Lent and Mardi Gras

lent and mardi gras

When my various treatments begin, I will have to give up a lot of things. I’ll have to give up hot/spicy food when I’m on chemo, because it will upset my stomach. Also caffeinated coffee. Also fatty foods. Most of all I will have to give up alcohol, because it would both irritate my throat (which will be irradiated five days a week) and interfere with some of the medications. One of the Comprehensive Cancer Center people told me the other day: “We’ve tried accommodating people with alcohol, and it just doesn’t work.”



Good goddamn!



My friend Joanne said, in response to this: “Pretend it’s Lent.”



This is excellent advice. Lent is forty days (not counting Sundays), roughly the period of my chemo/radiation therapy. People generally give up silly things for Lent, like chocolate and popcorn. I will be giving up my beloved curries, and hot sauce (which I put on pretty much everything!), and my evening drinks (which calm me tremendously).



But the treatments haven’t begun yet. I probably won’t start them until mid-October, once my feeding tube has been installed and my dental work is done and my facial swelling has subsided. (When you undergo radiation for throat cancer, they make a mask to hold your head in exactly the right position. If they make the mask before my dental work, or while I’m swollen, the radiation won’t be directed accurately.)



So I now have approximately three weeks of no rules at all, before the treatments begin. Three weeks of Mardi Gras.



And what happens during Mardi Gras?



All hell breaks loose.



I have had curry three days in a row now. I drink nightly. I’m eating ice cream as I write this.



When I begin the treatments, I hope they prescribe me a lot of soothing medication, for Partner’s sake and my own.



Remember what Bette Midler said to Kramer on “Seinfeld,” when she wanted her black-and-white cookie:

BETTE: Get me one of those Black and White cookies.

KRAMER: Yeah, all right, yeah…. (hangs up) They don’t have any. But don’t worry I’m going to get you one somewhere.

BETTE: Good. Because if I don’t get a Black and White cookie I’m not going to be very pleasant to be around.

KRAMER: Now that’s impossible.



O I assure you it’s possible.



Happy Mardi Gras!


For Sunday: Bette Midler sings “Mister Rockefeller”

bette midler rockefeller

The Divine Miss M sang this back in the 1980s, on her album “Songs for the New Depression.”



It’s still relevant.







Teaching children to belittle gay people


John Jackson, the president of Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island (which describes itself on its website as a “Catholic, all male, college preparatory high school”) wrote a letter to the editors of the Providence Journal the other day.

The letter contains no real surprises. Jackson (in line with his church) condemns gay marriage, and says that President Obama is assisting in the continuing moral decay of our great country by countenancing gay marriage. He calls gay activity “disordered and immoral.” He resorts to the old “hate the sin, not the sinner” ploy: same-sex love is okay, but gay sexual activity is not, since it doesn’t lead to procreation.  He ends the letter with this grave pronouncement: “As the song goes, ‘God is watching us,’ and I can assure you he is not happy.”



(How does he know this? I wonder. How do these bejeezly idiots always know for sure what God is thinking?)






Well, this Church flunky is getting his face rubbed in it. Parents and alumni of Hendricken are slamming him in print and on Facebook. The point made most often is that his letter comes pretty close to hate speech, and that he is helping to create a negative atmosphere for gay students at Hendricken. (Assuming, of course, there are some. Gosh! Do you think that’s possible?)



Jackson, on Saturday, apologized for the tone of his letter. Not for his message, mind you, but for his tone.



The Church still doesn’t understand a thing. They don’t realize that “Catholic priest” has become a virtual synonym for “pedophile” in the public mind, and that Catholic prelates, as portrayed in movies and TV these days, are shown in the same way that Nazi officers were portrayed back in my childhood: stupid, pompous, mindlessly bureaucratic, and cruel.



Jackson thought (I assume) that he was helping reaffirm morality and good behavior. He did nothing of the sort. He showed himself to be a bigot. And I tell you, if there are any incidents of anti-gay bullying on the Hendricken campus this year, we will hear about them, and little Mister Jackson will be roasted properly. (He will probably be protected by his Catholic-prelate bosses, up to a point. But he’s a layman, so they’ll probably toss him out on his ear if it goes too far.)



(This is a link, by the way, to the song he referred to above, with the lyric “God is watching us.” It’s a beautiful lyrical song, sung by Bette Midler, about how local and sectarian differences break down when viewed from far away, and that God looks down from Heaven and loves us all. Funny how Jackson got a different message from it.)



Finally: let’s remember (as Stephen Colbert reminded us recently) that the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament said not word one about homosexuality.



The Jesus of the New Testament did, however, say the following:


Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Mt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 

Mt 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 

Mt 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Mr 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 

Lu 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 



Now let us think about the Church’s record on pedophilia, and the way in which they continue to protect pedophile priests, and the way they treated young girls in Ireland. Let’s add to the list the fact that John Jackson, President of Bishop Hendricken High School, is telling his students – children! – that gay people are “disordered and immoral,” thus encouraging a hostile environment for gay students at his school.



He is teaching children to hate other children.



Better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck.

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