The Crotchety Old Man

Oct 15, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Gaydom’s Golden Age

Never has there been a better time to be a gay man in America. Well into the 1960s, homosexuality was a sin, a mental illness, and a crime. Police routinely raided gay bars and often published names in the local newspaper of anyone arrested. Gay liberation has been one of many fronts in the decades-long fight for equal rights. We’ve come a long way in my life time. Police stopped raiding bars (mostly) in the early 1970s but continued to publish names of men arrested in sting operations. Local gay bars became a safe place to meet other gay men. By 1979 when I exploded out of the closet, Lexington’s gay bar was packed six nights a week.  The crowd …

Oct 08, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Grateful

Floods, fires, tornadoes, terminal illnesses, and other ugly events have recently impacted the lives of more than a few dear friends. My heart goes out to them. Their misfortune reminds me  just how lucky I am. Yeah. I said lucky. So I’m slowly going blind, recently lost someone very close to me, and am dealing with a diabetic chihuahua. There are far worse things. So much good luck has fallen my way I consider my life to be charmed. Sure, I’ve worked hard, but — subject to change without notice — bad luck has mostly passed me by. Any adversity in my life has largely been the result of my bad choices. I hit my low in the early 1980s. After …

Sep 17, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Orchid Redux

Since purchasing the first in 2012, my orchid collection has grown. I’ve bought a few. Friends have given me orchids they gave up on too. The result is a kitchen table overflowing with them. I blogged about my success with orchids late last year. You can see that post here. It even has pictures! Bragging is asking for trouble. Problems appeared almost right away. In addition to the wrinkled leaves I’d seen in the past, leaves on a few plants had turned black in the center. Root rot may have been the cause. Inconsistent watering may also have played a role. On rainy days I’ll sometimes drag all my plants outside. They may not care, but I feel like the fresh …

Sep 11, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Crotchety in the Classroom

Everyone I know has heard all about the class I’m teaching. My colleagues — most of whom have taught for years — know as much about my class as their own. I’m guessing they find my enthusiasm more amusing than tiresome — for now, anyway. I’m grateful for heir sage advice and helpful suggestions. I glanced over the required text before agreeing to teach the course and used the table of contents to create the syllabus. I never got around to reading the text before school started. The publisher provided presentations for every chapter. Except for the teaching, my work was done. [Pauses until experienced teachers all over the world stop laughing.] Sticking to the script doesn’t work. Many of …

Sep 03, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My Southern Heritage

I grew up in Kentucky and have lived in Georgia for twenty years. My ancestors have lived in the South for centuries. By any standard, I am a a bona fide Southerner. Pride for our Southern heritage is universal in my family, but stories about the Civil War weren’t part of my upbringing. I heard we’re kin to Robert E. Lee and John Wilkes Booth, but nobody in the family has any old photographs, letters from the battlefield, or other Civil War memorabilia. My DNA results shattered the myths I’d believed all my life. We are not related to Lee or Booth, and records linked to my family tree reveal ancestors who fought for the Union, but none who sided …

Aug 27, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My Family Tree

Several years ago I joined Ancestry.com, and for months clicked on leaves like they were going out of style. My mistake was accepting as gospel every tidbit of information I found. The resulting family tree dates back a thousand years, but is too riddled with errors, duplicates, and other problems to be believed. I learned a lot about my family, but my research raised more questions than it answered. Two branches came to an abrupt end — I never found my mother’s maternal grandfather or my father’s paternal grandfather. Missing two of eight great-grandparents leaves huge bare spots in the tree. In January I sent some spit to Ancestry DNA for analysis. Found out weeks later the sample didn’t work …

Aug 20, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Teaching without Fear

When I taught class in grad school, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I outlined the text, read the outline to my students, and lived in fear they’d discover how little I knew. Somehow, I pulled it off. Thirty-plus years of experience has made me a better teacher. The kind of teaching I’ve been doing is different, but teaching is teaching. To prepare for the first* class I’ve taught since grad school, I spent the summer going over the required textbook. Two weeks before school started, I found out the textbook I’d planned the course around was no longer in print. Fortunately, the tables of contents for the 15th and 17th editions are identical. Shew. Switching …

Aug 13, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Dinner Time

After the ex and I split up, we still got together for dinner at least three or four nights a week — almost every night the last two years of his life. He did nearly all the cooking. His menu selections weren’t always the healthiest and he had a (delightful) bad habit of baking sweets after dinner, but I never complained. Beggars can’t be choosers. He enjoyed cooking (usually), put a lot of effort into it, and took pride in every dish. I cooked occasionally, but we both preferred his cooking over mine. You would too. In the early weeks of fending for myself, I relied heavily on familiar fast and easy options. Then I tried a lot of frozen, ready-made …

Aug 06, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Novel Experience

Lots of people tell me they hope to write a book. Many say they’ve written the first few chapters — often for several stories. Starting a book is easy. Finishing is the hard part. Writing a novel is a HUGE challenge — especially the first time around. Getting to “the end” takes hours and hours of work over many weeks, months, or even years. Whether the finished product gets published or not, devoting that much time to something is a sure way to get better at it. Going through the publication process is also a learning experience. Three different editors go over every story with a fine-toothed comb. I always learn from their comments, questions, and suggestions. Reviews are helpful …

Jul 30, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Shorter Summers

Students in one Georgia county returned to school this past Friday. The last day of class for them was June 25th. Hope they enjoyed their summer — all five weeks of it. Why bother starting on a Friday? Returning to school on a Monday or Tuesday makes for too long of a first week back. Wednesday I can understand, or even Thursday. Maybe I’m missing something, but starting on Friday is crazy. Like them or not, the research on summer breaks is clear. The longer the break, the more kids forget. Summer learning loss negatively impacts success in school, college, and life — especially for students from low-income households. Shorter breaks are the obvious solution. Smarter summers are another option. Keeping …

Jul 23, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Next Project

A lot of thought goes into selecting my next project. Writing a novel is a HUGE commitment. Unless I’m head over heels in love with the idea, I’ll never make it to “the end” of the story. No amount of love can save a flawed idea. I’ve wasted hours and hours trying. All I got in return was heartbreak and a folder of abandoned manuscripts. Each abandoned manuscript suffers from the same problem: A tragic lack of understanding about the role of the main character. I’ve written extensively about figuring this out in previous posts, so I’ll spare you the details here.The point is, I finally got it. #SlowLearner Portions of The Case of the Missing Drag Queen were salvaged from …

Jul 16, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Reviews: Case of the Missing Drag Queen

Several reviews have come out in the weeks since DSP Publications released The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Some authors ignore reviews of their stories or only read the good ones. Not me. I read all I can find. A number of web sites provide reviews for gay fiction. Romance is often the focus — some will only review romances — but a few review any genre with gay main characters. Here is a sampling of “official” reviews for The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. Rainbow Book Reviews: I enjoyed the novel for its “nostalgic” sense of what the world was like before laptops, cell phones, and the internet. But I digress – aside from the accurate setting, this mystery …

Jul 09, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Staycation

Today I return to work after my longest vacation in more than a decade. Usually, I use a day or two of vacation time around weekends and holidays to keep my work from piling up overmuch while I’m away. This year, that just wasn’t possible. For sixteen glorious days, I didn’t think about work. I did check email and  voicemail occasionally, but received very few messages. The weeks around Independence Day are a good time to take off because things slow to a crawl. What did I do? Exercised. I worked out at my new gym almost every day. The 24/7 access makes a difference. The one time I did run, I was able to workout first — the tendinitis …

Jul 02, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 10

I love drag shows almost as much as I love Broadway musicals. Except for the number of cocktails involved, they’re not that different. Costumed performers dance, sing (or lip-sync), and otherwise entertain a live audience. From the first season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been must-see TV for me. Like live drag shows, it’s cheesy, a little raunchy, and often hilarious. Some seasons have been better than others. Season 10 is the best yet. Experience helps. The challenges gets better with each season. Thanks to the success of the show, production values have steadily improved too. But what makes the show, of course, is the cast. Keeping up with who’s who in and out of drag the first few episodes is …

Jun 25, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Three Gym Memberships

I belong to three gyms. I joined the first in 2011 because membership was cheaper than paying by the class for Zumba. Aside from all the beef on display, the weight room didn’t interest me. I opted for a pricey membership that included regular sessions with a personal trainer. The guy who worked with me for the next eighteen months was smart, very kind, and always extremely professional. His encouragement and support kept me coming back. Didn’t hurt that he was super hot. Outside of grueling sessions with him, my workouts have never been particularly strenuous. Better too little than to overdo it and hurt myself. The main goal has been at least thirty minutes of strength training two or three …

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