My book “The Gay Road Less Traveled” $2.99 on Amazon, supermodel Cricket and artwork by the super talented Matt Mateo Humphrey
In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy to teach English in the heart of rural China.
“When I finally relented and agreed to go to Dog Meat King, I did so with no attention of eating the meat that gave the restaurant it’s name. But as a sat in the restaurant, hungry and happy to be with my friend Jennifer, I felt a Moment of Truth emerging from the greasy haze. Was I about to go fully native? Maybe there’s no really difference between dog and pic I thought to myself. I lifted a dog cube with my chopsticks and stared at it. The face of my brother Eliot’s golden retriever appeared in the veins of the meat. To my horror, my mouth began to water. I licked the meat. The sky did not fall. I popped the cube in my mouth. I chewed. I swallowed. It tasted like chicken. Kosher was of course out the window.”
“All of this is thanks to the Leadership of the Communist Party and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” teacher Qing said. “We will get rich now and develop and catch the West. Then we can develop True Communism later.”
“You do not have to worry about the quality of the meat. We can buy it in Walmart.” I was taken aback. “Walmart sells dog meat?” “Yes” replied Jennifer. “The price is also low, always the lowest. Walmart has the lowest prices in town.” I shook my head in disbelief. It was bad enough to think of a dead-dog section of Walmart, but what was even more unbleievable was that they could undercut the proces of butchers in the open markets, who were squeezing out a subsistence living.
My first class at Guizhou University started with everyone telling me their names, rather the American names they had given themselves. The worst student in the class had chosen the name Moron, which was ridiculous, but far from the strangest. There was “Anvil” a butch girl with a bowl cut, and an effeminate boy who went by “Dandy.” Two skinny girls inroduced themselves as “Shitty” and “Pussy.” Shitty explained her name by telling me it “sounded friendly.” Pussy told me she liked cats. There was Shmily, which she explained stood for “See How Much I love You” and Larple “I am a little fat, like a large apple.” There was God, Red Hero, and Waiting G, as well as two brothers named Stone and Stone Crusher.
Jackie raised his hand after Moron sat down. “His namee is Gordon, Mr. Mike, not Moron!” Jackie yelled. “But his English is very poor so that you cannot understand him!” Jackie was looking sternly at Gordon. “His Chinese is very poor, too! He is a minority person, so he has difficulty learning!”
A Girl Named Zippy, atlanta, autobiographies, book reviews, books, buy John's book on Amazon, culture, essays, funny, gay, Haven Kimmel, humor, LGBT, Life, lifestyle, love, memoirs, perspective, point of view, writers
I read this book last week, sitting with my mom in the nursing home, until she passed away. Zippy’s sharp humor and funny observations helped me through a tough time in my life.
“…she waited until she and my grandfather Anthel were just home from their honeymoon, and then sat him down and told him this: “Honey, I know you like to take a drink, and that’s all right, but be forewarned that I ain’t your maid and I ain’t your punching bag, and if you ever raise your hand to me you’d best kill me. Because otherwise I’ll wait until you’re asleep; sew you into the bed; and beat you to death with a frying pan.” Until he died, I am told, my grandfather was a gentle man.”
“That cat doesn’t have a lick of sense,’ I said, sighing.
Well, honey, he’s not right in the head,’ Dad said, flipping his cigarette into the front yard.
I glared at him. ‘And just what do you mean by that?’
Dad counted on his fingers. ‘He’s cross-eyed; he jumps out of trees after birds and then doesn’t land on his feet; he sleeps with his head smashed up against the wall, and the tip of his tail is crooked.’
Oh yeah? Well, how about this: he once got locked in a basement by evil Petey Scroggs in the middle of January and survived on snow and little frozen mice. When I’m cold at night he sleeps right on my face. Of that whole litter of kittens he came out of he’s the only one left. One of his brothers didn’t even have a butthole.’
“I stand corrected. PeeDink is a survivor.”
“What kind of good deeds? Like Girl Scouts? Because I got kicked out of Brownies and they won’t give me another chance to keep my clothes on at camp.”
“My mother was good at reading books, making cinnamon biscuits, and coloring in a coloring book. Also she was a good eater of popcorn and knitter of sweaters with my initials right in them. She could sit really still. She knew how to believe in God and sing really loudly. When she sneezed our whole house rocked. My father was a great smoker and driver of vehicles..He could hold a full coffee cup while driving and never spill a drop, even going over bumps. He lost his temper faster than anyone.”
“I respect every way in which you are a troublemaker, now get up and do what your mother says.”
Africa, Alexandra Fuller, animals, autobiographies, book reviews, books, buy John's book $3.99 Amazon, dogs, Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight, essays, gay, LGBT, memiors, pets, Rhodesian Ridgeback, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Zimbabwe
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is a memoir of life with Alexandra Fuller and her family on a farm in Rhodesia. After the Rhodesian Bush War ended in 1980, the Fullers moved to Malawi, and then to Zambia.
“How you see a country depends on whether you are driving through it, or live in it. How you see a country depends on whether or not you can leave it, if you have to.”
“The land itself, of course, was careless of its name. It still is. You can call it what you like, fight all the wars you want in its name. Change its name altogether if you like. The land is still unblinking under the African sky. It will absorb white man’s blood and the blood of African men, it will absorb blood from slaughtered cattle and the blood from a woman’s birthing with equal thirst. It doesn’t care.”
“Once, I discovered the skulls of two impala rams, their horns locked into an irreversible figure-of-eight; the two animals had been trapped in combat, latched to each other during the battle of the rut. The harder they had pulled to escape from each other, the more intractably stuck they were, until they had fallen exhausted, to their knees, in an embrace of hatred that had killed them both. When I picked up the skulls to add to my growing collection of what Vanessa called “Bobo’s smelly pile,” the hooked horns fell away from each other and the story of the impalas’ death struggle was undone.”
“The schools wear the blank faces of war buildings, their windows blown blind by rocks or guns or mortars. Their plaster is an acne of bullet marks. The huts and small houses crouch open and vulnerable; their doors are flimsy pieces of plyboard or sacks hanging and lank. Children and chickens and dogs scratch in the red, raw soil and stare at us as we drive through their open, eroding lives.”
“But I plucked a new, different, worldly soul for myself — maybe a soul I found in the spray thrown up by the surge of that distant African river as it plummets onto black rocks and sends up into the sun a permanent arc of a rainbow.”
I’m pretty sure I’m related to Frank…
Angela’s Ashes is a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt. The memoir consists of various anecdotes and stories of Frank McCourt’s impoverished childhood and early adulthood in Brooklyn, New York, and in Limerick, Ireland. It also includes McCourt’s struggles with poverty, his father’s drinking issues, and his mother’s attempts to keep the family alive. Angela’s Ashes was published in 1996 and won the Pulitzer Prize.
“He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.”
“It’s lovely to know that the world can’t interfere with the inside of your head.”
“I don’t know what it means and I don’t care because it’s Shakespeare and it’s like having jewels in my mouth when I say the words.”
“Come here till I comb your hair, said Grandma. Look at that mop, it won’t lie down. You didn’t get that hair from my side of the family. That’s that North of Ireland hair you got from your father. That’s the kind of hair you see on Presbyterians. If your mother had married a proper decent Limerick man you wouldn’t have this standing up, North of Ireland, Presbyterian hair.”
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”