Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

A friend posted on Facebook today that she was returning to the Piano. Her quote was wonderful. “THE PIANO – When you truly play, you and the piano become one. And until you play again, it is indeed a temptation and difficult to resist.”

From the time I was a kid I wanted to learn to play the piano. I had a couple of lessons in 7th grade from Sr. St. George but could not get access to a piano to practice and it fell by the wayside. The very first record album I ever bought was Horowitz playing Moonlight Sonata. It was a RCA recording from 1956. I still have that album. I used to lay across my bed and listen to it over and over. While other friends were learning the chords to Smoke on the Water I was listening to every nuance and variation in the music. VLADIMIR HOROWITZ was sent from the gods. His hands touched the keys and the angles would weep in shame. I so wanted to become one with an instrument in such a way that the sounds coming forth would make the world stop and take notice. I just never had a piano or the discipline to follow that path.

In my 20’s I had the opportunity to sit on a piano bench with Horowitz at the Ritz Carlton off DuPont Circle in Washington DC. Horowitz had just returned from a trip back to Moscow for his now famous concert and the Reagan people wanted to capitalize on it as some kind of US vs. USSR battle won by the good guys. In 1986, Horowitz announced that he would return to the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925 to give recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts were seen as events of political, as well as musical, significance.

I mentioned the story about Horowitz being the first album I ever purchased and apparently she mentioned it to Vladimir. When he came out to warm up the piano and check its’ tuning he invited me to sit with him. He didn’t have to ask twice. I sat with him while he warmed up the most beautiful piano I had ever touched. As I watched his hands fly across the keyboard I realized I would never have that skill and all but gave up any dream of ever learning to play.

Vladimir Horowitz and David Schauer

Vladimir Horowitz and Me

After the dinner there was a receiving line that included Horowitz, Senator Paul Laxalt, Justices Warren Berger and Renquest, and Secretary George Schultz to name a few. As the guests were winding through the line and after-dinner drinks were being served, Horowitz bolted from the line asking “where’s that kid?” He came back into the dining room and found me. The confusion on the host face and the elite of Washington who had just been abandoned was priceless. Horowitz had tracked me down to ask if I had all his CD’s (A new fade in those days). I responded that I did not that I could not afford them all. He asked if I went to New York often to which I answered in the affirmative. He told me that next time I was in the city to call him and he would give the rest. He asked if I knew where he lived. I said you’re so famous like that John Lennon guy everyone in the city would know. And I’d ask when I got there. He retorted “Smart-ass” and then printed out his address and phone number.

On my next trip to NY I stopped by but he was napping. I had tea with his wife Wanda who gave me several CD’s. She told me that he was so excited to find someone at one of those parties who actually appreciated his work and not his fame that he actually talked about meeting me for several days. I couldn’t stop telling my friends who responded with a collective Vladimir who? By the time I made a trip to the City after that he has passed away.

Several years ago I purchased a baby grand with hopes of taking lessons and rekindling that love affair but every time I sat down to learn I psyched myself out by comparing myself to Horowitz.

Once again I have decided to try to learn. First step is to have it tuned. Then focus. The piano still calls to me and intimidates me at the same time.

THere were several Cartoons that appeared in the papers when I was growing up that are still there. THey were not funny then they are less funny now. I enjoy the  story line comics (Mark Trail, Phantom, even Prince Valiant!) Nancy and Slugo nor Family Circus were ever cute or funny. Till now. I am working my way through some of the rewrites that are great. Hear are a sampling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution – 
Jonathan Swift. True words to a large extent.

Me in first grade. Holy Family School

I grew up in Catholic Schools for a great deal of my life. My elementary school was Holy Family in Hillcrest in southeast DC. The Sisters of St. Joseph ran it at the time. This order of nuns was founded under the guardianship of the Jesuits. This is important as the different religious orders had different focus. Jesuits were, and in many respects still are the thinkers of the church. Schools like Georgetown, Boston College, Marquette, University of San Francisco and Creighton (my law school) are Jesuit institutions. Never taking anything on faith alone, Jesuit priests spearheaded many of the Central American political revolutions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This education fueled my constant questioning and analyzing of everything in my environment. The Order of Nuns came to America and was the leader in setting up education of the children of immigrants in the 1800’s. This social conscience was still strong and played a large influence in my development. Although I seriously disagree with the dogma of the church (any church), I fully support the mission (and to me obligation) to make things better for those with little. I am very much a Franciscan by nature.

It therefore baffles me to no end when I see politicians use religion to create fear and mistrust in the community. They do this by repeating lies as dogma and turn their persecution of others into a holy war. When I grew up we prayed to reduce suffering in the world, not for personal wealth. Now we have Christians fully immersed in the “Prosperity Theology.” The book, Prayer of Jabez, sold millions of copies to people who now consider themselves Christians. It is important to remember that these are the people we are dealing with as antagonist of equality for all. They truly believed that they alone are blessed and that everyone else is unworthy. Politicians use these people, scaring them with the prospects that brown people are here to take your job or live off their tax dollars or destroy their way of life (or prospect for a better life) by demanding equality.

The white people of the South are the greatest minority in this nation. They deserve consideration and understanding instead of the persecution of twisted propaganda.

Strom Thurmond

Last week, Tea Party Congressman Tim Scott of South Carolina said, “Christians are a relentlessly and mercilessly persecuted minority today.” This despite the facts that Christians dominate the American landscape. These Christians think that they should be exempt from anti- hate and anti-bullying laws if said bullying is a result of “religious belief or moral conviction.” Somehow the Republican Party has tapped into people fears of loosing their religious freedom to a point that they are willing to sanction violence if it is defense of their religious moral principles. This could not be a more clear parallel to the Nazi parties laws allowing the German people to attack Jews and Jewish institutions during World II. The Nazi’s, like the Tea Party Republicans, used race, sex and religion as a wedge to cement the support of the white majority creating common enemies. This is not the Christianity of my youth and I fear that it is only going to get worse.

They actually speak in terms of a new political elite. McConnell, the Republican Leader in the United States Senate said, “The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.” What the republicans are saying is if the American people won’t vote for the kind of government he wants, then we must strip away the people’s ability to choose their own government. Elections haven’t worked.

I realize that Obama has not been the progressive social leader some of us had hoped for. Unless we come together Mitch McConnell and Tim Scott and the rest of the fringe right will control all branches of government. That would not be good for any of us.

Recently I started to member my first swim classes at the Naval Base In Washington DC. As I thought more about it, I remembered having to swim nude. At the time we were told that the lint from the swimsuits were tough on the filter system. That is why girls had to wear swim caps. Men did not have long hair then, especially on a military base. I started wondering when things changed. I spoke with others about this and they too remember nude swimming as late as high school in the mid 1970’s. During a recent trip to Budapest the public baths were clothing optional during male only or female only times. As far back as the Romans the baths were public and nude. When did we determine that the body has to be hidden?

It seems to me that this was the first time I saw a nude man and realized that as boys aged the bodies’ changed. All the bodies were different and with age they changed. Therefor when mine started to change I was not as insecure and “freaked” by the experience.  I truly believe this Victorian sense of modesty is partially responsible for the explosion of porn. Once we tell kids that the body is shameful and has to be hidden, the first instinct is to peak and see what and why. If families were more upfront about sex and the body the curiosity level would not be as desperate.

Clearly the body has not changed so we as a society have changed. Personally I hate wearing a swimsuit in the pool and don’t unless there are people around who would be clearly uncomfortable. If, as it appears, it changed in the 1960-70’s I am trying to understand why. That was the height of the sexual liberation movement. The body was celebrated! Why did the powers that be determine we need to be clothed?

The best answer I could come up with is a combination of causes. First the “Woman’s Liberation Movement” demanded gender equality and therefore separate swim times for men and women fell away for total co-ed swim facilities. Second I think, was the use by Richard Nixon of the “silent majority” myth. Nixon argued that the vast majority of the Americans wanted a return to the “high moral” standards of America past. The years of Joe McCarthy and “One Nation Under God”.

The strange thing about people who long for the “good ol’ days”, is that their vision of those days is seldom correct or complete. They long for a Norman Rockwell vision of the past. The present, and especially the future are too full of the unknown for their comfort level. As a result they try to impose an unlivable myth on the population at large. This is why so many conservative religious and republicans with repressed feelings and urges and found to be living hypocritical existences.

Another reason is that as America became more obese, people want more reasons to hide their body. Even body image is less of a problem for cultures that embrace the body openly and honestly. We recently went to Budapest where many of the public baths are still clothing optional. This despite the fact that many of the people bathing were not particularly attractive to me.

The other problem with repressing the body and sexuality is that it is ungodly! God, however you might define it, has created a body that is capable of so many fantastic feeling from just touch alone. One should not ignore it. Our body has evolved over the ages to be built for stimulation. To ignore it, to not explore it, would be to ignore gods work.

I would and will continue to argue that we need to become more like the rest of the civilized world. I hope that the scifi writers are correct and the future world will be beyond this issue.

Studies have shown that people with low self esteem suffer Floating hostility, irritability out in the open, always on the verge of exploding even for unimportant things; an attitude characteristic of somebody who feels bad about everything, who is disappointed or unsatisfied with everything. One way to help is to take the stress of a “shameful body” off kids as they mature. We need to stop all forms of sexual repression and deal with the body and sexuality honestly and openly. Much like the Europeans.  They have lower rape and incest rates that are a direct result of an attitude that sees the body in a more complete way. They also have lower violent crime rates due in part to a more securer self image in all people. I think much of that is due to their ability to accept their body for what it is and is not. We need to teach that the body is good in all its’ forms and not evil.

The more I listen to the coverage of the Penn State-Standusky the more upset I get. During a recent round table discussion that included Dan Rather, New York Magazine’s John Heilemann, the topic focused on why this scandal happened. Rather said that Penn State was so “money-conscious” and that the school’s concern with profits was an “indication of what has happened to the country.” Heilemann disagreed with Rather. Heliemann said the “institutional failure” stemmed from the school’s concern with protecting its “reputation, status, and the privilege and power of adults.” I have only seen one real article focused on the victims. It was written by of all people, a Wall Street Journal columnist. I am furious on two levels.

First, there has been no discussion on the impact of the victims. Just as with the Catholic Church scandal, the Penn State scandal coverage is focused on the accuser. The schadenfreude of watching the powerful fall. As a person who was raped several times in several circumstances I can say with all certainty that it is about pure arrogance.

The Catholic Church felt that they were above man’s law and untouchable. Penn State felt the same. Standusky felt the same as repeatedly violated his victims. His position in the community, like a priest or Michael Jackson, was beyond reproach. The brothers who  rapist must have had the same attitude. One set, being the children of a DC cop felt they were untouchable.

This is a scenario that plays out more times a day than the human brain can conceptualize. Research shows that one out of every three to five women, and one out of ever five to seven men are sexually abused by the time they reach their eighteenth birthday. Although women account for 20% of the [sexual] abuse of boys, approximately 60% of boys and 80% of girls who are sexually victimized are abused by someone known to the child or the child’s family. Rape is one of the most repeated crimes and most underreported crime. I am truly weakened when I read the coverage and see no reporting on the trauma of the victim.

The impact long term differs considerable between boy and girls. Sexual assaults on boys tend to be more violent and are more likely to result in serious physical injury or death than those perpetrated on females. Men who were sexually abused as children are twice as likely to become substance abusers, commit suicide, be prone to illness, have problems in school, be antisocial or overly aggressive, and be verbally or physically abusive to their mates. Because of the culture that exists in much of the world, men have additional constraints that impede their ability to cope with the aftermath of sexual abuse. Because men are expected to be “macho,” or to be in control and not show any weakness, issues are raised that the victim refuses to deal with.

With these circumstances, men and boys who have been in any way sexually abused do not get the support and help that women have come to take for granted in the last two decades. Statistics published in 1992 and 1994 by the U.S. Department of Justice show that only 52% of rapes are reported, that one of two rape victims is under 18, and that one in six is under 12 years of age. There are a number of reasons we choose not to talk about our ordeal; a deep sense of shame, fear of revenge by the perpetrator and of ostracism by friends and family. The most common experience is dissociation. That is the minds desire or ability on the conscious level to escape an unavoidable and intolerably painful situation.

I have talked to several men recently who suffered abuse on one level or another. All of us saw ourselves, as coping with it and that it had no long-term effects. But after a deeper discussion we saw how it still affected the way we view or have sex or dealt with people in intimate relationships.

The reality of the Penn State/Catholic Church scandals is that society will focus on the failure of the powerful to police itself while ignoring the victim because in the face of the victim they will see an emotional intensity that will scare them.

If I do have demons that I wear on my sleeves, they are the demons of the physical. I have never looked like a model. I could never have looked like a model. I was born with a linebacker physique. As a child, my mother took me to the “husky-boys” department to by pants. I wasn’t fat. Just big. Also I want to look like Tony, not Sven. I wanted that jet black hair and constant 5 o’clock shadow, not the blonde fuzzy that never could grow to a beard. Maybe the issues ran deeper to a rejection of who I knew I was, but I’ve never been happy with my body. I focused that anger on the things I could not change instead of the things I could change. It is only recently, in the past year or so, that I have actually embraced and confronted these demons.

After forty I really let myself go. My weight climbed to 280 pounds with a 42 inch waist. For the longest time I didn’t care enough to do anything about it except complain. Then after seeing a picture of myself I had an awakening. I though for gods sake, I was so fat that I did not even want to tough myself.  Why on earth would Ed want to touch me? That and the medical reports that showed I was diabetic, prompted me to make some changes.

At that point I decided to try this amazing new diet plan. I ate fewer calories than I was burning. I started doing cardio to burn more calories and started weight training to add muscle. It has worked. I dropped over 40 pounds. My waist has doped from 42 to 36 and my chest and back and arms have all gotten bigger and toned. There are actually now pictures of me with my shirt off floating around the internets. and most importantly, I can look down and see my dick. A very big plus!

Now there are those that would say I should have learned to accept myself for who I was and embrace that. I  would respectfully say to them – You’re NUTS!  Again, I believe that we are spirits having a human experience. That the essence that defines us lives past the demise of the vessel we are in. It is in a way a symbiotic relationship with body and energy. Along with experiencing a body, we must learn how to control it.

One of the commonalities of the people I consider great spiritual teachers, Buda, Gandhi, Jesus and even Mohammed was the ability to control their body. To fast. To walk through pain and discomfort. I then compare them to Jerry Farwell, Jimmie Swaggert and others of that ilk. Big fat men with jowls shaking. Rev. Charles “Chuck” Dewease, pastor of the First Pentecostal Church of Youngston, is not ashamed to tell anyone his weight.”I’m a little over 415 pounds and proud of it.”He says.About ten years ago while reading the book of 1 Timothy, Dewease came under “intense conviction” when he read 1 Timothy 4:8a which says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little.” He is using the bible to justify sloth!

I am appalled now that fat people are considered  handicapped. Instead of getting prime parking at the store, they should have to park in the spots furthest away and burn a few calories on their way to get more Ho Ho’s. As a society we should stop making it acceptable to be a glutton and help people get control of their life. This is not a PC matter. It is a public welfare crisis. We pay higher insurance premiums to cover “Fat Scooters”! Ed saw an obese man ride his fat scooter through he drive through at Dun-kin Donuts and get a box of Donuts. He was too big to fit through the front door. He then pulled into a handicap space and ate them all. Really?!?

I realize that people are going to take exception to this way of thinking but there is one main reason people get fat. A lack of discipline. NO ONE IS BORN FAT. We let ourself become fat. Or worse, parents let their kids get fat. If this offends you, go tell someone who gives a fck. We treat cigarette smokers that way. We treat alcoholics and junkies that way. Why give fat people a break? It is bad for society.

Ed works in the ER and several times a month they send patients to the Marine Mammal Rescue Clinic in Clearwater to use their cat-scan because they are too big for the people one in the hospital. One of the leading causes of injury to emergency responders happens during the moving of obese people. Maybe I am like a reformed smoker but as a society we need to make certain behavior acceptable and certain behavior unacceptable. I am by no means advocating that everyone be a gym bunny. But for gods sake take care of the body you have. You only get one each trip through. I have spent more than half my life dealing with a disease that is trying to kill me from the inside. I need to do what I can to make sure I keep a body that can fight this off.

It is even becoming a security risk. The vast majority of kids enlisting in the military are obese. As I have said before, I have always admired the USMC for their discipline. But even they are not immune from this problem. But as the tee-shirt reads – If it were easy, every one would do it. Although I have made a lot of change physically I have a way to go. I still see myself as that fat slob with a 42 waist. By New Years Eve I want to be down to my goal weight so I can focus on building more muscle next year. I need to find a challenge or goal next year. Maybe do an Ironman contest. But as a society we need to stop being victims and become the change we seek.

A few years ago the mirth and girth group moved into bear groups and started called themselves bears. This despite the fact that are in essence hairless. One person on line sent me his picture claiming to be a “muscle bear”. I responded by asking him what made him think so? NO – I DO NOT NEED TO HELP YOU ACCEPT YOURSELF!

There will soon be a posting about the term inclusive and community. We keep breaking into smaller factions based on fetish or type and at the same time trying to be PC and inclusive. I think with with  the development of the internet we have become less of a community and more of a network.

Shortbus

Posted: October 28, 2011 in book, My History
Tags: , ,

The other night I watched the movie Shortbus again for the umpteenth time. If you have not seen it, do your self a favor and watch it. Watch it alone, with a loved one, with friends. John Camron (Headwig) did an amazing job exploring sex on many levels without making a “dirty movie”. One scene in particular brings tears to my eyes (ok I tear up during Kodak commercials).

The scene involves’ James, a former street hustler, having a conversation with a professional female dominatrix. He admits part of the allure of hustling is that “its’ the only time I knew what I was truly worth.” I remember that very same feeling. Honestly, it was good.

I went to catholic schools grade 1 through 8. When I transferred to a public high school I was advanced a year and skipped my freshman year. I had a lot of sexual experimentation by then (yes I was an alter boy). But in high school I encountered a new dilemma.  My teachers in grade school (the nuns) did not hit on me. Hit me yes, but not on me. I had for the first time a teacher hit on me on a regular basis but still demanding that I not only complete and hand in all projects on time, but it also appeared that he would single me out for more criticism. This did not seem right. Especially since he gave lousy head.

He was not attractive in the least to me. Actually resembling Tony Orlando 15 years out of his prime still struggling to fit in long outgrown clothes. Yes polyester stretches, but it was never meant to stretch that much. He was considered the “ladies man” always flirting with the girls in class. When ever I came in for extra help, his hand usually ended up on my shoulder, lap or butt. I guess he assumed my repeated trips for extra help were driven by a crush. The truth is that it was driven by the reality that I was not use to getting average grades.

The sexual part of the relationship was driven by him performing orally and progressed to me lending him a hand to finish things up. It just seamed to me that he started treating me differently in class. Almost relishing being able to embarrassing me publicly. No surprise, but that annoyed me.

Now I could have withheld favors from him, a trick some women learn at an early age. I chose a different route.  I kept a highly incriminating note he sent me in a safe place at the house. I then approached him and told him that I was not going to do the final project that semester and I was going to get an A in the class. If it does not happen that way I would go to the Principle, or worse, my father, and explain our “relationship” to him. It worked and I learned the power of the penis! On top of that I cut him off totally. I didn’t need to give it away anymore which was great. Two of the most important things I learned from this was that it possible to get really bad head, Second, that I could use sex to get my way. From here on out – quid pro quo.

It is not that I am ashamed of what I did and continued to do. It is a part of who I am today. I am not necessarily proud of all of it. One of the problems of growing up gay at that time was that there were no role models. Paul Lynde? Liberace? I knew I wasn’t like them. All the gay men I knew or met were married with children and living a lie. There were no long term relationships. Most important there was no internet or books on the topic. It seemed to me that sex and sexuality were separate from love. It took years for me to get past that.

The few men I met and “dated” saw me as more of a trophy than an equal or partner. I owe a great deal to Ed who finally got me over that past.