Obscure Bookcases of Delight


The ever charming (and tall) Inexplicable DeVice in December asked his readers to blog about our bookcases.  I promptly promised to do so and then promptly never got around to doing so.   Inertia: it’s a real thing.

In my defense I should mention I don’t have a bookcase to tell a tale about, I have a collection of them.  In fact, I have at least one in every room that doesn’t have plumbing in it.   They are the result of a happy life; every day after work, R Man and I would settle down, him on the couch and me in my big, comfy chair and the cat dividing her time between our laps and we would read all evening.  Once we moved into tis house with a fireplace, we were really cemented in place.  A byproduct of all that reading, of course, is books, that and the conviction that I had the most perfect life imaginable.

We would always have stacks of books sitting around,  this stack was read, that one was being read and the looming one over there were future candidates.  Occasionally, I would buy another bookcase, scrape up all the stacks and the whole sad cycle would start over.  Thus, multiple bookcases.  And Now a tour of them!


The main, or Wall O’ Books.  We had these built for our apartment on Russian Hills, all those many years ago when we first ran across the stacks and stacks of books that two bookish poofs would create.  Imagine how satisfied we were when we moved here and it fit in the living room.  Secret Agent Fred has moved his work space here from the studio in the garage where it is too chilly for the muse to do much beside sit around eating Doritos and complaining about the dank.


From the oldest to the newest, here we have a little walnut charmer that I picked up for the newest round of overflow, mostly science fiction I’ve been reading since R Man’s death.  It’s in the office, not out of any decorating plan, but simply because it was the last open space big enough for it.  That’s how I achieve all the little exquisite delights in decor.

That photo on the top is one of my favorites ever.  From some long, long ago party in New Orleans, it presents the author, striking in overstretched pink and black tiger strips, on-going malign sprite Cow Queen and the late, oh so lamented Magda, looking as glamorous and fresh as a daisy.  Just a trio of southern belles.


Moving on from the ridiculous to the quotidian,


One of a pair we had built for R Man’s room, it holds mostly his collection of histories of the early christian church.  R Man did not consider himself, particularly, a Christian, but he was fascinated with how the developments, schisms, conferences, and cat fights shaped both the church, Europe and the world.  Fred sleeps in R Man’s when he’s over here and so his books have drifted in as well, thus you have biographies of Van Gogh and Caravaggio snuggling up together.



These two, which flank the TV and are also in R Man’s room are till quite a lot of R Man’s, but they also have a lot of mine, so Barbara Pym, E. F. Benson, Vladimir Nabakov, and James Thurber.  I suspect the William Carlos Williams and Synthesis of Yoga are Fred’s.  The photo Hot Boy is a sign for the Hotel Boyd shot by Fred and showing what good cropping can achieve.  We also have a tasteful box holding the ashes of Fred’s very sweet cat Assisi / Steve.  Lastly, a photo of R Man that would certainly not be on display were he to still have a vote:


Across the hall, we find our guest room, which may be an odd spot for storing one’s books, but space is a premium,  And besides, the guy who owned the house before us built in lots of storage all over the house, including a very sold bookcase in this room


which now holds lots of oddities, mostly paperback, and including the entire collection of the Judge Dee Mysteries.  Have you stumbled across them?  They’re great, set in 17th century China, the setting and insights into how such an utterly alien civilization world is fascinating.  Also, a snow globe of New Orleans.


The carpenter/owner also built a shelf that runs the width of the room about a foot below the ceiling.  I wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of the collection that wound up there by implying they’re not the most compelling reads we have, but they are certainly not the first ones I reach for on a rainy Sunday afternoon.


In his frenzy of shelving construction, the previous owner built this enormous closet with sliding doors which I, in turn, had covered with wall paper printed to look like book shelves.  and when you open it, you get, drum roll please, BOOKS.


These are all cook books, or as Ms Pym would have it “cookery books.”  Many of them are old favorites I’ve used over and over, some are the great unloved who have never contributed a single recipe.  And now, all of them are pretty obsolete since when I want to cook something I don;t know by heart, I look it up on the internet.


And lastly, not a book shelf per se, and not a gang of books gone rogue, these are my favorites, the creme de la creme.  Benson and Dorothy Parker and Saki and my favorite Sci Fi writer, Lois McMaster Bujold.  And keeping track over them, and me, my favorite picture of R Man.

So that’s what the books of mrpeenee look like now.  I left out the newish stack that might be the seed of a new bookcase, but I also have to acknowledge that although I once was a complete snob about Kindle and other e-readers, but once they made the leap to allow you to read the books on your phone, instead of yet another device, and which I always have with me, well, it looks like the stacks have moved from the floor into my phone.


Oh, l’amour, l’amour


Ah, the romance of Valentine’s.   All the red glittery redness, more hearts than a cardiologists’ convention.  And CANDY.  I shall be making a bee line to a local confectionaire for their after sale.

I knew it was that sweet season when I was dragged to consciousness from a really top form nap by a waft of stink.  I’ve mentioned before we live surrounded on three sides by urban wilderness with coyotes, and hawks, and SKUNKS.  They’re all out making baby skunks, so pretty much once or twice a week during this time of the year we can count on the pungent air of a pissed off polecat.  Plus by the time you smell it, it’s to late to close the windows and try to create some cordon sanitaire, you’re trapped in the Skunk Zone.

Anyway, who cares, skunks need love too.  So to all of you out tonight making ooo, ooo, baby noises here’s to you.  And for the rest of us, here’s to us , too.  At least we don’t smell like skunk.  Or if you do, that may be why you’re here with the rest of us.  Think about that.


Oh, l’amour, l’amour, l’amour, l’amour

Gay Life


I was wandering the sere deserts of Amazon trying to find something interesting to read amidst the novelty napkin things that look like buttholes and all the other flotsam their highly praised algorithms seem to think I just can’t live without.  I did not want an anal napkin ring.  I wanted a book

Foolishly, I went looking in the Gay Fiction.  All the things I found there made me think maybe butthole napkin rings might be the best thing on offer after all.  There is never anything except Coming Out stories and how very hard they were.  You know how I came out to my family?  I had a tee shirt that said SEATTLE GAY PRESS on it under the regular shirt I was wearing and I got warm and took off the top shirt and suddenly I was out.  I mean, it wasn’t like it was some state secret.  I just stopped pretending like it was.

Anyway, one of the “books”that was not included in the megalith of Coming Out dramas has this as their description:

Teddie Parks White thinks he’s got the perfect marriage. His husband, Aiden, is a sweet, tender man who works hard to take care of him. They both come home from their jobs in the evening, make dinner together, then watch their favorite television shows on Netflix before turning in.

Does that sound like the makings of thrilling literary adventure?  Does it?  It sounds more like the start of every “domestic life is a living hell” story ever chiseled out by some bored housewife. Is this where a struggle out of gay ghettos has landed us?  Somewhere in the ABC Family Hour?

This is why I keep re-reading Barbara Pym.   She wrote primarily in the 1950s when the media was refining this pap as nirvana and Pym regarded it with a wry and suspicious eye.  But how many times can you read “An Excellent Woman?”  Seems like we’ll be finding out.


How come we have to read about some boy like this fretting that his marriage has lost its magic?  I want to read about how he’s debased by a gang of, I don’t know, somebodies.  Pirates maybe.  I like pirates. Just not zombies.

Dinner’s at Your Own Risk


I’m making lime Jello with marshmallows.   I had been heating up some lentils and burned the piss out of my hand and since I’m already on so much pain medicine any more would probably make me blow up like the Macy Day balloon, I took some valium to see if that would help and it probably would have, except a moment later I forgot about the valium and took an ativan.  Valium is for tension and ativan is for anxiety, so I was very calm, but depressed.  So I made the Jello Lime Marshmalow surprise.  Muscato always claims that will be his signature number when he takes up drag and Muscato has been on mind a lot of late, ever since the Dinner Party.

It started out innocently enough; don’t they always?  SuperAgent Fred and I met Muscato and Mr. Muscato, whom I had not had the pleasure before.  And what a pleasure.  Lazy, sexy smile and SUCH eyelashes.  Sophia Loren doubtless has an international hit squad out on them at this very minute.  Maybelline has built an empire attempting. and failing, to immaculate such flawless beauty.

We killed some time waiting for the last two of the party.  I should explain, Muscato had sent me a text sort of laying the groundwork, listing the many points I was not to touch on during our lovely time together.  To wit: my blog (fine, what feeble marketing I do is not difficult to squelch,)  his blog (Mr. Muscato only “sort of” knows of its exsitence and some of Muscato’s more open and frank thoughts on domestic bliss might not be all that one wants one’s partner dwelling on.

Also, the fact that our other two guests (one of whom was a college chum of Muscato’s, back during when they were haveing lively debtes about suferagette rights) and who, with his husband now lead lives of blames virtue, but who for a short while dabbled in porn.

Well.  You can imagine how that perked up my shell-like ears, but Muscato was firm.  Unless the boys brought up their lurid past themselves, there would be no probing into behind the scene tell-alls.  I was crushed, crushed I tell you.

Also, when they rolled in, I recognized neither of them.  I might not be totally encyclopedic on the topic of performers of porn, but I am fairly well-informed.  Their absence in my memory banks pointed me to assuming they either worked recently (most of my deepest research into the subject lays in the 1980 – 2010 era) or that they possibly worked in some niche too freaky for my attention.  But they seemed like such nice boys.

You know my job history has honed my ability to hash out small talk to an art, but their was no need for my mastery that evening.  Mme. Muscato seized the steering wheel and laid in a course of Our Happy Years After School and Before Responsibility.

Fred said the one by him was quiet, the one down at my end of the table, that Muscato had known in school, laughed and went with the flow, and was cute. Both of them were.  Whatever led them from the world of fistfucking on film, it was not any loss of the looks.  We had faces then, Norma cries, and these boys still do.  And tits.  And big arms.

Somewhere between the salad and the entrée, I began to wonder if Muscato were having one of those “The one the got away” moments about Mr. Porn Star, but we’ll never know because of all the forbidden conversation topics.  I think Muscato at one point forbade bringing up the Taft Hartley Act of 1947.  Who knows.  It’s probably somewhere in the Do Not Disclose agreement.

As usual, I exaggerate wildly.  Except they really were porn stars.  It was most amusing hearing Muscato’s stories, which are beyond anything my shallow existence has brought my way.  Muscato has walked among Stars, baby, Stars.  I wish I could have spoken more with Mr. Muscato, he seemed affable and sweet and if nothing else, staring at his eyelashes for a half hour or so would have been fine with me.  I understand they had been in a bear bar the night before where the Mr. brought about either a stampede and a riot or a riot and a stampede.  Details were sketchy.

Anyway, I had a good time, the gumbo was tasty and I like hanging with Muscato.  He is window into a far distant world.


We can start our search for the mystery guests by process of elimination.  The meaty gent engaged here was NOT one of them.  I think we’re getting close.



le Muscato.  Artist’s impression

Those few of you among us with their memories still intact might recall that that blogger among bloggers, Muscato from over at Cafe Muscato, blew into San Francisco for some business meeting inflicted by his employers, Golden Handcuffs, earlier this summer.  We enjoyed a couple of quiet evenings together, but never got around to the thrilling San Francisco touring I had promised.

So when the old darling announced he would be back, I was determined to make up for my lackluster show last time.  Sadly, the results were only so-so once again.  This time, my lazy ass laziness was not entirely to be blamed.  The weather was, unusual for the Bay Area, not co-operative.   With more than a week and a half of heavy rains and dank the local scene would would fit in perfectly for the East Coast he was attempting to escape.

Still, we had a charming lunch at Neiman’s.  Muscato allowed how he had never crossed their sacred threshold, so I was delighted to introduce him to one of the grande dames of shopping.  In the Texas of my youth, Neiman’s defined a certain type of quietly stylish and extremely well-heeled Ladies.  These sad times have marked a slide in how much of the 1 Percent still hang their heads there, but the proportion of Good Hand Bags was encouraging.

The Bacchanal was rather subdued.  Neither of us drink much now and Muscato (as perhaps you recall) had a couple of serious heart ailments recently-ish and is being very, very good about sticking with his diet, virtue which can cut into a real Ladies Who Lunch kind of repast.

I am so impressed with Muscato’s determination to stick with his diet.  I know I couldn’t make it past the patisserie around the corner from his office.  There would Dr. Mark be, explaining the evils of carbohydrates while I would be wondering if I could get to the bakery before they ran out of the squishy red berry compote.

Then we rolled out to the far edge of town to a park that was large fort and barracks since the city was founded in the late 18th century.  Now it’s an odd, but lovely chunk of greenery in this very urban corner and includes the very site where Kim Novak throws herself into the Bay in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.  The mention of that bit of history had Muscato ready to go like a terrier at a rat.

How disappointing then, that the storm that had been stomping us all week had also brought down a couple of truly enormous eucalyptus trees across the one narrow road that goes out to our destination (technically, it’s Fort Point, but it has such Vertigo induced fame, they really should give up and just call it Point Kim.)

Clouds blew back in by then and had a somber stroll through the AIDS memorial grove, a charming site, but more than a little sad for those of us of a certain age.

and speaking of our certain age, Muscato mentioned how attractive a nap sounded about then an I agreed with an alacrity which might have been the teeniest bit over enthusiastic, but it did sound good.

So Muscato will  be here through the weekend; we plan dinner Friday night when Mr.Muscato will be here and I’ll have a chance to meet him.  I’m terribly excited.   I might not have mentioned to Muscato my history of making up lurid stories about friends when coming across their partners for the first time, I’m sure we’ll find out.


Of Course, what would an afternoon with a couple of old queens be without an ongoing appraisal of the youth passing by.  Muscato tends towards these dark, pirate-y type.



While we all know my heart belongs to the more luscious, debaseable type.

Cooking Cockup


I’ve made this point before, but allow me to reiterate, I am a good cook.  I am proud of that fact; I had to teach myself since I left home totally unprepared for the world, including cooking.

So when something I make refuses to go along with the show, I am annoyed both with the dish and myself.  How could I not have seen this particular disaster (whatever it is) coming?

Tonight’s disaster?  A 7 Layer Bar, which many of you will be familiar with from bake sales gone by.  It is the kind of incredibly uncomplicated recipe simple minded Girl Scouts use to get their cooking badge.  I was making red beans tonight and while they were simmering, I decided to make a version of it.  It’s a  cookie I had long loved at my favorite cafe, but which they no longer make.  Nostalgia is a trap.

Graham cracker crust, then just dump in sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and nuts and then bake.  Since I never liked either the coconut or the nuts in it, I decided to substitute oats, which actually worked out fine.  The problem was all the other ingredients.

Canned sweetened condensed milk is a beloved ingredient for lots of things like dulce de leche, but I should have realized a concoction which is nothing but chocolate chips floating in it is going to be a sugar overdose waiting to happen.

Once I peeled off the wax paper that had lined the pan (and which glued itself to the bottom of the cookies) I got a taste of the oh-so-innocent looking deadly bars.

Even I, with my almost unparalleled fondness for desserts of any sort, kind of choked on the first bite.  There was no second bite.  While there were elements of other flavors slightly floating around, mostly it was identical to chewing a sugar cube.  I just couldn’t take it, and I am the man scarfing down the leftover chocolate ganache with a spoon and telling myself it’s just like eating truffles.

So here’s where my annoyance with myself comes in.  How could I have read the recipe and not realized where it was headed?  I blame Pandora, the music jukebox site.  I was listening to it while cooking and once again it insisted on playing Flock of Seagulls, despite my best efforts at removing them from my stations.  How am I supposed to concentrate on culinary arts with “I Ran” racketing around the kitchen?


This, this is what I want in my kitchen, not some disgusting cookie so sweet it makes your sinuses ache.




3:00 AM and mrpeenee is tucking into some seriously tasty Boston cream pie, made by his own two loving hands.  Those of us familiar with his passion for sweets will not be surprised by the menu, but the hour might seem unlikely.

I have been on a new regime of pain meds for my back which seem to be helping a lot.  Yay. A drawback is I take them 4 times a day and cannot eat 2 hours before or after knocking them back.  That means I can only eat, I don’t know, you do the math. I can’t count that high.  But 3:00 AM is in the safe zone and I take advantage of it.

I had made New Years Eve dinner for our friends and had centered the menu around dishes their families had insisted on as Ne Years traditions.  There are lots of them to choose from.

My American Southern family demands black eyed peas for good luck and cabbage as a symbol of money.  Super Agent Fred’s late husband Paolo was Italian and they go for lentils to suggest abundance and grapes as wealth.  Our friend Jen is Hungarian and the only tradition she brings is to place coins on a window sill to keep money coming in all year.   Seems contradictory since you start with money going out, but what the hell, I have a stack of quarters now hanging around the sill of the door onto the patio.

Since no one not raised in the South will willingly eat black eyed peas, I snuck them into the menu by making a hummus with them instead of chickpeas (which I don’t really like anyway, so no great loss) and lime juice and tahini.  I was concerened everyone would be equally unenthused about cabbage, but a dynamite recipe for stirfry with star anise in it was a big hit.

And then Boston cream pie.  It’s a simple two layer yellow cake with a custard in the middle and then glazed with chcolate ganache.  Ganache is one of those wonder recipes that can be the basis for plenty of greater things.

Ganache is just chocolate melted in cream with a little butter to make it shiny.   You change the proportion of cream to chocolate for what you want to use it for.  Equal amounts of each gives you a thin glaze like I used on the cake.  More chocolate and less cream and you have the basis for truffles.  More cream and less chocolate is chilled and whipped to make mousse.

I was perhaps a tiny bit distracted while I was pouring the glaze over the cake and wound up with it not only pooling in the bottom of the cake dish, but making a big puddle on the counter beneath.  I decided it was Bacchanalian, a glorious excess.  Certainly not just a fucking mess.

I might also have considered the results of a dinner with peas, lentils and cabbage, which result in an aftermath that could move a freight train.  I was going to hang a sign out front saying “For god’s sake, don’t light a match,” but the neighbors are already nosy enough.

And so we’re off to a gassy, but no doubt prosperous New Year, blasting 2016 off into the unlamented past.


You’re gong to make fart jokes, you need a classy nude to balance things out, and this guy certainly appears balanced.

Flights of Angels and Naked Muscley Boys


I think the best thing about Christmas is its end.  It doesn’t trail off, or go out with a whimper; Boxing Day and that’s that.  Pack up all the ersatz sentimentality and the go go boys in elf hats and move on.  Safe for one more year from Bing Crosby and David Bowie sneering at each other over Little Drummer Boy.

Of course, one still needs to deal with  the snow drift of bad news that always shows up just in time for the New York Times’ teddibly, teddibly tasteful obituary extravaganza.  Every year, some loss just seems more bitter than others, or just too much cumulatively.  David Bowie AND Prince?

And some bad news that just adds to the sum of woe.  I don’t know how I missed the bulletin that Terry Jones of Monty Python has dementia, but I just stumbled on it this evening and then the very next page I opened was MJ’s Infomaniac to find out the charmingly insane Kabuki had died.

Several of us bloggers sort of started out as commenters on other more established sites and none of us was funnier or more droll and bizarre than Kabuki.  His comments were always less to do with the topic than they were news reports from deep left field.  They weren’t simply written, they were crafted.  Of course, tin foil hats that block the alien beams are crafted too.

Also, he was always very appreciative of not only the lurid photos I use as illustration here, but he always, ALWAYS, enthused the most over the very ones which I liked the best.  We were sympatico in the ways of feelthy pictures.  So, to wish farewell to a star, a gigastar unlike any other, here


The Goose is Getting Fat


So apparently I am now blogging on demand.  I had assumed when I threw off the oppressive shackles of employment, I would be passed this sordid sort of thing, but no.

Because that was without considering our perennial favorite Chaturbate.  You know of Chaturbate, right?  All sorts of people (and I do mean ALL sorts of people) get on there and broacast themselves doing ALL sorts of things.


just working on a little yoga.

Mikey is one of our favorite.  I don’t understand how someone embellished with humpy muscles can be so sweet and unaffected, but he is.

I was on there this evening watching him flog the hog.  Eventually we started talking amongst ourselves about our respective cats, because that’s just something homosexualists do.  I’m aware of the whimsicality of watching a beautiful naked youth getting all freaky and meanwhile the fans are talking about kitties, and what’s the weather like, and “What time is it there,” a conversation that comes up in almost every session I’ve ever attended.

Mikey asked me if I had gotten his email with the pictures in them because Mikey is fully involved in the nattering conversations wandering along in the comments sections even if he is naked and spreading his butt cheeks at the time.

Indeed, I had received Mikey’s message and thanked him for it and the photos.  Although they’re not the sort of thing that would probably turn up in the Hallmark card section, they do have a certain charm.

That was when Mikey was struck by the brilliance of me writing about getting a christmas card from him.  It might be a little flimsy, but I’ve milked blog post topics out of less.  What the hell?  Plus, I’m fairly sure my readers will not object to a little Mikey objectification.


From all of us at mrpeenee Gobal World Headquarters, to all of you, whoever the fuck you are,  Happy Capitalist Consumerism Fetish fourth quarter earnings projections.

Weep a Little Weep with Me


I know it may hard to grasp this from reading these posts, but I am by nature, a blythe spirit.  I may hide it behind a scrim of brittle bitterness, but deep inside am of Pollyanna, butterflies and lollipops and adorable kittens.  And muscular naked men right around the next corner.



I was surprised these last few days, then, that I was suddenly in the grips of a real depression.  I’m old.  I have more dead friends than live ones.  My eyebrows are falling out.  Even here in California, it’s winter.  Trump.  And R Man is still dead.

Of course, I miss R Man every hour of every day, but it is a pain I’ve become resigned to.  This, however was a sadness more pronounced than usual.  So cold and dark.

After a fitful sleep I felt much better and I now realize it was the new pain medicine I’d been prescribed and had auditioned for three days.  Once the trial was over and I  went back to vicodin until I could get a regular prescription of the new one, whammo the black dog of depression was waiting for me.

The drug (Nucynta: it’s hip, it’s fresh, it’s fun, it’s funky.  It’s today) came with a set of warnings of drug interactions and “don’t drive bulldozers while taking this” and all the usual crap, but in much greater detail (it went on for two pages) and with way too many BOLD FACE CAPS.  The one side effect they mentioned that really caught my eye was hallucinations.  All right!  All hopped up on some strange drug and trippin like a million screaming monkeys.  Didn’t happen.

Instead, I got the depression, which is decidedly second place in my book.

Still, the pain reliever part worked fine and this contains neither ibuprofen nor acetaminophen  both of which are in Vicodin and both of which were quietly chewing my liver to pieces.

So now it’s off vicodin and on to Nucynta.  I miss the vicodin like an old friend.  Vicodin carries with it a charming little cloud of euphoria and even after all these years knocking it back, I still felt some of that.  Nevertheless, the Nucynta keeps my back from hurting, I’m no longer depressed and I’m back to keeping an eye out for feral pron stars.


It’s a wonderful life.