Total Pageviews

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Two Men Kiss in Public and 103 People Are Shot as Punishment

In the early evening of November 18, 1980, Ronald Crumply, once a policeman, went to Greenwich Village in New York City—very well armed.  When he got just outside the Ramrod Bar (popular with gays) he used his Uzi to start spraying bullets, killing two gay men (the Ramrod doorman, a church organist from Minnesota) and wounding six others, one of whom later died from his injuries.  Crumply claimed that gays were “agents of the devil . . . trying to steal my soul just by looking at me.”  He was subsequently judged insane and was still in a psychiatric facility as late as 2001, when I lost track of him.  Spookily, I’d been in that very bar a week before this happened, and was probably too much disturbed by the event.  When the shooting was discussed at a New York City public meeting a short time later, two orthodox Jews in the audience began loudly applauding the gunman before being silenced by the shocked people around them.  Crumply himself was a Christian, using the bible as his justification for his massacre. 

Now it’s the turn of the Muslims to bring their hatred of gays to the United States.  As I’ve described before [see “Atheists and Gays In Islamic Countries: Ugly Deaths,” June 18, 2015;], in other countries the more radical members of this ancient religion have been tossing suspected homosexuals, blindfolded and much beaten, off medium height buildings to a waiting crowd below, who (men, women, and even children) joyfully kicked the fallen body until no life can be detected.  Think about that experience from the victim’s point of view for a few seconds and then swallow hard. 

On June 12th of this year a recruit to ISIS took an automatic weapon into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida (self-described as "Orlando's hottest gay bar") and opened fire on the crowd in the early hours of the morning, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others with a spray of bullets that loosed a hundred or more rounds.  The killer, who died when police crashed an armored vehicle into the Pulse and took him down, had told his father he was lately sickened by the sight of two gay men kissing in public.  Though it seems he’d previously thought of using his Sig Sauer MCV rifle at Disney World (also in Orlando), the gays seemed a more obvious target.

Imagine how terrifying all these deaths are!  One minute you’re a productive member of society and the next you’re being gunned down or trying to find flooring where there’s only air.  If a gay man or lesbian is having a drink in a gay bar, for them this is a safe place.  Here, among people like themselves they are reassured that “I won’t be judged on anything other than the usual straight issues: am I attractive, or fun, or interesting, or mysterious?”  Those are “big” problems, they imagine—hell, all people imagine—but then there’s the sudden unexplained commotion, the “what the fuck was that?” noise, and—like a lightning strike—come bullets all around, striking here, striking there, 
striking you.

Inevitably, in the 21st century there is even a “KILL THE FAGGOT” video game:  I was interviewed by Columbus, Ohio’s Channel 10 about all this yesterday; for the evening newscast, which included interviews with two of my friends combined with mine, see

Liberal members of the common religions are rightly horrified.  But how many liberal members of these religions are there?  Hmm . . . are liberals a controlling power in any of them?  Want to hear a scary question?  If every person on the planet could—in secret—push a button and wipe out the gay population of the Earth, what would you bet but that one tenth of our people (alas, including me) would vanish neatly just as the computer finished tabulating the votes?  Hell, it wouldn’t even be close.

 But . . .

What most people—all over the globe—don’t understand is that those damn gays and their perverted lifestyle would be right back twenty years later as soon as a new generation matured.


Well, push the button again?  Or . . . um . . . eh . . . now do what?

It’s not taught!  It’s inherited.  It’s natural.  Yes, it reproduces itself.  It’s part of the fabric of life.  Wiping out the current left-handed people on the planet wouldn’t mean there won’t be any
left-handed people twenty years from now.  Wake up!

Gays have been part of the human experience since our species emerged from the caves.  All studies and histories that look at this with unblinkered eyes agree.  I’ve written blog post after blog post about this.  No one can change gays into straights.  No one can pray them away, wish them away, counsel them away, nor does it help to close your eyes and put fingers in your ears and sing “La, la , la, la, la.”

You can’t shoot them away either. 

You can only learn to live with them.

Try that.


Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;

“Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality and Gay Marriage?” June 29, 2014;

“How To Cure Homophobia,” July 30, 2016; 
“How To Change Gay People Into Straight People,” September 20, 2010;

“Disowning Your Gay Children,” October 9, 2013,

“Are Gays Really Just 1.6% of the U.S. Population?” July 26, 2014;

“How Many Homosexuals Are There in the World?” November 8, 2010; 

“Choose To Be Gay, Choose To Be Straight,” January 25, 2011; "

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Discrimination in the Name of Religion: Methodists, Religious Freedom Laws, and What’s Right

In the 1980s when I was heavily involved with gay rights in Columbus, Ohio, I was invited to be a speaker at a downtown Methodist church where the congregation was breaking in two over the issue of recognizing LGBT rights—a startling idea in those days.  One of the most incredible speakers was a young man, openly gay, who was currently in the seminary studying to be a Methodist minister.  When more or less everyone there pointed out to him that the Methodist Church condemned homosexuality and certainly would not allow him to be ordained, he smiled and explained with tremendous sincerity, his voice like an angel, that “My calling is so strong, so long felt, so deep, that I know in my heart that God would not call me to take this path if it didn’t lead to fulfilling my mission within the Church.  I know that before I graduate the Church will change its mind and open its arms to welcome gay people into its flock.”  He was on the verge of tears as he said this. 

It was very moving.

I had two conflicting reactions, both of which I kept to myself.  One was pity because I knew (and so did most everyone there) that he was so very wrong as to what would happen, and the other was “Don’t be a fool!” since he was wasting his time in catapulting so forcefully against a large and unmoving brick wall.

I don’t know what happened to that dedicated young man, but in 2016 that same wall is standing with only the slightest hint of a crack.  The Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline still deems homosexuality “inconsistent with Christian teaching” and flatly prohibits the ordination of gay clergy.  Nor may Methodist minister perform gay weddings, as happened May 7th of this year when the Rev. David Meredith, a Methodist minister, married Jim Schlachter at the same Methodist Church I’d spoken at thirty years before, leading all Methodists involved to be the immediate subject of suspension.  Adding to this fire, more than 100 members of the Methodist clergy came out in a “love letter” sent to the national convention in Portland, Oregon, two days later, which appealingly asked the church to open its heart to its gay parishioners.  The convention promptly tabled the whole matter by creating a future study group.

The Marriage of Meredith and Schlachter

All over the country states are battling laws protecting LGBT rights, and two recent terrifying events have particularly caused dire reactions: gay marriage and transgendered people in bathrooms.  I’ve written much about these topics in the past [see “Related Posts” below], but in this post I want discuss the religious justifications for such virulent denial of gay people.  I’ll focus on Christianity, although most traditional  religions, and particularly Islam, are no better. 

First let’s address whether the bible in fact condemns homosexuality.  As I’ve explained at length in a prior post [see “Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?” June 29, 2014;], in spite of learned explanations as to why it doesn’t, I conclude that the bible does indeed make such a denunciation rather clearly in both the Old and New Testaments.  Of course it also condemns things such as getting a tattoo and eating shellfish, but let’s move on.

I’m certainly willing to grant all people freedom of religion to believe whatever they want.  I’m a lawyer and an American citizen so that vital concept is important to me.  That said, I do not grant religious people the right to use their religion as a weapon to attack beliefs or people not in agreement with them.  The way to settle such disagreements is to test the competing ideas in the public forum and let the American people decide.  Gay rights activists have been fighting in that hot arena a long time, and have been mangled by large arena lions for decades.  Recently, as if by magic, gays have emerged largely victorious, nursing multiple wounds.  Their political ascendency is startling to devout believers of the bible, who have (in the blink of an eye in biblical time) lost their god-given right to treat gays as condemnable misfits.  Incredibly, gays—archetypal sinners—are now protected in matters such as marriage and discrimination, and society’s demand to treat these evildoers as fellow citizens is unacceptable to many traditionally religious people.

Legislators in some states (I mean you, Mississippi, North Carolina, and—alas—my native state of Indiana) have passed laws either forbidding protection of gays from discrimination or creating “religious liberty” exceptions to such protection so that those with sincere religious beliefs don’t have to abandon them when dealing with spiritually unclean homos.  These laws have come under legal attack as unconstitutional, and eventually the United States Supreme Court is likely to deem them so.  Really?  Yes, says the lawyer.  Of course freedom of religion in the First Amendment to the Constitution would and should keep governmental entitles from enacting laws dictating how religions must run themselves (“Catholic Schools must teach that the bible is wrong when it says gays are an abomination”—such a statute would be obviously unconstitutional), but religious people moving around in the public sphere have to behave as all citizens do in the marketplace or when dealing with authorities.

Meaning?  Well, flower shops run by a believer in Islam cannot refuse to make flowers for a Jewish customer.  If the Muslim owner of the shop doesn’t like that, he/she should get into a business that doesn’t deal with the public.  Kim Davis, a country clerk in Kentucky, has to issue marriage licenses to everyone—it’s her job—and can’t use her personal beliefs to decide she’ll not perform that job when a gay couple wants to exercise the power of the state to marry.  If she can’t bring herself to issue the license, she’s self-deciding she's not fit to do her job and must therefore either resign or be fired.  There’s no right to be a public official who can change public laws because of disagreement with the lawmakers who passed them. 

Deeply religious people, very upset by this, are vigorously asserting the contrary.  I read in the news recently about a clerk in a Department of Motor Vehicles office who used religion as the grounds for not issuing a driver’s license to a gay applicant.  If the clerks of the country could legally do that we’d soon have a patchwork of citizen “types”: those whose status offends no one, those who offend some but not most people, those in questionable categories who would never be sure if they could buy a burger, attend a movie, hire a wedding photographer, etc.

Our country cannot operate with degrees of protection for public access.  “Religious Freedom” laws sound like a good idea only because of their title (no one is against religious freedom) but extending them to sanction “pick and choose” compliance with the law either in the marketplace or when seeking government services would mean that the United States is abandoning concepts of citizenship that have been treasured on this continent for centuries.

Summing up is simple: Let’s be very sure we don’t legislate hatred.

Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;

“Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality and Gay Marriage?” June 29, 2014;

North Carolina Forbids LGBT Protection, Romer v. Evans, and the Future, March 31, 2016;


The Pope In America: Women, Sexual Minorities, and Kim Davis, September 28, 2015;


"The Aging Gay Rights Activist," March 24, 2010;

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Blog Hits 500,000 Views!

In the fall of 2009 I went from clearly dying of heart disease (atrial fibrillation) to near perfect health.  The reason for this dramatic shift was the heart transplant I received on Monday, November 23, 2009, just days before Thanksgiving, an event I’ve written much about (see “Related Posts” below).

It is a startling change to go from planning one’s death to planning one’s life, and as part of that process I hit on the idea of starting a blog.  My joke at the time was that that beginning a blog is “required by law whenever one experiences a life-altering event.”  Since I’m a lawyer some people thought I was serious.

My blog’s first pitiful post was dated Thursday, December 17th of that year and was quite short.  It did, however, contain this pithy comment: “The whole experience has been like science fiction.”

From the very beginning I was determined not to make my blog posts full of idle chitchat about my day or the meals I ate, etc.  Instead they quickly evolved into mini-essays on many topics, reflecting not only the incidents and interests of my life (some funny and others terrifying), but my philosophies, views on politics or sports, or, since I’ve been a teacher all my adult life, instructions on everything from how to write a “payment in full check” to “how to play craps Las Vegas style.”  My years as a gay activist fueled many posts on that topic and on how people should deal with homosexuals, and my more recent activities in the atheist community plus the writing of my atheist thriller (“Imaginary Friend”) led to lectures on religion and nonreligion.  Finally, my retirement years have allowed me to go back to the theater, and since 2004, when I left full-time teaching at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, I’ve been in over 20 shows, either acting or directing.  The photo below was taken just recently outside Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City, a suburb of Columbus, where I'm appearing with my husband, David Vargo, in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”  As usual, he steals the show when the plot forces his character, a slave named Hysterium into drag, and my character, Senex, a dirty old man, chases him around the stage.

I was very pleased that my blog, though starting small, picked up a following, and through the years I’ve written posts celebrating various anniversaries and explaining which posts are the most popular (sexual ones usually, and the ones helping people out of legal difficulties) and determining who appears to constitute my readership.  The blog has been visited by people living in 202 countries, a fact that floors me.  Through both comments appended to the various posts and emails, I’ve been able to correspond with strangers all over the world, an amazing experience showing that in the 21st century we are all living very closely together indeed. 

Many have been pleased that an explanation of legal issues (foreclosure on their home or questions about disputes) has helped them work their way through some legal mess.  The greatest thrill comes from seeing that someone living in small town in America or a country that I only vaguely recognize, has spent considerable time on the blog reading posts having to do with “How To Tell If You Are Gay,” “How Many Gays Are There In the World,” “How To Come Out,” and “How To Deal With Homophobia.”  I picture some young gay or lesbian teen, terrified but determined, trying to find guidance in a situation that may well be very dangerous.  One reader wrote me that his father had announced he would kill him if he found out his son was gay, and asked me what I’d do in his shoes.  He had less than a year left to live at home, and I advised him to be very careful not to let his father learn the truth until he was safely away, and—in any event—to have an escape plan already mapped out if trouble arose suddenly.

[Note misspelling of "faggot"]

Brunei Darussalem
Just as April of this year ended and May began this blog reached a new record: 500,000 pageviews.   A “pageview” occurs when a visitor to the blog first logs on and sees a screen that contains a “page,” which can be scanned down to reveal between three and four blog posts; if the visitor moves on to another “page” another “pageview” occurs.  Most visitors read just one post (hence one “pageview”), but many do delve deeper into the blog and some become heavy readers.  I can’t tell who is reading the blog, but I can tell if the same IP address returns again and again, and when that reader switches from page to page.  On rare occasions a reader, either from admiration or intense disgust, has visited every page of the blog—this has been the case not only with visitors from the various United States, but also ones from the U.K., Tunisia, Australia, Korea, and Brunei Darussalam (a country on the island of Borneo), among others.

In the beginning I was able to track the number of visitors to my blog, but when the number exceeded 50,000 it became too expense to check on this, and I am limited to statistics for the last 50,000 visitors.  However, from various sources it is possible to say with some certainty that the number of visitors is roughly half the number of pageviews, so that would make it a quarter of a million people to date.

Many thanks to all of you who have visited my blog.  It has been very rewarding to write these posts, and I hope they have been worth reading.  What a true pleasure for me at the end of every evening to open up my blog and to realize that it’s been read that very day all over the world!  To track the readers on the day you’re looking at this post, click on “View My Stats” near the top left of each page (just under “StatCounter”), and then wait until a new page loads.  It will display some statistics from the day; from the column on left click on “Recent Visitor Activity.”  That will lead to a complete breakdown of all the visitors to the blog for the past week and more.

[Click to Enlarge]

Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;

"About That Heart Transplant," January 24, 2010;

"The Purring Heart," November 23, 2010;

"Today My Blog Had Its 300,000th Hit, For Which I Am So Grateful," October 31, 2014;

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Favorite Silly Poems and Rhymes

Introducing Clayton to Spiderman 

When my son Clayton was a little boy I taught him some of the silly verses that have stayed with me all my life, and that still amuse me at odd moments.  Here’s one:

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Gee, I wish he’d go away!

And here’s another with a very clever rhyme at the end:

Shake and shake the ketchup bottle
First none’ll come and then
A lot’ll

So, instead of a heavy tome on politics or social issues, I thought I’d devote a blog post to giving you some of my favorite items along these same lines. 

I trust you know this riddle and its famous solution:

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?

Before you get all tangled in an algorithm trying to do the multiple multiplications, be warned that the question has a trick, and therefore results in a simple answer.  See if you can solve it, and if not just google for the solution.

Some of these brainworms have a vulgar side.  This one I saw scribbled on the wall of a toilet stall, and it fixed itself forever in my brain:

I was done before I started
I came to shit but only farted

Another favorite poem:

The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham and bacon,
Let others say his heart is big--
I call it stupid of the pig.

Ogden Nash

Ogden also had this advice on how to make your party a success:

Mark Twain concocted one of the greatest brainworms of all time.  He originally called it “A Literary Nightmare,” but these days it’s much better known by the jingle that causes all the trouble in the very short story: “Punch, Brothers, Punch.”  You can have it read to you in thirteen funny minutes at, but be warned that the rhyme in the story will cause you problems for days.

Since I was eleven years old I’ve been a major fan of the works of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, who created classic comic operettas in Victorian England [for my blog post on point see “A Fanatic’s Tale (This Isn’t Pretty)”;].  Gilbert, who wrote the words for Sullivan’s music, began his career writing silly poems, and I’ll close this post with the most famous of these.  I was at a play last year when I was pleased to see one of the characters, a fisherman, enter singing the same song appearing in the poem.

The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell'

by W.S. Gilbert

'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,
That I found alone on a piece of stone
An elderly naval man.

His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he,
And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
Till I really felt afraid,
For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,
And so I simply said:

"O, elderly man, it's little I know
Of the duties of men of the sea,
But I'll eat my hand if I understand
How you can possibly be

"At once a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

Then he gave a hitch to his trousers, which
Is a trick all seamen larn,
And having got rid of a thumping quid,
He spun this painful yarn:

"'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell
That we sailed to the Indian sea,
And there on a reef we come to grief,
Which has often occurred to me.

"And pretty nigh all o' the crew was drowned
(There was seventy-seven o' soul),
And only ten of the Nancy's men
Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll.

"There was me and the cook and the captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig
And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.

"For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,
Till a-hungry we did feel,
So we drawed a lot, and accordin' shot
The captain for our meal.

"The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,
And a delicate dish he made;
Then our appetite with the midshipmite
We seven survivors stayed.

"And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
And he much resembled pig,
Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,
On the crew of the captain's gig.

"Then only the cook and me was left,
And the delicate question, 'Which
Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose
And we argued it out as sich.

"For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,
And the cook he worshipped me;
But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed
In the other chap's hold, you see.

"'I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom,
'Yes, that,' says I, 'you'll be,' --
'I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I,
And 'Exactly so,' quoth he.

"Says he, 'Dear James, to murder me
Were a foolish thing to do,
For don't you see that you can't cook me,
While I can -- and will -- cook you!'

"So he boils the water, and takes the salt
And the pepper in portions true
(Which he never forgot) and some chopped shalot,
And some sage and parsley too.

"'Come here,' says he, with a proper pride,
Which his smiling features tell,
' 'Twill soothing be if I let you see,
How extremely nice you'll smell.'

"And he stirred it round and round and round,
And he sniffed at the foaming froth;
When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals
In the scum of the boiling broth.

"And I eat that cook in a week or less,
And -- as I eating be
The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,
For a wessel in sight I see!

"And I never grin, and I never smile,
And I never larf nor play,
But I sit and croak, and a single joke
I have -- which is to say:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig!"

The Young William S. Gilbert
Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;
“A Fanatic’s Tale (This Isn’t Pretty),” April 11, 2010;]. 
 “The Best of My Library,” August 27, 2010; 
 “Doug’s Favorite Jokes,” November 13, 2010;
“Five Movies I Watch Again and Again,” March 20, 2011;

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Singing and Dancing in Sondheim’s Roman Farce with My Husband (Again)

As explained before on this blog, in 1961 I joined the Navy just out of high school and spent a year aboard ship [see “Douglas Whaley, Deckhand,”], before being transferred to the island of Bermuda (!) for my final year of active duty  [see “My Year in Bermuda,” February 9, 2010,].  I’ve always been interested in Broadway musicals, and while in Bermuda I first heard the score of the original cast album of the new show “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (hereafter “FTH”—typing that all out over and over is a chore).  This slapstick farce of a musical has a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (first effort at writing both).  It is melodic, very funny, and was a major hit, running for three years on Broadway (and much revived since—in 1996 I saw the wonderful production that starred Nathan Lane as Pseudolus, the conniving slave who manages to trick every other character in the show at some point).

But when I was 19 and listening to the original cast album in Bermuda I decided my favorite song was the amusing (and beautifully rhymed) duet for the Roman patrician Senex and his son, Hero, both of whom are attracted to the same young woman, realize this startling fact, and then contemplate whether it could be true that she returns both of their affections.  The song is called “Impossible” and ends with the father and son, much upset by this, concluding:

The situation’s fraught!
Fraughter than I thought!
With horrible, impossible, possibilities!

I laughed out loud at “fraughter,” and for the first time admired the cleverness of Stephen Sondheim.  I’ve been his fan ever since.

[Senex Thinks He Gets the Girl (Sidney Friend)]

What never occurred to me was that when I was an old man I would be on the stage singing that very song, playing the role of Senex (who also gets to perform the lead part in the show stopper number, “Everybody Ought To Have a Maid”).  [The photos are from rehearsals.]  

["Maid" Song: Glenn Garcia, David Vargo, Christopher Storer, and me]

Not only that, it would have also surprised the young me that with me on that stage would be my very own husband, the extremely talented David Vargo, having a great time as Hysterium, the “Slave In Chief” to Senex!  It’s our second musical together.  Last year we also were in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” 

David and the wonderful Christopher Storer (Pseudolus)

And once again we’re performing with the terrific people at Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City, Ohio (a suburb on the south side of Columbus).  There is a large cast, a wonderful director and musical director, a dedicated crew, and an elaborate set and colorful costumes.  The whole thing is very funny.  Come see FTH and be prepared to laugh steadily for two hours at our antics in ancient Rome!

[A British Production of FTH]

Here is the contact information:

Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;

“Douglas Whaley, Deckhand,” December 22, 2010;

“My Year in Bermuda,” February 9, 2010;

“My Husband, the Actor,” May 31, 2014;

“Douglas Whaley, Actor,” August 14, 2010;