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OH SHIT. I totally spaced out - HAPPY BIRTHDAY [livejournal.com profile] beeftenderloin ! Here's looking at you, kid - a full glass and a lot of great things going your way.
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HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAY WISHES TO[personal profile] reslbear ! CHEERS TO A GREAT DAY AND YEAR AHEAD!
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One of the things I love about the internet is how easy it is to research anything that comes to mind.

This morning I woke up thinking of an old 70's song called the Pata Pata. I found it on YouTube, just like I remembered it. Ah, a stroll down memory lane.



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HAPPY BIRTHDAY [personal profile] fuzzygruf  AND [profile] double_ohsteven  !!!

Cheers to both of you for a knockout year filled with love, laughter, good health and success!

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My gall bladder get's 86'd this afternoon. Hooray! Update to follow manana.
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Saturday night we had a phenomenal dinner at Chez Squalid's river retreat. Every time I go over there's always something new. This time it was the snazzy new sunporch. Mike and Tom were the other guests and we feasted on a sumptuous meal with great wines and a gorgeous table set by the Sarge who was channeling Miss Hill in a big way. What a delight!

Sunday morning I woke up at 4am with an ominous pain I'd had before. I thought it was acute Gastrointeritis but it turned out to be a major gall bladder attack.I had just enough time to get dressed nicely (khakis, sport shirt, socks, loafers; don't ask, it's me) and hustle to the hospital before the inevitable happened - violent vomiting and acute stomach pain. I have to say, the emergency room personnel at our local hamlet hospital in the country are so sweet and accommodating. Of course they're not used to a 'take charge' guy like me ("screw the Morphine, it doesn't work. Just give me 2 injections of Diottin'"). Eventually when things were calming down I called Miss Hill ('guess who I slept with last night - and where?'). They dragged me in for a CatScan where I found out there was something wrong with the gallbladder. So back to SF today to get a referral and run over to the hospital and find out what Chapter 2 is going to be on this little saga. Next step: lining up the doctors. Christ. Always something.

I saw Bruce Vilanch roaming aorund Union Square last week. Seeing all of him - this time wearing yet another stained t-shirt - reminded me of a time he was supposed to stay at the hotel. This must have been around 2000. Anyways, I ordered a VIP gift, a custom cookie made to look like the Hollywood Squares checkerboard with a big heart in the center square. Underneath the checkerboard the script was to have read "You're our favorite secret square".

Instead it came out reading "You're our favorite secret squirrel".

Fortunately he cancelled at the last minute as he got nicer accommodations.
Hopefully next to a dry cleaners.

What is it about Bruce that he can't dress decently? I know the guy is overweight but there are plenty of oveweight guys who can still wear something other than a t-shirt and jeans. And with Bruce's income, he has plenty of moolah to go to a tailor and get a couple of pants and shirts made. Truly, there is no excuse to looking like a slob 24/7.

Speaking of the Rrazz room (where Bruce played last week) Diane Schuur is opening on Wednesday the 20th for a four night gig. If you love jazz and standards, she is a must. If you haven't been to the Rrazz Room, do. It's dressy (coats for the guys, ties optional but preferred), classic and fun. And she puts on a great show.

Back to me pain pills
.
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Cheers to [livejournal.com profile] squalidbear  - wishing you....

Daydreams, happiness, lots of sunshine, cocktails by the pool, lazy afternoons, sexy nights, happiness, great health, beauty, light, warmth and lots and lots of love.

....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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KFOG's Dave Morey
 
For the past 15 years, Dave Morey has been the first voice I hear in the morning when my alarm clock goes off tuned to KFOG.

Dave had the best rock radio format in the industry - cool, low key, understated along with that low, cool, understated smooth voice. No "in your face" or "shlock rock" shenanigans that plagues so many morning-drive stations. Instead, Dave and his team appealed to the smart person: they want their music, news and traffic in a calm, cool, and fun manner. Today Dave retired and listening to his last morning show was painful - but in the Dave manner, it was cool, too.

Dave was one of the few radio hosts who was out. As in Gay. And oh, so cool about it. He supported causes large and small in the community and unlike Fernando and Greg, competiting morning driver hosts at Energy 92.7, he didn't talk about his dates, fetishes or lusts. Nobody wants to hear that.

Fortunately Dave will still air his 10@10 segment - 10 great songs from a particular year - one of my absolute favorites. I'll miss his silky voice in the morning as another piece of San Franciscana leaves forever.
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It was a different era, a different feeling, a different place and time. Travel was truly an adventure and getting there was half the fun. Especially if you could travel in vast comfort.

Before the avent of jet travel, people traveled by train and boat. Going through one of my Grandmother's albums I found pictures from train trips to New York (on the Super Chief, the fastest train at the time) and cruises from New York to LeHavre or Southampton aboard Cunard liners. All with detailed pictures and descriptions of accommodations and meals.

The privileged few had private railway cars. Recently I was looking for something to read when I came across an article from today's "New York Social Diary" (www.newyorksocialdiary.com)  on private railway cars that are available for charter. The most opulent private railway car was one created by two gay gentlemen, Lucius Beebe and his partner Charles Clegg. Decorated to the nines, these boys had style, fun and a penchant for comfort. Their railway car is now in the California Railway Museum in Sacramento. 

Read more... )
 
The Chapel Hill was originally built in 1922 for Post Cereals Heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post, and stock broker and investment banker E.F. Hutton.
by Michael L. Grace

Donald Trump’s “Mar-a-Lago” may be the closest proximity you might have to the illustrious society history of Post Cereals Heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post unless you charter her former private railway car.

E. F. Hutton & Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Owner DeWitt Chapple Jr., seen on the Chapel Hill private car observation platform.
Originally christened Hussar, the car was built in 1922 for Post and her husband E.F. Hutton. The car was used for company business and personal travel. The famous couple journeyed between their principal residence in New York City; their Hispanic-Moresque winter estate (Mar-a-Lago) in Palm Beach; and Camp Topridge, the couple’s summer retreat in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. It was also used extensively for entertainment, as Post was known as a lavish hostess.

The Huttons divorced in 1935 and the Hussar became a part of Post’s settlement. She later remarried Joseph E. Davies, a Washington, D.C. attorney and ambassador to the Soviet Union and Belgium. After the Davies left for the Soviet Union in 1937, the Hussar was sold to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.

It was then used as a business car in the 1960s for railway executives. With the advent of Amtrak, the car may have been scrapped if it were not for rail aficionado DeWitt Chapple Jr. He bought the car and restored it.

Chapple retained the car’s number, but added the name Chapel Hill after his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill. In 1972, he used his newly refurbished private car for a trip to Philadelphia on the rear of Amtrak’s National Limited (formerly a crack streamliner for the Pennsylvania Railroad). Since then he has accumulated over 250,000 miles aboard the Chapel Hill both in the United States and Canada.
The Chapel Hill (the former Post car) as it appears today.
Salon aboard the Chapel Hill.
Chapple’s interest in private cars stems from his early school years. He was a guest of Frank Pidcock III on the Georgia Northern’s business car Moultrie, which later became the Gold Coast, the first private car owned by Lucius Beebe.

Beebe was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, to a prominent Boston family. Beebe attended both Harvard University and Yale University. During his tenure at boarding school and university, Beebe was known for his numerous pranks.

Lucius Beebe ready to board the Gold Coast. This was his first private railway car and can be seen at the California Railway Museum in Sacramento.
One of his more outrageous stunts included an attempt at festooning J. P. Morgan's yacht Corsair with toilet paper from a chartered airplane. During and immediately after obtaining his degree from Harvard, Beebe published several books of poetry, but eventually found his true calling in journalism. He had a major interest in railroads, their history, and owned two private cars with his life-partner Charles Clegg.

The Gold Coast is now an honored showpiece at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

These elegant American railway carriages mostly built by the Pullman Company during the early part of the 20th century personified the comparable exclusivity of today’s personal jet. But these mansions on rail were far more opulent and visible. They were not parked on the far side of an airport but attached to the rear of yesterday’s named trains: the Chief, Detroiter, Commodore Vanderbilt and the Florida Limited.

Mrs. Post didn’t look out at the sky or breathe re-circulated air or dine on something a little better than first class airline food. She slept in private staterooms, dined in privacy and lounged comfortably in opulent observation salons. The cars had rear platforms were these privileged travelers watched America scenery pass them by.

World War II changed all that with the advent of the private airplane. In the 1960s, the number of private cars numbered three. The most famous was the Virginia City owned by Beebe and Clegg. By the time Amtrak took over the U.S. passenger railway system most of the private cars were abandoned and in neglect.
 
Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg dining aboard the The Virginia City being served by steward Clarence Watkins.
The drawing-obersavation salon of Beebe and Clegg's Virginia City decorated in 1954 by Robert Hanley of Los Angeles.
Chapple, along with other private individuals, bought these cars rich with history and have preserved them. There are now over a hundred restored cars in the United States but few are able to maintain the quality of service and transportation found on Mrs. Post’s former car.

The Chapel Hill has the further distinction of being one of three private cars in attendance at the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners (AAPRCO) first private car convention in Chicago in 1978. DeWitt Chapple was also a founding member of AAPRCO and has served as its president for the maximum allowable term in 2004 and 2005. Chapple has attended all 28 annual AAPRCO conventions since its inception, and the Chapel Hill has attended 25 of 28 AAPRCO conventions.

Over 50 private cars were recently assembled in Los Angeles for their 2008 convention. Many of the cars are available for charter and can be attached to Amtrak trains. Some of the cars have been modernized to the point where you have the feeling they are a private jet than a railway car. Mrs. Post’s former car retains all the charm, style and history of the streamlined era.
One of the last private cars prior to Amtrak belonged to Kansas City insurance magnet Bruce Dobson. Mr. and Mrs. are seen playing cards attended by their steward. Many of the stewards serving in private cars into the 1970s and 1980s were retired Pullman Car porters and dining car chefs.
Clockwise from above: Dining salon aboard the Chapel Hill; Master stateroom on the Chapel Hill; Bedroom on the Chapel Hill for day use. Can be converted to upper and lower Pullman berth.
Place setting for dinner on the Chapel Hill.
Chapel Hill is totally updated, combining all the necessary comforts of contemporary travel in surroundings capturing the elegance of train travel that ended in the 1950s. There is an observation platform, lounge, dining salon, staterooms, kitchen and crew quarters. A chef and steward meet all your needs. The car can comfortably accommodate six to eight passengers. The charter price runs around $80,000 for a seven to ten day trip. An example itinerary would be from Chicago to Seattle, visiting Yellowstone, then onto San Francisco and return to Chicago via the Colorado River Gorge. Transportation, accommodations and meals are included. There would be layovers in the national parks and cities en-route.

An expert in dealing with the various requirements of travel in the USA and Canada when it comes to private cars, Chapple can tailor an itinerary for a unique and very deluxe tour of the USA. Many celebrities have chartered cars and Bill Gates actually chartered a train for his own sightseeing needs. The late television mega-producer Aaron Spelling wouldn’t fly and traveled by chartered private railway car. If he went to Europe, he sailed on the now retired QE II or the long gone France.
The Chapel Hill en route.
Clockwise from above: The "drum head" located at the rear of Chapel Hill's platform. The kitten was used as a logo for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. The Chessie's motto was: "You can sleep like a kitten" aboard the C&O; The private car "Scottish Thistle" greets visitors at the recent private car convention in Los Angeles; The observation lounge area of the Chapel Hill (inset: robes aboard the Chapel Hill commemorate the date Pullman built the car for Hutton and Post); The steward aboard the Chapel Hill prepares to serve dinner in the wood paneled and restored dining salon where Hutton and Post dined; The steward and chef in the dining salon aboard the Chapel Hill.
First-class service aboard the fine trains of North America was a given until the late 1950s. The Pullman Company provided private rooms and dining was enhanced by the marvelous reputation of such companies as Fred Harvey aboard Santa Fe’s famous streamliner The Super Chief.

Those streamlined trains of yesteryear are just memories now, but you can still find the service-along with superb cuisine and comfortable appointments aboard private cars.

You may not be Marjorie Merriweather Post but you will travel as she if you charter the Chapel Hill.
Michael L. Grace is a writer living in San Francisco who chronicles the social history of travel on his website www.cruisingthepast.com.

For more information on private cars and chartering the Chapel Hill contact DeWitt Chapple, Jr., at www.chapelhillrail.com.
This could be a really swellegant vacation idea.
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I rode out with my favorite bunch of guys, the Positive Pedalers (affectionately known as "The Pos Peds") on Sunday commemorating the 28th anniversary of the AIDS pandemic. You may have seen coverage in yesterday's Comical or on Channel 14 (ironically, the Spanish speaking channel).

We started early at McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park - I arrived at 7:15am - in time to enjoy coffee, hugs, getting our bikes ready and dishing the dirt. We then had a small ceremony - remembering those who we've lost and instilling love to those in the circle - and then we took off. As we rode across the bridge I saw a woman on the east side of the span just about to jump off. (She tied a step stool to the railing). My heart lept and due to traffic I couldn't cross six lanes. In the nick of time, two Bridge Patrol officers showed up and took her off to a safe place.  The conditions on the bridge were terribly windy and as I chugged my way to the Marin side all I could think about was what was going through her head. Thwarted plans, dashed hopes, the whole nine yards. It was extremely sad.

Fortunately the good weather, the ride down the Sausalito hill and the sunny expanse that greeted us in Mill Valley changed my mood. While it was a very short ride in my book (28 miles) it was such a treat to ride with all these people who are truly the nicest guys in the world.


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While we've all had our rant and rage over Prop 8, we need to get beyond the disappointment and look towards our future. The final decision rests with the court and in my opinion, once a right has been established you can't take it away. I'm hoping the court sees it the same way.

In the meantime, for those who got married whether your marriages are validated or not, your commitments to each other haven't changed and that's what's important. Still, partners need to protect each other and this is what you need to do.

1. Even if you got married, be sure to be domestic partners also. Whether the marriages performed are valid or not, domestic partners still get many advantages, most importantly no stepped up basis on property taxes should one partner die. This is the same right offered to married couples who own property together. So if you got married but didn't register as Domestic Partners, do that immediately.

2. Next, make sure you have a durable Healthcare Power of Attorney for each other. This document states that your partner can make your medical decisions for you in case you are incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes. The document also allows you to write out these wishes such as no resusitation, no heroics, etc. Whether you are domestic partners or not, this is essential.

3. If you and your partner own property together then you need to each establish your own trusts. A trust avoids probate court when you die and allows you to will your assets to anybody you wish to as is written in your will which is part of the trust. See a qualified trust attorney. Even if you don't own real estate but have bank accounts or an automobile that you own outright, you need to have a trust. The last thing you want to do is die and have everything go to probate court. Trust me, it's a fucking mess. So if you're leaving everything to your partner in a trust, you can do that. You can also put a challenge clause in the trust document that states if your  trust is challenged by one of the beneficiaries that they automatically will lose what was left to them. Again, you don't need to be domestic partners to do this.

How to find the right attorney for you? Check your local Bar association for a listing of Estate Planning attorneys. Or check with your pals. Or check your local Gay business organization. Just make sure they are licensed in the state where they practice and are a member of state Bar association.

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I am thoroughly furious with Religious organizations. We now need to get a bill through the California Legislature that does not allow religious organizations to create or donate to any political campaign. While that's going to take a while, here's something that we can all do immediately.

GANK THIS ON TO YOUR JOURNAL AND PASS IT ON

The Mormon Church and its members were some of the largest donors in the Prop 8 measure. As many of your know, Mormon church members are required to tithe a portion of their income to the Church.

Universely, we need to avoid putting any more money into the Church's coffers by boycotting all companies where a Mormon church member holds an officer's position or a large majority interest. This includes:


MARRIOTT HOTELS

PRICELINE.COM

ALBERTSONS GROCERY STORES

K-SWISS SHOES

HOUSE OF FABRICS

NATIONWIDE INSURANCE INCLUDING ITS AFFILIATES SUCH AS ALLIED.

SWIFT TRANSPORTATION

EARTH SHELL

CORVIS

HUNTSMAN CHEMICAL

OAKLEY

NPS PHARMECEUTICALS


MEGAHERTZ CORPORATION

CORNERSTONE REALTY INCOME TRUST

KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION (TRUCKING)

MERIT MEDICAL

PLUS all those companies that are directly owned by the MORMON CHURCH outside of Utah, many of which are FOR PROFIT.

Join the effort and put your dollars into non-Mormon companies that deserve your support!



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Check it out!

http://palinaspresident.com/

Use your mouse to click around and turn up that sound.
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Commenting on the news that Madonna is divorcing her husband Guy Ritchie.

Big woo.

"Liz Rosenberg" (Madonna's publicist) "should marry Madonna", I stated. "Liz is this big dyke with the most boring, vacuous girlfriend you ever met. That is if she still has the girlfriend. Why doesn't she just call up Bekins and move in with Madonna? It's the logest relationship either of them have ever had."

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, [livejournal.com profile] glovercom !!

YOU ROCK, MISSY!

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So yesterday I'm walking towards temple getting ready to join the line for the security check prior to going into Kol Nidrei services. The holiest night of the year, Kol Nidrei and its adjoining holy day, Yom Kippur is where we ask God to forgive our sins. You get to start out with a new slate. I call it being re-virginized.
 
 
I'm talking with my friend Michael on the cell phone. "How many sins do you need to ask forgiveness for?" 
 
"2,524" I reply.
 
"That many?"
 
"2,525 if I count the woman I cut off in the parking lot this morning who was about to park in my reserved space."
 
The High Holy Days: also referred to as the Days of Awe, Last Chance for Jewish Identity (and/or redemption), The Twice a Year Temple Trot or whatever other little moniker you want to make up. What I look forward to is not the prayers (how many times can you ask for forgiveness? According to the Jews, once is NOT enough). It's the music and it's awesome due to two things: our Cantor, who is a female and has an opera-trained voice and the mighty Emanu-El choir. The combination is so powerful, so majestic, that every note uttered is a joy to the ear. And then there are my favorite songs that are sung during this period; perhaps my number one favorite is L'dov v'dor. The entire orchestration always brings tears to my eyes and if for a brief shining moment, all is well in the world.
 
While I may joke about religion what felt different this year compared to other years was my heart. And my heart was in another synagogue miles and miles away thinking about my cousins Lauren and Margie and their parents and family, how they were dealing with this holiday. Sitting there in "their row" at temple, there's a familiar face missing, their brother Peter, our cousin  whom we lost this year. Because not only is this a holiday where we ask for forgiveness from our sins (yet again) it's also a time to remember those who left us. There are some we only remember once a year; there are others like Peter whom we never forget. Most especially, today is a day for reflection, for whatever spiritual comfort that feels right  Sharing that comfort with those you love is the bonus track.
 
At the conclusion of the day's service, Rabbis around the world ask for the same things they as for every year: a new year of love, happiness and peace. You walk away feeling calm, comforted and cosseted. (On the other hand, there's my brother the Rabbi who prefers to break out in song. Don't ask.)
 
I'm only planning to be re-virginized for 45 minutes. But then again, purity was never my bag.  While I"m back to racking up the sins, I do know one thing: it's the love that counts and tme is short. Be with the ones that matter to you most and don't forget to tell them you love them.
  
L'Shana Tova. And stay away from my parking space.
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I've heard of men and bears colliding at bear runs or even at the baths, but this tops them all:



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Click the pic.
Because in this election, Florida needs to wake up.

 
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[personal profile] heypyro !

WISHING YOU NOTHING BUT HAPPINESS, LAUGHTER, LOVE, SUCCESS AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU DESIRE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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