Category Archives: blogging

My novel, Shirts and Skins, Gets a Halloween Makeover

IMG_8870-2 copy

Jeffrey Zombie-ized

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For Remembrance Day: A Blog For My Dad (a UN Peacekeeper)

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the United States.

To commemorate, I am reposting a blog about my dad, a UN Peacekeeper in the Canadian Army.

A few months ago my father gave me a box of his old Kodak Kodachrome slides.

He had sent away to Montreal for the camera while he was a UN Peacekeeper in the Congo back in the early ‘60s.  Among the slides (that included photos of your humble bogger being held up at the maternity window the day he was born, assorted good and bad Christmases through the sixties and seventies, those miserable family vacations etc.) were the photos he took during his time in the Congo.

When I was young my father liked to haul out the slides a couple of time a year (often much to your humble blogger’s chagrin).  And it was when he started clicking the Congo slides through the projector that the rest of my family and I would usually hit bathroom.

I’m afraid we weren’t too interested at the time.

But last year, after I had scanned the old slides (and uploaded them to Facebook to embarrass family members with their ridiculous 1973 fashion choices) I was surfing through CNN and discovered that they were requesting photos from people who had been in Africa during the time of independence.

I have some of those, I thought.

So I uploaded them to CNN and a few days later the CNN London office called me to ask if it would be possible to speak to my father.  My Dad agreed and after his 15 minute phone interview they posted the story their website (I even got a shout out in the piece as well!).

CNN also asked my father if they could do an on-air interview.

Unfortunately he said no.

For twenty years I couldn’t stop him from talking about the Congo… and now he clams up?  It may have been my only way of meeting Anderson Cooper!  And to be honest, I would have like to have had a record of his memories of the Congo as well.

My Dad marching in the Remembrance Day Parade

My Dad marching in the Remembrance Day Parade

Anyway, here is the link to CNN spot on my Dad, and UN Peacekeeper:

My Dad on CNN

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Happy Birthday Alice B. Toklas! Pass the Hashish Brownies

Alice B. Toklas (left) with Gertrude Stein

Today is the birthday of Alice B. Toklas (1877 – 1967).

Toklas was the longtime companion (read lesbian lover) of American writer Gertrude Stein and writer of a cookbook (first published in 1954) that included one famous (nay, notorious) recipe for brownies (or as Alice called it, “hashish fudge”).

I included the recipe below.

But first a little bit about Alice B.  Toklas.

Apparently Toklas met Gertrude Stein in Paris on September 8, 1907 on the first day that she arrived.  Together they hosted a salon at 27, rue de Fleures in the 6th Arrondissement (on the left bank) that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder, and Sherwood Anderson and avant-garde painters, including Picasso, Matisse and Braque.

Your humble blogger made his way to 27, rue de Fleurus recently.  Sadly I was 80 years too late for the salon.

Your humble blogger at 27, rue de Fleurus, Paris.

Acting as Stein’s confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, critic, and general organizer, Toklas remained a background figure, chiefly living in the shadow of Stein, until Stein published her memoirs in 1933 under the teasing title The Autobiography of Alice. B Toklas. It became Stein’s bestselling book. The two were a couple until Gertrude Stein’s death in 1946.

Apparently Stein’s work was incoherent (even more so) before Toklas’ editing.

Alice and Stein are now buried together inin  Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. They also share a tombstone with Gertrude Stein’s name on the front and Alice B. Toklas’ on the back.

Alice B. Toklas grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Now back to that recipe.

(But first allow me to predicate this by reminding you that The Gay Groom does not advocate the use of hashish or any sort of mind altering drug (except caffeine, of course).  And do remember that your humble blogger is also a teetotaler who doesn’t even partake in alcohol.

I submit the recipe only as a historic curiosity.

But there was that time back in the mid 90s in the red light district of Amsterdam that I saw Alice’s recipe on a menu…  however like all my Amsterdam files, they are now closed.)

And now, as your humble blogger promised, here is an excerpt from The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book and the infamous recipe for Alice’s fudge (“which”, Alice noted, “anyone could whip up on a rainy day”):

————————————————————————————————————————–

Alice B. Toklas Hashish Fudge

This is the food of paradise – of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to the ravished by “un évanouissement reveillé”.

Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 whole nutmeg
4 average sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
These should all be pulverized in a mortar.

About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together.

A bunch of Cannabis sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together.

About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.

Obtaining the Cannabis may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as Cannabis sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognized, everywhere in Europe, Asia and part of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope.

In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called Cannabis indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.

————————————————————————————————————————–

So there you have it, dear readers.  And please do remember that Alice stresses the point that “two pieces are quite sufficient”.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II (Remember Me?)

queen-elizabeth-88th-birthday

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth by renowned British photographer David Bailey was unveiled today to mark the monarch’s 88th birthday.

Today is Queen Elizabeth II’s 88th birthday.

Now, I’ve never been much of a monarchist.  I mean your humble blogger had always thought the Queen was a nice lady and all, but as Christopher Hitchens (quoting Thomas Paine) wrote in his latest Slate piece:

A hereditary monarch is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician.

But one July a few years ago the Queen flew once again across the pond to The Dominion of Canada (as she does every decade or so) for a few days.  On her trip (which would coincide with the national holiday, Canada Day),  she was scheduled to stay a few days in Toronto and on July 6, 2010, which was her last day in Toronto (before she packed up her purses and hats and the jetted off to Washington DC for a short visit), she did her final walk-about at the Ontario Legislature, (the fittingly named) Queen’s Park.

The video I took of your humble blogger meeting the queen:

And since Liz was (even at that time) a rather ancient 84 years old (and since Queen’s Park is just down the road from my home), I thought that this could possibly be the very last time that I would have the opportunity to see royalty (and who the hell would want to see ‘King’ Charles and his fiend-like queen on their first trip to Canada after Queen Elizabeth heads off to that big fox hunt in the sky).

But even thought your humble blogger thinks the royals are mostly a bunch of inbred morons, he put on his Husband’s Queen’s Law t-shirt (to make Her Majesty feel at home) and headed over to Queen’s Park about an hour before she was scheduled to show up.

By the way, we name a lot of things “Queen’s —–” up here in Canada.

Queen’s Park had been sectioned off when I arrived.  The closest section of lawn was already filled with people and closed off, so I parked myself on the second driveway behind a security fence.  I really didn’t think that the Queen would walk all the over to me (she was 84 years old), but I did think that if I was able to get a photo (with my zoom lens) of her from across the lawn, at least I would be able to say I saw her (and upload it on Facebook).

Finally she emerged from the Legislative building and walked down the first driveway as I expected… but then she turned the corner and approached me…

These are my photos:

I have to say my photos turned out pretty good!

You can see more photos here: Photos: When the Queen met Jeffrey

And the Queen looked lovely in her light green and pink dress (I would be a tad perturbed later when I would see her wearing her ‘Canada dress’ again when meeting some potentate in Africa in the fall).

A couple of these photos I captured from a video that someone standing behind me took (the blurry ones).  In those photo you can see your humble blogger in a gray t-shirt with his hand up in the air holding my camera.

A woman standing beside me had put up a sign on the fence that read “I’m Autumn’s cousin” (Autumn Patricia Phillips (née Kelly; born 3 May 1978) is the Canadian wife of Peter Phillips, the son of the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne).  That is why the Queen came over to chat.

As well, you can actually see me taking this video and meeting the Queen in another YouTube video taken by a guy behind me.   Again, I’m the chap in the grey t-shirt with his arm up trying to get a good shot until the Queen strolls by.

You can see me and the Queen (taken from behind) here:  YouTube Video: When the Queen met Jeffrey II.

So a happy 88th birthday to Queen Elizabeth II.   May you have many many more (if only to piss off Charles and his fiend-like queen).

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Conception Day

Today is my conception day.

That is the day I was conceived – or the day spermatozoa met ovum and mixed genetically to create the blueprint for your’s truly.   And nine months later (plus a couple of weeks for good measure) your humble blogger was born.  And you know what they say: you can’t make an homelette without breaking an egg  (that’s a bad French pun).

Is it peculiar for one to know their conception day?

The year was 1967 and the world was about to embark on the “Summer of Love”.  Scott McKenzie was telling people to head to San Francisco with flowers in their hair.  But back in my industrial hometown (called ‘Steeltown’ by the locals) I don’t think many folks were wearing flowers.

April 15, 1967 was, of course, a Saturday night and although it would have been exciting to have been conceived in the back of a ’59 Chevy or under a blanket at a Jefferson Airplane concert (my father actually saw Jefferson Airplane once),  I was – simply – conceived in my parents marital bed.  And when I say ‘marital’ I mean in the apartment they were shacked up in at the time.

My parents were not married until 1972 when I was four.  That would make your humble blogger a…

I never really minded being called a ‘bastard’.

This seems like a good spot to quote Edmund’s bastard soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s  King Lear:

…Why brand they us
With base with baseness? bastardy? base base
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word,–legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!     (Act I, Scene II)

But what does my legitimacy/illegitimacy matter now?  After all, my parents are still together after almost 40 years of legal marriage.  And The Gay Groom can’t get too self-righteous since I lived in sin with the Husband for nine years before we got around to getting married.  But then again, marriage between the Husband and I didn’t become legal until a number of years into our relationship.

But I digress.

I wonder if a blog can get anymore self absorbed than to discuss one’s own day of conception?   After all, I wasn’t really there.  And since I am a staunchly pro-choice, I don’t view a fertilized egg as anything other than a fertilized egg.  So why bring it up?

Ironically, in addition to being the fateful day that sperm crashed into egg, it is also the fateful day that the Titanic crashed into the iceberg (April 15, 1912).

Titantic Disaster, April 15, 1912

That’s right, 102 years ago today the the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two and a half hours after hitting the iceberg.

1,517 people were killed.

By the way, how many of you knew that your humble blogger once had a affair with someone who was in the film Titanic.  That’s actually a true story.

But only a bastard would kiss and tell.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Kiss Me, I’m 37.5% Irish!!

Your humble blogger is 3/8 Irish.

Finding out that I was Irish (even 37.5% Irish) actually came as quite a surprise to me.  It wasn’t until I was well in my 30s that we learned of my Irish background.  It was after my family (being the nosy bunch they are) had sent away for the military records of my maternal grandfather who (as it turns out) was from Dublin, Ireland.

Now it wasn’t that my grandfather was secretive of his county of origin, instead he was a chronic alcoholic who ran off when my mother was only five years old.  So we knew very little about him.  That was until his military records shone some light on the bum.    In fact, what we learned from the military records of both my maternal and paternal grandparents are worth a blog or two themselves.

But I digress.

Learning that I was Irish was actually rather exciting to me.  Being a writer, I felt a greater kinship with all those great Irish writers:  James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift (and the poets) William Butler Yeats and Seamus Heaney.  Suddenly I understood the Circe episode in Joyce’s Ulysses (well, maybe 3/8 of it).

But looking back, I really should have known I was Irish all along.  After all, green is my favourite colour.  And I always liked potatoes, George Clooney and Irish whiskey… and I loved those old Shamrock Shakes they used to have at McDonalds.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

However, it turned out that my paternal Irish grandfather was also a member of The Church of England (protestant), or so his enlistment form for the WWII stated.  So the question arises:  Does an atheist like myself who was descended from a protestant Irishman celebrate the Catholic St. Patrick’s Day?

Sure he does!

In fact, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day before I even knew I was Irish.  This may surprise you but before your humble blogger gave up the juice about a decade ago, he drank more green beer than he’d really like mention.

Let’s just say it was more than a couple of pitchers in my day.

Though Guinness always tasted to me like a beer that someone had stuck a cigarette butt in.  Not my thing.  But as I said, I’m only 3/8 Irish.  Perhaps it takes a bit more to appreciate the stuff.

I’m digressing again.

And then The Gay Groom married the Husband who (incidentally) is named Sean Patrick.

And when you are married to someone named Sean Patrick, celebrating St. Patrick’s day is kind of a given.  It is now an annual event to watch to the  parade wind down Yonge Street in Toronto the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day to see the Husband’s ‘clan’ go march by.

I don’t have a clan.

And did you know that (like Santa Claus in a Christmas parade) it is Saint Patrick himself that ends the St. Patrick’s Day parade?  I thought the Husband was joking when he told me that.   They find some poor old guy to dress up in green like an Irish pope to close the parade.  But Saint Patrick isn’t what you’d call jolly like Old Saint Nick.

In fact, he’s sort of creepy.

Maybe it’s his dress.  Or those little white gloves my mother wore in 1962.  Or perhaps it’s the enormous cross on his chest (never a good sign).   It rather looked like Saint Patrick just wanted the parade over with so he could get off his throne and go for a green beer himself.

St. Patrick bringing up the rear in Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 13, 2011

So whether you are Irish or not (0r some fraction like your humble blogger), have yourself a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  And remember: if you start peeing green, you’ve had enough green beer.

Erin go Bragh!!!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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My Dad the former UN Peacekeeper: his CNN Interview

A few months ago my father gave me a box of his old Kodak Kodachrome slides.

He had sent away to Montreal for the camera while he was a UN Peacekeeper in the Congo back in the early ‘60s.  Among the slides (that included photos of your humble bogger being held up at the maternity window the day he was born, assorted good and bad Christmases through the sixties and seventies, those miserable family vacations etc.) were the photos he took during his time in the Congo.

When I was young my father liked to haul out the slides a couple of time a year (often much to your humble blogger’s chagrin).  And it was when he started clicking the Congo slides through the projector that the rest of my family and I would usually hit bathroom.

I’m afraid we weren’t too interested at the time.

But last year, after I had scanned the old slides (and uploaded them to Facebook to embarrass family members with their ridiculous 1973 fashion choices) I was surfing through CNN and discovered that they were requesting photos from people who had been in Africa during the time of independence.

I have some of those, I thought.

So I uploaded them to CNN and a few days later the CNN London office called me to ask if it would be possible to speak to my father.  My Dad agreed and after his 15 minute phone interview they posted the story their website (I even got a shout out in the piece as well!).

CNN also asked my father if they could do an on-air interview.

Unfortunately he said no.

For twenty years I couldn’t stop him from talking about the Congo… and now he clams up?  It may have been my only way of meeting Anderson Cooper!  And to be honest, I would have like to have had a record of his memories of the Congo as well.

Anyway, here is the link to CNN spot on my Dad, and UN Peacekeeper:  My Dad on CNN

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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A Reunion With the First Guy I Ever… Well… You Know

Just heard from an old friend today so I thought I’d re-post a blog I wrote last year…

On Saturday night the Husband and I had dinner with the first guy I ever… how shall I put this?

I suppose “first guy I ever made love with” fits the bill.

I had not actually seen this person – I will call him ‘Jeremiah’ (though I have no idea why I’m calling him Jeremiah) since the ’90s.  Though we have – on occasion – sent each other emails keeping one another up to date on each other’s relationships, jobs, travels, movements etc.

I’m best at email relationships with exes.

Now your humble blogger has never been one of those gay men that make BFFs of his old boyfriends. When a relationship is over, I wish them well – truly from the bottom of my heart – and go on my way. A friendly email exchanged from time to time over the years always seems sufficient to me. Come to think of it, email always seemed sufficient to the exes as well.

And when I saw Jeremiah and his partner walk into the Toronto restaurant I was immediately hit with a warm wave of nostalgia. I had to smile.

I would have known him anywhere.

And though there may be a few more pounds (on my side) and a little less hair (on his), he still had the same sweet and mischievous smile that lead me to bed the first time all those years ago.

I went to shake his hand but instead he hugged me. He still wore the same cologne. He was charming and witty and handsome as ever. Also charming was his partner of twelve years, “Samuel”.  I think Jeremiah and Samuel complimented each other beautifully.

The Husband enjoyed the evening as well.

And how nice it was. I thought, that there was someone else who remembered those same old foggy memories of mine. Memories that I had – over the years – began to question.  Funny how you sometimes need another person to validate those old memories.

Yes, he remembered it all too.

And dinner lingered to almost four hours.  We discussed the years in-between: Jeremiah’s work, my book, politics, travels… and that night in the ’90s when one of us walked away and left the other one standing alone.

When dinner was over (punctuated by the looks of irritated wait staff), we hugged again and I headed home with the Husband, thinking how well everything turned out in the end… and remembering my time with Jeremiah and our first time together a little more sweetly.

I’m glad he was my first.

And I’m so very glad the Husband is my last.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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In Search of Proust

Marcel Proust

Today is Marcel Proust’s birthday.

Regular readers will remember your humble blogger’s (mild to medium) obsession with the French writer of one of the longest novels ever written (in fact, those who have  Shirts and Skins may have notice that I payed homage to Proust (specifically the narrator meeting Robert de Saint-Loup in the barracks at Doncières in Guermantes Way) in my own novel.   However such an obsession makes complete sense to me.

Proust changed my life.

That’s not hyperbole.  In my senior year of undergrad at the University of Toronto, I majored in Literary Studies (this was in addition to my specialist in English and my minor in Political Science).  And my fourth year seminar class in Literary Studies was a full-year class where we read all seven volumes of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).

Why?

À la recherche du temps perdu is a cathedral.   In his great novel Proust raises the dead. For Proust, the act of writing becomes a memorial that redeems losses and makes them bearable.

It’s sublime!

Begun in 1909, À la recherche du temps perdu consists of seven volumes totaling around 3,200 pages (about 4,300 in The Modern Library’s translation) and featuring more than 2,000 characters.  Author, Graham Greene called Proust the “greatest novelist of the 20th century”, and W. Somerset Maugham described the novel as the “greatest fiction to date”.

Quite an accomplishment considering that it had been turned down by numerous publishers in Paris resulting in Proust having to pay to have the first volume published himself!

(Actually, I should mention that my experience of Proust is limited to the translation (the Modern Library) I used, though I have read portions of the novel in the original French).

Who was Proust?

Proust was born July 10, 1871 after the Franco-Prussian war during the violence of the Paris Commune.  His father was a doctor searching for the causes of cholera and his mother was the daughter of a prominent Jewish family.  Often you will hear people refer to Proust as “half-Jewish” – I’ve always thought this was a stupid thing to say – since there is no such thing as being “half-Jewish”.

And like me, Proust was asthmatic (air and breathing being one of the motifs in the novel).

Also like me, Proust was gay (or an ‘invert’ as he called it).   He was one of the first European novelists to mention homosexuality openly and at length in the parts of À la recherche du temps perdu (most explicitly – and wonderfully – in volume four, Sodome et Gomorrhe, which deal with (one of the most interesting characters in all literature) the Baron de Charlus.

Since university, I’ve taken a number of trips to Paris. And each time I’ve made the pilgrimage to a number of Proust Places in Paris.

Of course I drag the husband to all these places as well.

One place I always head to is Proust’s home 102 Boulevard Haussmann.  Proust lived here from 1907-1919 and wrote most of À la recherche du temps perdu here.  No trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to Haussmann.

Jeffrey outside 102 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris

Proust’s home at 102 Boulevard Haussmann

Proust wrote in bed and, to minimize outside noise, he had the bedroom walls covered in cork. The bedroom where he worked from 1906 to 1919 at 102 Blvd Haussmann is now on view at the Musée Carnavalet.  The furnishings are all Proust’s.

And they don’t like it when you touch stuff.

Proust’s Bedroom with a portrait of Proust’s father, Achille Adrien Proust

Proust’s bedroom

Jeffrey in Proust’s bedroom

I made the walk to Musée d’Orsay to see Jacques-Emile Blanche’s famous portrait of Marcel Proust.  Though it’s never a hardship to go to the Musée d’Orsay.

And since all the American’s are gathered around Whistler’s Mama (ugh!) , I can spend a little time alone with Marcel.

Jacques-Emile Blanche’s Portrait of Marcel Proust Musée d’Orsay

Marcel Proust et moi Jacques-Emile Blanche’s Portrait of Marcel Proust Musée d’Orsay

It was at 44, rue de l’Amiral Hamelin where Marcel Proust actually died of pneumonia in 1922. Today the building is the Hotel Elysee Union.

A plaque over the door commemorates the site.

44, rue de l’Amiral Hamelin where Marcel Proust died in 1922

Finally I went to see Marcel Proust’s grave in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery is Paris.  I took some violets with me (read the book) and left them on Proust’s grave.

It was very moving for me.

Marcel Proust’s grave. Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

Marcel Proust’s grave. Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

Jeffrey at Marcel Proust’s grave. Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

The next time I go to Paris I will make the trip to Illiers-Combray (the town based on Proust’s childhood home, Combray in the novel) to sample the petite madeleines and tea.  Of course I’ll drag the husband there as well.

Happy birthday, Marcel!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Happy Bloomsday!

James Joyce’s Ulysses

What is Bloomsday?

Let’s call it a literary Holy Day.

Well it is certainly is to me – and thousands of others.  It’s also one of my favourite days of the year.  Right up there with Xmas, Halloween and tax rebate day.

For those that do not know, Bloomsday is the the annual celebration of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The book details an epic day in the life of Leopold Bloom, in the 24-hour span of June 16, 1904.

June 16, 1904 was also the day that Joyce met his lover, companion and eventually (they married in 1931), his wife, Nora Barnacle.

Ulysses is my favourite book.

How much do I love Ulysses?  If I had a bible, this would be it.   I even tried to find a passage to read at my wedding but couldn’t find anything appropriate.  I really shouldn’t have been surprised by that, actually.

Ulysses changed my life.

So your humble blogger celebrates Bloomsday annually. That is I REALLY celebrate Bloomsday.  I get up early for a morning celebration on the Toronto beaches,  I go to readings at libraries, attend musical celebrations and ‘hooleys’.  I even dress up like James Joyce circa 1904.

Don’t believe me?

Jeffrey (dressed like a 1904 Irish writer) holding tight to Ulysses on Bloomsday

And I’m not even embarrassed!

So once again, this year to celebrate Bloomsday (besides the usual events) I’m tweeting the timeline and summary for the book chapters, starting at 8am and ending early tomorrow morning (when the book ends).

Most folks on Twitter will have no idea what I was talking about… but what the hell.  I do it every year and it’s fun.

And here are my Bloomsday Facebook status updates.

You can also use them to pretend that you actually read Ulysses if by chance you are ever asked.  Though your Humble Blogger is still waiting for someone to ask him…

8:00am    Stephen Dedalus is at Martello tower. Leopold Bloom is in his house at 7 Eccles Street, Dublin. It’s breakfast time.

9:45am     Stephen giving a history lesson in the classroom, Summerfield, Dalkey Ave. (“History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”) while Mr. Bloom walks soberly through Dublin (post office, chemist, church and the public baths).

11:00am  The ineluctable modality of the visible.  Stephen strolling on Sandymount Strand and the beach.  Bloom at Paddy Dignam’s house on Newbridge Ave, Sandymount and then en route to Glasnevin Cemetary for Dingnam’s funeral.

12:00 noon  Bloom enters Freeman’s Journal (newspaper) office on, Prince’s Street to work on his newest advertising assignment.  Stephen arrives and tells ‘Parable of the Plums’.

1:00pm     On his way to the National Library, Bloom visits Graham Lemon’s sweetshop, on O’Connell Street, Burton’s Restaruant (but disgusted by the clientele he leaves) and finally Davy Byrne’s pub on Duke Street.    Bloom has a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy for lunch.

2:00pm    The National Library, Kildare Street. Stephen discusses his theories of Shakespeare. Bloom enters (after having been at National Gallery across the street) and walks past Stephen.  They will not formally ‘meet’ until after 10:00pm.

Between 2:30 and 4:00pm 19 short vignettes depict the adventures of various characters, major and minor, through the streets of Dublin.

4:00pm    Bloom enters the Ormond Hotel on Ormond Quay.  Seated in the restaurant, he can only hear what is going on in the bar.  Blazes Boylan enters and discusses his meeting at 4:00pm with Bloom’s wife, Molly. This (Sirens) is my favourite chapter.

5:00pm    While his wife is having an illicit meeting with Blazes Boylan in his home at 7 Eccles Street, Bloom enters Barney Kiernan’s Pub on Little Britain Street and meets a rabid Irish Nationalist called ‘the Citizen’.

8:00pm    Walking along Sandymount Strand, Blooms sees some young people on the sand.  One in the group, Gerty MacDowell sees Bloom (still dressed in black from Dignam’s funeral) and noticing him aroused, displays her garters as Bloom…   The chapter ends with the clock striking nine.

10:00pm  Bloom walks to Street Maternity Hospital to see Mina Purefoy (who has been in labour for 3 days) and finds Stephen Dedalus drinking absinth with other rowdy men.  Worried about Stephen’s safety, after he leaves the hospital Bloom follows Stephen to ‘Baudyville’.

11:15pm     Bloom hallucinates as he walks through Nighttown, the red-light district of Dublin, to Bella Cohen’s brothel.  After leaving the brothel, a drunken Stephen, deserted by his friends, is assaulted by an English soldier on Tyrone Street.  Bloom comes to his Stephen’s aid and directs him toward shelter.

12:40am    Bloom takes Stephen to The Cabman’s Shelter, a coffeehouse, at Butt Bridge.  Bloom attempts to play the role of intellectual but Stephen, finally sobering up, does not seem particularity interested.  Both seem to have been irrevocably changed after their wanderings on June 16.

2:00am      Bloom returns to 7 Eccles Street (kitchen) with Stephen.   They have a cup of cocoa and converse before Stephen declines Bloom’s offer to stay the night.  He leaves but does not know where to go since he was locked out of Martello and won’t return to his father’s house.   Bloom looks at the stars and contemplates his future before entering his house.

3:00 or 4:00am     Bloom climbs into bed with Molly at 7 Eccles Street (bed) and kisses her ‘rump’.  Half asleep, Molly’s thoughts move between the distant and recent past, thinking of her childhood, her husband, her affair with Boylan, her children and her marriage.  Joyce gives the the last words of Ulysses to Molly Bloom:  “yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Yes, read Ulysses.

And happy Bloomsday!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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