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May 2020
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Whatchamacallit 70: Peace Love Pride by Roots

Peace Love Pride

A few years ago, I was in Canada in the run-up to Pride, which is when I bought this bracelet.

While I can tell you that I bought this at Roots, the venerable Canadian clothing store, I have no idea how much I paid for it. I also do not know when I bought it, but I am pretty sure that I bought it in Montreal.

I’m not a huge jewelry person: I own one ring, a few bracelets, and some other odds and ends – but that’s it. I also rarely wear what I own – so this sits on the shelf outside my bedroom – the object of glances and warmth.

I like it because it celebrates Pride – an entirely necessary event – and it reminds me of Canada – an entirely necessary place on earth.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 69: Larry Kramer – The Tragedy of Today’s Gays

The Tragedy of Today's Gays

I woke Thursday morning to the news that Larry Kramer died.

Thanks to other writers – namely Dan Savage, but others as well – I am well aware of Larry Kramer. But I only have one book by him, The Tragedy of Today’s Gays.

Which is, in many respects, a shame: Larry Kramer is one of the most important figures of the late 20th century, an incredibly important voice during the early years of the HIV/AIDS era.

However, I do not see the point of re-writing his obituary: The New York Times, among many others, offer a sympathetic review of his life and everything that he did to change the world for the better.

Society has lost one of the greats.

May he rest in peace.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 68: My Japanese Sucker

From the Festival of the Steel Phallus: かなまら祭り / Kanamara Matsuri

Back in April 2015 I visited the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. I was there, specifically, to visit the Festival of the Steel Phallus: かなまら祭り / Kanamara Matsuri.

I wrote about the Festival of the Steel Phallus and about the Kanayama Shrine in general.

This is one of a few objects that I brought back from my time at the festival – a genuine cocksucker.

The other objects are pieces of cloth that are waiting to be turned into something: dish towels or something. Maybe facemasks? Not sure.

The cocksucker sits on display on a shelf in my hallway – something I see as I come out of my bedroom. It constantly makes me smile.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 67: nanoblock Brandenburg Tor

nanoblock Brandenburg Tor

This is another Brandenburg Tor, this time made out of nanoblocks.

With its brushy brethren, it resides in my kitchen – a fun reminder of Berlin’s number one tourist attraction.

I ordered it June 1, 2014 (Thanks Amazon for reminding me) – and my distinct memory of building it is that it took me two tries.

The first attempt was under the influence some drink. About the only thing I got right that first evening is that I opened each package within the box into a tupperwear of its own. Twenty minutes later, after having dug out the tweezers in order to pry apart two blocks that I’d mistakenly joined together, I put the lids on each box and set it aside for the next day.

The second attempt, sober, was more successful, but it was still challenging – tweezers and patience was definitely called for.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 66: Borat Seksy Moustache

Borat Seksy Moustache

The above Moustache hangs, unopened, on the bulletin board in the kitchen hallway.

I got it while attending the Borat pre-premier showing (or event of some kind) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 2006. I would guess, based on my November 1, 2006 blog post, “In Rotterdam,” that I saw it on Tuesday, October 31st, two days before its November 2nd premier (which is mentioned on the piece of paper/booklet that the moustache is attached to). I’ve never actually opened the packaging, never read the manual, never felt the luxurious fir that is Borat’s Seksy Moustasche.

In other words, I’ve also never tested the Female Success Guarantee.

I doubt that this is worth anything, other than the quick memories it generates as I think about the movie and its general cleverness.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 65: Doosan Professional Baseball Club Towel

Doosan Professional Baseball Club

In early April 2014 I visited Seoul, a city that I can easily imagine living in. I’ve actually visited the city twice.

I’ve told any number of people that if you told me today that I would have to move to South Korea tomorrow that I would say, “Wow – that will be challenging but doable.” The other half of that observation is that if you told me that tomorrow I would be moving to Japan, a wonderful place to visit, I would say, “Wow – do I have to?”

But that is a digression: this is about the Doosan Professional Baseball Club Towel that I have hanging in my hallway – such an awkward name, when they go by the name Doosan Bears in colloquial terms.

I went to the game with two college students who were practicing their English – which made the experience more fun. (As I recall, they did not pick up on the fact that I like boys and thought that I was admiring the cheerleaders – the truth was I was still taken by the absurdity of the circus that is attending baseball in Asia.

Remember, I said “cheerleaders” – what baseball game has cheerleaders? Certainly none in America.

The towel hangs right below my Hiroshima Carp towel – so I see it frequently, thus a small trigger taking me back to Seoul and the good times that I have had while visiting there.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 64: Statue of Nessie

Nessie

Back in 2013, after visiting the Shetland Islands, we headed to Inverness.

Our first stop, Loch Ness, to see the Loch Ness Monster. We ended up lunching at The Dores Inn before wandering around and visiting Steve Feltham, the Nessie Hunter.

Amazingly, I actually saw Nessie that day – through my camera. Unfortunately, I never really got a quality photo of her, which is a disappointment.

However, I bought the above trinket version of Nessie – it sells for £22 with UK shipping today – so I’m guessing that if you bought it there, it would be a flat £20? Not sure. But of course I bought mine in 2013, so you can make whatever adjustments you want to the potential pricing.

The statue sits on the shelf behind my couch – a fun reminder of Scotland.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 63: Bo Innovation Menu

Bo InnovationBack in April 2014, while in Hong Kong, I went to my first Michelin three-star restaurant – Bo Innovation.

It was a treat – and the most expensive meal of my life up and to that point – for our travels.

Looking at the menu, which I had framed and is now on display in my kitchen, reminds me of the trip and aspects of the meal.

First, there is the obvious correction to the menu: when they gave us the printed menu as a souvenir, I pointed out that one of the wines was listed twice, even though the accompanying wine-trip had resulted in a different wine with each course. They hand wrote the correction.

Second, it evokes the feeling of the dinner: we took an elevator up to the restaurant and were seated outside – it was vaguely rainy outside – maybe more drizzling. My impression is that we were seated outside yet with covering? It was alongside a railing because I remember leaning over the railing and looking at people eating in other restaurants that were lower – both physically and in the global rankings.

Third, I no longer remember each of the courses in detail – I remember that some of the courses had unique textures – going by name, I would guess the Molecular course, xiao long bao. There’s a vague recollection that I liked the blue lobster course – I wish I had taken better notes – or written a blog entry about the visit.

The menu hangs on my kitchen wall, so I see it whenever I have spare minutes while cooking.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 62: Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey is a (relatively) recent addition to the small distillery scene and, to the best of my knowledge, the only (legal) distillery in the State of Wyoming.

Given that I have much affection for Wyoming (despite its strong Republican leanings), I keep my eye out for cool, albeit unusual, Wyoming products – and when Wyoming Whiskey appeared on the scene, I tried to buy it.

After their first release, I was in Wyoming and nary a liquor store had a bottle in stock – I was out of luck.

Eventually I got my hands on this bottle, from batch 18, bottled on November 25, 2013.

It returned with me to Berlin and, at some point, I opened it up and poured myself an appropriate serving.

I found that it tasted, to my uncultured, inexperienced, palate, like paint thinner.

Thus, I haven’t really had more than a couple of samples – although one of my friends has told me that he finds it pleasant. I’d give him the bottle, but I want the bottle – so he drinks it when he visits.

I am not alone in my impression that batch 18 is disappointing. Although arriving their conclusions with differing, more expert, logic, the Whisky Jug said:

However, despite some good stuff possibly coming in the future the current (Batch 18) stuff just isn’t up-to-snuff. It starts out decent, but quickly turns into a bourbon flavored mineral water.

Interestingly, there is a relationship to my previous whisky Whatchamacallit, the Maker’s Mark – Although he does not appear to be listed on the Wyoming Whiskey website, in that era the product was made by Steve Nally, who previously had spent more than 30 years at Maker’s mark.

I have no idea what the current product is like – this bottle was so unimpressive, at least for me, that I haven’t had the urge to buy another bottle.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 61: Baking is gay

Baking is gay

I realize that I am a difficult person to buy presents for – I have a quirky sense of humor that is hard to define and understand.

The above is a present that one person got right: my baking is gay tea-towel.

It’s utterly ridiculous, yet perfect.

Rather than actually using it, I’ve hung it in my kitchen, where it amuses me endlessly while I wait for water to boil, pasta to cook, the washing machine to finish, or whatever.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.