My Name Is Peter

Some Thoughts on Some Things

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2009

Today is Christmas!  Regardless of our personal beliefs, most of us are spending the day with family and / or friends and enjoying life and remembering to be grateful for all of our blessings.  I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!

This morning, I had the TODAY show on briefly and happened to catch the tail end of this piece about a free health clinic in a place called Phoenixville, PA.  Maybe it was the holiday, maybe it was because it was relatively early in the morning, or it could just be that I am emotional and have been known to cry during certain episodes of Sex and the City, but I was moved to tears.  I actually went online, found their website, and donated to them this morning.  I hope you will be moved to do the same.  Click here to see what they are all about.

And please take a look at the video:

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Happy Holidays and much love,

Last Sunday, my Dad was headed into New York to meet me at a function at NYU.  On his way, he sent me a text message that read, “Do you have an extra handkerchief?  I left mine at home in the rush to make the train.”

Now, before I continue, here’s a little background. My Dad, while actually very modern (he has an iPhone 3G-S), is still of another era. An era where scalloped potatoes made with mostly butter, heavy cream, oh and a few potatoes, along with a barely seared T-Bone steak, was considered a heart healthy meal fit for a champion.  And an era where men wore suits all day and carried handkerchiefs instead of pocket Kleenex and Purell.

Believe it or not, when we eat in a restaurant, he is still able to call a young waitress over to our table and say something like, “Can I just tell you one thing?”  She’ll nod and lean in.  “You.  Have GREAT. Eyes.” And instead of a look of disgust, he gets a smile, a genuine blush, profuse thanks, and outstanding service.

Side Note: This has yet to work for me with either men or women.

But I digress.  Anyway, without thinking, I naively texted back, “Sure! I will get you one.”  And so, I left my breakfast meeting and headed off to find my Dad a handkerchief in New York.  On the way out the door, I asked a friend where I might find one in the area.  I got a blank look and an “I don’t know” shrug.

Suddenly, I realized that I hadn’t the foggiest idea where to find one, either.  I thought back to being five, when I wanted to be just like my Dad.  I remembered my Mom giving me a lovely box of three Christian Dior handkerchiefs in different colors for Christmas that year.

Back on 15th Street, I wasn’t anywhere near Christian Dior, but I was a block away from Paul Smith.  Surely, I thought, Paul Smith would have them.  I walked in and asked for handkerchiefs.  The sales gay directed me to the back room, where amidst the scarves and the leather gloves, there sat a few beautiful, delicately folded, brightly colored, polka-dotted handkerchiefs.  For $45.  Each.

I picked one up.  It was translucent silk.  I thought, “My Dad will actually sneeze into this.  I can’t.”

I proceeded onto Banana Republic.  J-Crew.  Kenneth Cole.  Agnes B. All the same story.  Silk “pocket squares” priced between $40 and $105 each.  No cotton / linen machine washable, please-sneeze-into-me, old-fashioned handkerchiefs.  Anywhere.  Someone finally suggested Brooks Brothers, but I was out of time and couldn’t make the trek uptown.

Finally, I remembered this sort of Men’s Warehouse-type store on the Northeast corner of Union Square.  I ran over there, desperate.  I walked in, terrified.  I felt like I was in that scene in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion where Lisa Kudrow tries to get a job at that bargain basement store and finally, pathetically says, “I need to get out of here.  Now.”

They even had a sign with an arrow pointing downstairs that read, “20 Steps to a GREAT suit!”  I’m not sure if they meant 20 steps as in the number of physical steps on the staircase or 20 steps as in the number of steps in the process of fitting the suit.  Either way, for me, I have narrowed it down to one simple step to a great suit.  Prada.

But once again, I digress.  I walked up to the woman behind the counter and asked her if she had handkerchiefs.  With a warm smile, she reached behind the counter and retrieved a rather large package containing not one, but 13 handkerchiefs.  The kind you sneeze into.  For $20.  SCORE!  I paid her, thanked her profusely, and ran off to meet my Dad.

As an addendum, once I arrived at NYU and handed my Dad the handkerchiefs, I noticed a Purell dispenser by the elevator.  “Dad,” I asked, “Did you Purell today?”

What Is Going On with the Media?

December 11th, 2009

old-fashioned-television-Over the past few weeks, I started to pay attention once again to the news.  I stopped listening to and watching news broadcasts for a while because all they would do is make me upset and angry about issues over which I had no control and for which no reasonable solutions were offered.  For the most part, all I heard were just more reasons to live our lives in fear and anger.

But now, I feel compelled to point out some things I have noticed recently.

Rachel Maddow 08.widec

First, Rachel Maddow is amazing.   Hers is one of the only news broadcasts that actually disseminates real, legitimate news in a reasonable way.  No grandstanding, no screaming at the camera, no accusing the Obama administration, without factual basis, of being both Marxist and fascist at the same time.  Rachel still considers both sides of an issue and allows for intelligent discussion of that issue among intelligent, well-informed parties.

Second.  Tiger Woods.  Here’s a question.  Who cares!?  And if you care, why do you care?  Whatever is going on in his personal life is a private issue between him, his wife, and the long line of other women who see fit to confront him with lewd text messages they have saved for years. woods Tiger plays golf for a living.  His life and career, while nice and I am sure productive on some level, do not truly affect most of us at all.  Unless, of course, your last name is Woods.  Or Nike.  So why on earth are we still talking about this man’s personal life?  It’s the same story over and over again, different day.

Third.  Adam Lambert.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  The people who were and apparently still ARE upset by him and his American Music Awards performance need to a) realize that they are plain old homophobic, and then b) get a life.  This is another story that won’t die, and it makes no sense to me.  I personally don’t find him that spectacular or even that innovative.  He didn’t WIN American Idol.  And the sad truth is he has done nothing new.  Even this picture of him on the AMA’s grinding that male dancer’s face in his crotch is nothing new. Adam Lambert

Madonna, Prince, hell even Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul were doing things that I found far more shocking and thought-provoking 20 years ago.  The difference was that their performances did not involve simulated sex between two men.   Two women are fine, though, I guess.

Look at this.  Below is an image of Madonna from 1990 with her dancer’s head up her dress.  Yes, folks. 1990.  And this performance was not only celebrated when it first aired, but it then went into heavy rotation on MTV … during the daytime.

Madonna Vogue MTV

And here are some images from Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted” music video from way back in 1989.  Yes, the same Paula Abdul who used to be a judge on American Idol.  Here she is with a male dancer lying between her legs.

Paula 1

Here’s a shot of two dancers from Paula’s video, which she choreographed, by the way…

Paula 4

And, just in in case you haven’t had a chance to see the video in its entirety, here is one more shot of Paula doing what appears to be cobra pose with a male dancer.  It’s actually a pretty great video.  But as usual, I digress.

Paula 2

Back in 1989, “Cold Hearted” was number 1 for WEEKS on MTV and was played in heavy rotation during the daytime.  I guess because it was an homage to Bob Fosse, it was considered more artistic and therefore OK for 12 year olds in 1989?  Not sure.

Fourth.  Sarah Palin?  Who is this woman, really?   And why do we keep sticking microphones in her face and letting her tell lies and half truths, frighten people, and generally damage our country with her ridiculous, self-serving, uninformed and polarizing opinions? sarah-palin-book-tour-bus The reality is that she is simply not qualified to be discussing national health care, foreign policy, or the fiscal policies of the United States.  She resigned her post as governor of Alaska ostensibly to go on an extended book tour.  Really?  Aside from her complete lack of experience, do we really want to trust the opinions of a woman who would resign her post as governor to go on a book tour on a bus?  Check out this article from Depak Chopra. It is enlightening.

Look, the United States is fighting not one, but three wars now, simultaneously.  The young men and women of our armed forces continue to give their limbs and their lives for us everyday, with little or no fanfare.  Our system of health care is a mess.  Lobbyists are out of control.  The economy, while getting better, is still precarious.  Gay men and women are fighting for simple equal rights against ignorant, fearful people and the politicians who want to serve that ignorance.  These are the issues we should be working on.  Believe it or not, there are still serious people who can offer serious solutions.  Please, let’s we hear from them!  Enough of the grandstanding, enough of the smokescreens, enough of the religious zealotry that offers us nothing other than fear and heartache.

It is time to get real.