I’m going to connect it even more vigorously to my memories of my catholic youth — those years when my knees were hardened and trained to the tasks and sacraments for which the catholic church so lovingly prepared me. Thank you to the catholics for making me so good at so many things involving being on my knees … speaking of which ….
  • And, at the gym yesterday, a really good-looking guy came on to me in the showers. I have no idea why someone as good-looking as he was would come on to someone like me, I didn’t see any mistletoe hanging on the shower head — but — without going into details — this was not another one of my hallucinations. He actually, really and truly, did come on to me. I did not reciprocate nor respond except to politely indicate the gym-showers were not a location where I intended to frolic. Truth, I am still snotty and unwell — this cold thing — and it would have been not just dangerously undignified (and, possibly, illegal?) to fool around there but, too, I’d have been spreading cold germs. But, you know, HOPE —

SPEAKING OF HOT MEN … Russell Tovey is cheating on me …

russell tovey nude looking

Russell Tovey on top of the home-wrecker and fantasy-killer, Jonathan Groff

Andrea broke it to me last night that she’d seen a preview for Season 2 of HBO’s Looking and it seems as if Russell Tovey — who I claimed as my own YEARS ago when he was in The History Boys on Broadway — is continuing — in the plotline — to have sex with Jonathan Groff’s character. I am not happy about this. And, clearly, the universe and all the demons of hell sent after me because of my lapsed catholicism and ever-increasing atheism (wait, that doesn’t make sense, well, so what) have conspired to torture me because this morning, Russell is everywhere. He posted this one of himself:

Tovey, Russell Dec 2014

Tovey by Turner

CLICK HERE FOR the website Cocktails and Cocktalk, and a whole series of new hot Tovey photos.

And, as if that wasn’t enough to get me all … well, whatever it is a man my age (who, I hasten to add, was COME ON TO in the showers yesterday — WHILE NAKED) gets, then, I was assaulted by this photo to the left in my Twitter TL. An entire new set of Tovey photos. Dear god (in whom I do not believe) STOP!

SPEAKING OF GOD … final comfort and joy of the day …

Andrea. My dear, dear Andrea, she who allows me stays at Aftermath with her dear, dear Judah, yes, Andrea is a Pastor. Pastor Andrea. A person of the cloth.

I know, right? I can hear many of you exclaiming — as did my family and some other friends when I spoke of Andrea and they inquired as to details — “How is a Pastor friends with you?”

Well, here’s how. In a life you meet/have a very few people — if you are lucky, and I am INCREDIBLY lucky in this way — who “get” you. These people see you, who you are, at the soul, at the source, at the center of your Love and Light. They don’t judge you, they don’t try to change you, they don’t forgive or accept, they don’t have to — they KNOW you. They never see anything but the Love and the Light. If I believed in God — and when I did believe in God — it was that sort of seeing I thought defined God. My complicated cosmology didn’t have room for sin or hell or right or wrong — but, rather, had space only for the aim of seeing only the Love and Light at the source, at the core. Not saying there aren’t people who behave in heinous ways, saying, instead, the job of a God — the job, I think, of everyone, all life — is to believe PAST all of the heinous, to believe that — ultimately — the Love and the Light, no matter how distorted they may become, are all that are. All That Is, the truth of the Love and the Light. Everything else is illusion, temporary, words, labels, not important.

How does Andrea stay my friend? Because for Andrea, that is all there is. Andrea is what anyone who wants to do God’s work should be, a person who works always to live in and see in others that core of Love and Light, and believes in it — no matter how those others parse it or fuck it up or hurt themselves and others or fail at life — Andrea sees and encourages and cultivates and BELIEVES in the Love and the Light.

That’s faith. Faith. That’s God. And I am incredibly blessed and comforted and cozied and joyed and un-deserving of having found this late in life (although I hasten to add I was come on to when naked in the shower yesterday by a very attractive much younger man — ARE YOU LISTENING RUSSELL TOVEY?) a friend, a dear one, a treasure, like Andrea. Andrea, a Pastor who doesn’t measure me by whether or not I profess to believe in God; Andrea, who doesn’t measure me at all except by the glow of my Love and Light, and finds me to be friend-worthy. I love her. So much.

Here’s wishing all of you have an Andrea and such blessings as do I to count, and, my dears, at least one who sees your Love and Light like Andrea sees mine.

Love and Light kids.

 

 

 

Part 2: Existential Cozies, Comforts, and Joys

It’s STILL the holiday season. I’m gonna be merry or die trying goddammit. So, first of all, my daily dose of HAPPY FUCKING HOLIDAY visuals. Here’s a Christmas tree.

ahs freak dandy christmas

Oh, and Finn Wittrock’s ass from American Horror Story.  You’re welcome.

I was shared a lot yesterday. Oh, how I wish that were true in an entirely different way. However, clicks and re-posts don’t lie. You loved yesterday’s blog [click HERE for Existential Cozies etc Part 1] and I can only conclude that your concern for me, your love for me, your wish for all good things for me drove the shares: You people LOVE it when I’m happy.

On the other hand, it may have been the pictures of half-naked men. Or, fully naked men. Never underestimate the power of Ben Affleck’s penis. Or, Colby Keller’s anything and everything.

So, being an enabler from way back, and desperate for any sort of popularity — no matter how shallow and temporary — now, I give you: More things that make me happy.

COLBY KELLER (again…get used to it)

Layout 1He’s on the cover of Next Magazine [click HERE] from which I lifted these shots. I don’t know when it happened, and certainly my friends would be amazed — had I any to whom I regularly spoke — that my obsession with etiolated, heroin-junkie looking, bean-stalk, malnourished youths has evolved into unrequited longings for flannel wearing, bearded, stocky, crush-you-without-thinking-about-it bears.

Keller, Colby NEXT MAG 1 Keller, Colby NEXT MAG 2I’m not the only one who loves Colby. There is also an article about him in The Huffington Post: Porn Star and Artist Colby Keller Opens Up About ‘Colby Does America’ [click here to read & view slideshow].

Mr. Keller also has an Instagram account. I don’t do Instagram. I can barely keep up with Twitter and this blog, so, I don’t do anything else. But, here is a link to COLBY KELLER INSTAGRAM: COLBYDOESAMERICA [click here].

COLBY

From Mr. Keller’s Instagram

Of course I am attracted to his body, and his open enjoyment of sex — but I’m also fascinated by his world-view, his communism, his commitment to breaking boundaries and exploring edges. Clearly he finds the reactions of the world to him — to everything — to be largely hypocritical, un-examined, full of inconsistencies and cruelties, twisted moralities and arbitrary judgments, dangerous games with plastic rules and deadly consequences manipulated by power-hungry, corrupt, unprincipled liars and murderers and opportunists. AS DO I.  I don’t consider what Mr Keller does debauched or pornographic; I think what Dick Cheney and George Bush and congress and CitiBank and Amazon do qualifies as licentious and degenerate. If there is such a thing as sin, it’s the politicians and the capitalists and the power-brokers who are going to hell. Not people who enjoy sex.

Look, if you’re not a prude, if you think you can take it, here’s an XTUBE link to Colby doing Maryland. Probably would be considered “porn” by a lot of people. I don’t think sex should be called porn. I think it should be called sex. But, so you know, he’s naked and he jacks off and all that — BUT LISTEN TO THE WORDS. It’s kind of genius. AND I CANNOT BELIEVE HE WAS IN MARYLAND AND I DIDN’T GET TO BE THERE.

CLICK HERE FOR COLBY KELLER DOES MARYLAND ON XTUBE

Thank you, Colby.

AND SPEAKING OF HYPOCRISY…Nasty Pig (& I don’t mean Dick Cheney. This time.)

Time-Warner Cable pulled this ad for Nasty Pig Underwear. [read story here in Towelroad]  Why? I have to watch and listen to constant bullshit about erectile dysfunction, incontinence, vaginal dryness, depression, undergarments for the oversized, discount furniture all of which reclines including coffee tables,  etcetera (can you tell I watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy every night?) but and ad promoting healthy sexuality is too much for the world? Really? I DON’T GET IT!

Were I the kind of fellow who listened to advice and somehow got my own domain and built a monetized website, I’d want NASTY PIG [click HERE for their website – and buy me some underwear – in a totally socialist way, thanks as a sponsor. Instead, I’ll just free-post them. I’m sort of a communist, I guess, or socialist, or, well, pandering to Colby?

And another voice saying “LOOK LISTEN” …  Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore [click here]

endofsanfran

Click on book to order from City Lights

Last night I finally finished reading Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s The End of Francisco. I say “finally” not because it wasn’t immensely readable, but, rather, because I loved it so much, was so moved by it, I kept putting it down. In ways too personal to describe at the moment, we shared experiences — not together, not in the same room, but, somehow, in the same heart and soul space. This is a memoir of a “radical queer troublemaker” — but, Mattilda made no trouble, Mattilda told the truth and had trouble then thrust upon her like shade, like hell, like what happens to people who speak from the center of the Love and Light in which they live honestly in a world where such things are frowned upon. Mattilda had courage in ways I never dreamed — or, if I did dream, I was too chickenshit to explore. I love him. I loved the book. And when it ended last night, I wept, because I felt as if Mattilda and I were finished, our conversation. I want more. You should buy this book. Read it.

MEGAN HILTY

Tonight, 7:30, Kennedy Center. Megan Hilty. I’m there. Early Christmas gift from my dear, A, who is going along. Megan. Hilty. This:

Tonight, she’ll be singing Christmas tunes. If only Colby Keller sang … Christmas … oh, wait … look what I found.

AND BEN … oh Ben … again …

It always comes back to Ben, doesn’t it? Just in case he’s the only reason you’re here … here. So, if you’ve been wishing for Ben’s dick for a long time — well, that can wear a person out. It’s good of Ben to share. Good Ben. Good bye. Happy holidays.

NOTE: JAN 12, 2015 — FOX HAS NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN COME AFTER HARMLESS, LOW-HIT BLOGGER LIKE ME AND DETERMINE MY USE OF IMAGES FROM FILM NOT FAIR USE — AND DESPITE WORDPRESS FIRST PARAGRAPH, THEY DID IN FACT DISABLE THE IMAGES. READ:

Hello, 

We have received a DMCA notice (https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/IP#dmca) 
for material published on your WordPress.com site. 

Normally this would mean that we'd have to disable access to the material. 
However, because we believe that this instance falls under fair use protections, 
we will not be removing it at this time. 

Section 107 of US copyright law identifies various purposes for which the 
reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, 
comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. You can learn more 
about that here:
http://www.copyright.gov/title17
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

While we believe that your use of the material is protected (we have fought for 
our users in similar cases in the past - http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/striking-back-against-censorship/), 
please keep in mind that the complainant may choose to continue to pursue this 
matter, perhaps directly with you. If you would prefer, you are still able to 
delete the content from your site yourself.

The notice we received follows.


— BEGIN NOTICE —
To whom it may concern:

We are writing to you on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and 
its related entities (collectively "Fox") which own intellectual property rights 
in the motion picture film Gone Girl Image 81313611/CA2014005206. It has come to 
our attention that one or more images purportedly from Gone Girl Image 
81313611/CA2014005206 were posted on your website at the URL(s) listed below 
without authorization of Fox. This conduct infringes Fox's intellectual property 
rights.

http://pmchollywoodlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/p1gicsogfodfghavvis2.gif
https://herewearegoing.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/affleck-dick-1.gif?w=300&h=150
https://herewearegoing.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/affleck-dick-3.gif?w=300&h=150
https://herewearegoing.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/affleck-dick-2.gif?w=300&h=150
http://pmchollywoodlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/p1gicsogfodfghavvis2.gif?w=636&h=264


We must demand that you remove the images from your website immediately. 

I have a good faith belief that the use of the material at the URL(s) listed 
above is not authorized by Fox, its agent, or the law and I declare under 
penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of Fox and the 
information in this letter is accurate.

Please confirm via e-mail that you will comply with our request.


/Kasimira C. Verdi/

Kasimira C. Verdi
Director – Intellectual Property
Fox Group Legal
2121 Ave. of the Stars, Rm. 2234
Century City, CA 90067
310-369-3110
foxip@fox.com

 

 

Love and Light, kids. Love and Light.

 

 

 

Now and Then: All Reminiscence, All the Time

sissie

Sissie and Charlie, on a long ago Sunday.

I’m spending much of this weekend trying to make life lovely for family members, including a few days worth of preparation for a Sunday dinner celebrating birthdays. I excel at throwing Sunday family dinners. And the doing of them takes me back to my Aunt, Sissie, who did Sunday dinners for the family – birthdays and holidays and, well, I’m old enough that it was expected on Sundays all the branches would gather at my Grandfather’s home each weekend out of respect — and Sissie orchestrated these. Cooked, cleaned, etcetera. Sissie didn’t even like to cook — I do. And even though I do, cooking for groups, making things delicious, fresh, special — very time consuming. So, this weekend, I am thinking of (and cooking with – in my soul) Sissie. A lot.

But, I think of her a lot ALL THE TIME — in fact — remembering things and triggers — well —

When I started this post — YESTERDAY — I wanted to do a few short links and be on my way. I had a lot I wanted to accomplish. So, I meant to write a short introductory paragraph about how much time I am spending remembering things, and how everything in the NOW seems to trigger me into some THEN. But, well … brevity is not my strong point. So, after 400 words of blather; I exited to start my projects.

Wow! Short version.

  • Cleaned my 13 year old great nephew’s room and rearranged furniture to make room for bookshelf and trunk from another room. Please be advised, the conflagration of fading boyhood stacks of toys, pubescent boy stink, and a walk-in closet with room for MONTHS full of discarded bedclothes and un-worn/worn/un-folded/oh-my-god-what-is-that? articles of clothing and towels and socks and — well, I should have worn a mask.
  • Re-arranged sister’s room to make it more like a retreat and less like a stuffed-sausage of a space.
  • Shopped for ramekins and extension cords and power strips and swivel-chair and groceries for various projects of weekend.
  • Had lunch with sister.
  • Came home and spent four hours to make two kinds of lasagna totally from scratch and an apple crisp for Sunday dinner.

    Lasagna

    These are my lasagnas. One is a roasted vegetable lasagna, full of squash, spinach, red peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic. The other is a meat lasagna, beef and sausage. Both have six kinds of cheese and homemade sauce – using roasted tomatoes I did first – and I am hoping they are both delicious.

During all of that I managed to do some friend-texting and some Tweeting. I haven’t actually seen a friend in ages. My friends have busy lives and I’ve been staying in. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister (and my Mom) and my writing and my books. I haven’t even been making it to the gym as much. Today I am making roasted beets for the Sunday salad and prepping the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake in Ramekin recipe so it’s ready to be baked tomorrow.

And having lunch with a dear one, to meet his new inamorata.

So … I’m going to try, AGAIN, to keep the REST of this as short as possible … Oh, Charles.

I don’t know what it is; a dangerous side-effect of writing and the observation required, or if this happens to everyone at a certain age, but staying in the moment, simply living in the present, becomes increasingly difficult for me. Everything echoes. Everything — each word, behaviors I see, colors, sounds, tastes, yes, Everything — is not just itself, but this portal into the past, a confluence and conflation of memories and emotional recall, as if, even in the NOW, I am seeing my life from somewhere else, somewhere in an ethereal eternity, far away, and I am framing each moment of NOW, every thought, everything that happens, in the context of the final version of this book that is my life.

I have always been on the receiving end of sentences (judgments, actually) along the lines of;

  • Stop being so dramatic; and
  • You think too much; and
  • You make everything so complicated; and
  • I don’t want to be like you, I just want to do what I want to do and not think about it; and
  • You want too much, I’m not like you; and
  • Can’t you just let things go without having to decide what everything means? and;
  • I don’t love you that way (enough, at all, etc).

But, that’s not how my mind has ever worked. I have always, always believed that every second, every tiny atom of energy and being is somehow connected, somehow means something, has a purpose. Now, I guess that is what makes this late in life atheism and nihilism, born of having seen such inconceivable cruelties and incomprehensible behaviors, witnessed such pointless, needless despair, lived in a world full of selfish, hateful, nasty people, and been personally eviscerated by those to whom I devoted my soul, my reason, my heart, sacrificed my own well-being only to be abused and used and abandoned and lied about and — well, I am not sure now whether I believe everything is connected, has any point, matters a whit.

But, holy mother of all that is holy, everything I see, read, hear, feel, is — of late — so reverberant of the past. And, often, its destruction. Examples:

Edison 1

Photo from Scouting New York, click on it to go to site

Edison 2

Photo from Scouting New York, click on it to go to site for more about Cafe Edison

The Cafe Edison, west 47th Street in Manhattan’s theater district, is closing. Read the New York Times article by Glenn Collins; [click here]. Discovering this unpretentious diner-esque spot was one of the lucky accidents of my life. During my New York trips I ate there frequently. In fact, I ate there with the relatives for whom I am making Sunday dinner on a very wonderful trip to New York — memories of which, now, make me both happy and make me cry for reasons too complicated to – SEE – THIS PAST THING — UGH — anyway, Cafe Edison, visiting it, along with the lobby of the Algonquin and St Patrick’s Cathedral, was part of my New York ritual, my own sort of stations of the cross. Now, with Cafe Edison closing and the Algonquin Lobby disrespectfully stripped of its history and aura by the Marriott Corporation and tourists now speaking full-voiced and allowed to snap photos in St. Patrick’s, the continuing assault on what I loved about the past, the shape of what was magic in my life, continues.

Molly arrest

Watch out for bad Molly

I also read an article about this kid who got some bad Molly (look it up in UrbanDictionary if you don’t know what it is) stole an ambulance and ended up jacking off in a police station. Now, no one I know ever stole an ambulance or pleasured themselves while handcuffed in a police station — well, wait, that second part isn’t true, but, though there were handcuffs involved, there was no arrest (recorded) and it wasn’t in the public part of the police station. Anyway, the point of this is, when I saw the article, I was taken back to the first time I heard of Molly, who explained it to me, and what he told me he’d done while he was rolling. And I was … well, never mind what I was and what I felt and why he told me and all of that. But, bad behavior and compromised judgement while on substances — this is one of the reasons I stopped drinking. And I do not miss it at all. Poor dumb kid. Here’s a link to the story [click HERE].

Keller Colby GIF

Colby Keller dancing

Speaking of masturbating, my favorite porn star is spreading his erudition via a new art project. I’m a huge Colby Keller fan, and the article about “America’s Most Intellectual Porn Star” [CLICK HERE] made me love him some more — when he said how infrequently he manages to hook-up, when he said men often don’t achieve erection with him, well, all except for that part where they think they want to and actually approach him — that sounds like me. Keller, ColbyExcept, of course, my rejections are all happening in my head. I’ve jumped right to the break-up or turn-down, I don’t bother with actual interaction any more. I just live in my head and write about it. Real people are far too inconvenient. All my lovers are now fictional — which, when you get right down to it, has always been the case. But, I am a fan of Colby and I would love to meet him – with or without erections — and I’m fairly sure it would be without, LOL. I mean, look at him. Then, at me. But, we’re both smart and have given away a lot of our shit in pursuit of a more unencumbered existence. Unfortunately, he’s getting to fuck his way across the country and sustain himself by making porn with other stunningly attractive fellows. I’m making lasagna and house-sitting. All good.Keller, ColbyKeller, Colby 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All good, right, yes? Colby went to art school in Baltimore. Colby ate at Woodbury Kitchen in Baltimore — one of my favorite restaurants, EVER, and Colby is sane about sex. That is so refreshing in this world in which we live where most people so decidedly are NOT sane about sex. Or, much else.

But, wait, this was about memories and such and well, is it a function of aging, these reveries? Aging? Uhm,  Bonnie Raitt turns 65 and Joni Mitchell turns 71 this weekend. Dear mothers of all that is holy. How is this possible? My love from long ago, Amy, gave me Joni Mitchell one night on her couch, in her rented Braddock Heights apartment, when we were doing our version of Molly-ing. Oh man, I miss Amy. I miss spending nights holding someone with no agenda but being incredibly happy with each other, that kind of love, and the music being the blanket. Both Bonnie and Joni recorded Joni’s That Song About the Midway. It always makes me cry. It has a resonance for me now it didn’t have then, but, wow . . . “over time I’ve lost my fire … always playing one more hand for one more dime … slowing down I’m getting tired, slowing down … and I envy you the valley that you’ve found… cause I’m midway down the midway … slowing down. Down.”

Yep.

Hey, Colby, you want to listen to some music — talk about the first times you heard Joni and Bonnie and with whom and what it meant to you — compare their versions of Midway, talk about our own midways, and not have an erection with me? Happy weekend, Love and Light, friends.

Keller, Colby 3Keller, Colby cover