Jeffrey (and Friends) Sing With Patti LuPone (video)

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Jeffrey with Patti during rehearsal.

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Who is that guy in the white hat singing behind Patti LuPone?

It’s your humble blogger!

While on our French Polynesian cruise I had the opportunity to sing in the chorus behind Broadway legend, Patti LuPone.  I believe we were called the More Men Gay-bernacle Choir.

It was quite a thrill…

PS: She asked me to put my hat in the act. 🙂

 

 

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Jeffrey Swimming with Sharks (Lots and Lots of Sharks)

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Jeffrey Getting Too Close to Sharks in Tahiti

Here is your humble blogger snorkeling with sharks and stingrays in Bora Bora. I seem to drift a tad too close to the sharks at the end…

Look for more videos and photos of our Tahitian vacation posted soon.

Shark!

And even more sharks!

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Jeffrey on… Hair and Tahitian Holidays

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Jeffrey chats about cutting his hair and his upcoming trip to Tahiti.

My Tahiti holiday is getting close!

The next vlog will be from either Palm Springs or the Tahitian Islands themselves. I am going to try and do a live Periscope is I can find some wi-fi whist on the islands!

Anyone been to Tahiti?

Tell me about it!

 

 

 

 

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Kiss Me, I’m 37.5% Irish!!

Here is a repost of last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Post (I’m still 3/8 Irish). Enjoy! 

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.

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.

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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A Beautiful Spring Day in Toronto

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Jeffrey enjoying a record-breaking warm spring day in Toronto.

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Jeffrey In Queen’s Park After the Snowstorm

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Queen’s Park

Jeffrey Periscopes in a snowy Queen’s Park and answers question from viewers from around the world.

 

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day From Jeffrey

Your humble blogger had to put down his heart-shaped box of chocolates long enough to write his blog.

Valentine’s Day has gotten a bit of a bum rap lately.  People seemed to have turned on arrowed Cupid faster than Justin Beiber (Bieber? I don’t care, actually).

Yes, I get that Valentine’s Day is a pseudo-holiday made up by the greeting card, flower and chocolate industries.  Yes, I get we are being duped into spending money for trinkets we don’t need to express our feelings of affection.  Yes, I know Saint Valentine was, according to legend, imprisoned, beaten with clubs, stoned and ultimately had his head chopped off.

Not very romantic, I must say.

But that’s far too unpleasant and I like to keep my blogs positive.  So I choose not to dwell on the real and instead pretend to fall for all the sentimental nonsense, if just to get my aforementioned heart-shaped box of chocolates.

And your humble blogger has been blessed with the ability to view almost everything ironically (for example, the use of the word ‘blessed’ above was ironic).

This morning the Husband and I exchanged Valentine’s Day cards.

Luckily, we live in a city where it’s easy to pick up gay greeting cards.  I’m sure if we lived in Wyoming or Idaho (where Walmart is considered a distinguished luxury retailer) it could be a tad more difficult to get a gay-themed greeting card.  Though even then, I suppose with a little planning one could purchase a card on the internet for delivery from the many gay-positive greeting card companies out there.  It should be noted that these are often more expensive than straight themed cards.  I was told this was due to smaller print runs and not because these “gay-owned” or “gay-friendly” companies are just gouging us.… and since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m willing to buy that (more irony).

Many straight men see Valentine’s Day as a day specifically for women (where the man must fork out for flowers, chocolate, cards etc. to women – or else) and I recently have heard of men creating a, dare I say, “tongue-in-cheek” movement to have March 14 (one month after Valentine’s Day) be a declared a day for women giving back to the men.   The proposed name of this day?  Steak and Blowjob Day.

Straight people can be amusing.

So tonight the husband and I will be headed to a restaurant in the gay village in Toronto for an overpriced romantic meal (I’m hoping they have Ontario lamb on the menu… or maybe the duck).  Not that we limit ourselves only to restaurants in the gay village, most of the time we don’t (as most of the food is terrible in the village).  But it was the Husband’s year to choose.

And after dinner, we’ll share a dessert at home.

Where, ironically, we don’t have to wait until March 14.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey on… his birthday

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Jeffrey chats birthdays and getting older on the Interwebs

Jeffrey chats about his birthday today (forty-something!).

And thanks all those who sent birthday well wishes.

Thanks, folks!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Breathless

Inhale.

What do writers Marcel Proust, John Updike, Ann Radcliffe, Edith Wharton, Dylan Thomas, Samuel Johnson, Djuna Barnes, Elizabeth Bishop and your humble blogger all have in common?

We all had sex with Gore Vidal.

No, that’s not true.  Gore Vidal isn’t quite old enough to have had sex with Samuel Johnson.

In fact, we are all afflicted with asthma.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition, in which the airways may unexpectedly and suddenly narrow, often in response to an allergen, cold air, exercise, or emotional stress (in my case all four).  Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

Asthma is rather like knowing that at any moment a boa constrictor could wrap itself around your chest and squeeze.

That’s a good if well-worn (and dare I say homoerotic?) analogy.

An acute asthma attack is terrifying.  An excellent first person account of how horrific an asthma attack can be is found in John Updike’s memoir, Self-Consciousness.   Updike writes:

“An asthma attack feels like two walls drawn closer and closer, until they are pressed together… I thought, This is the last thing I’ll see.  This is death.  The breathless blackness within me was overlaying the visual world.”

An excellent description.

I’ve also tried to write of the horror of the asthma attack.   From my novel, Shirts and Skins:

The first attack happened at night.   It had seized Josh by the throat from out of the darkness, strangling him.  He woke up gasping for air.  I can’t breathe.  Arching his back with his stomach in the air, the boy strained to inhale and a sickening wheezing sound emerged from deep inside him.  His eyes bulged.  The room was dark, except for the glowing orange numbers on the clock radio beside his bed.  1:33.   Pushing himself up on his elbows, Josh gagged and coughed something thick and wet onto the front of his flannel pajama shirt.  His throat opened slightly and he sucked a small amount of air into his lungs murky caverns.  Terrified, Josh tried to call out to his parents sleeping down the hall, but could only choke out another loud wheezing gasp.  His legs kicked out wildly over the faded brown horses printed on his bed sheets until one foot connected hard with the wall beside his bed.  In the living room, on the other side of the wall, something fell with a thud and shattered with the tinkle of a thousand jagged shards onto the hardwood floor.

And does asthma affect the writer’s work?

Some interesting study has recently been done specifically on the asthmatic writer.  Two such writers, Marcel Proust and Elizabeth Bishop, have recently had their work re-examined through their asthmatic symptoms.  In Proust’s case, researchers have at their disposal a large amount of correspondence that details his respiratory illness and treatments.  Relying on such comprehensive information concerning Proust’s health, investigators have attempted to relate Proust’s fiction back to his respiratory illness.  One such example, “Proust’s Prescription: Sickness as the Pre-condition for Writing,” Lois Bragg and William Sayers study how illness, and particularly asthma, manifests as a number of extended similes in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

I once gave (if I do say so myself) a brilliant paper in graduate school on Ann Radcliffe, the grande dame of Gothic fiction who died during an acute asthma attack in 1883, theorizing how she transformed the asthmatic symptoms that tormented her through most of her life (breathlessness, sudden violence, tyranny, nocturnal attacks, suffocation, darkness, constriction etc.) into an abundant collection of dark metaphors that became prototypical Gothic images.

(I specialized in Restoration and 18th Century literature.  You can imagine how useful that is in real life.)

Your humble blogger’s own asthma comes and goes.  I take medication everyday in an attempt to limit my asthma symptoms.

Luckily I have times of remission (often lasting months) followed by its inevitable (and at times depressing) return. Though, unfortunately, I never have completely normal lung functions even when in remission.

Like anything, you live to learn with it.

And though living with asthma can be trying, with the likes of Proust and Updike as fellow sufferers,  I am in grand company.  Which makes it a little easier.

Exhale.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey on… 2016, Tahiti and that last 20 pounds

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Tahiti

 

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