Happening in Kansas City
Trending around OUTvoices
I’ll tell you a secret: I grew up in poverty. At school, I marveled at the electronic wonders that other children brought to Show & Tell — the Satan-possessed talking Teddy Ruxpin bears; the little light-up ET alien creatures, and for the little gay boys in my class, the Pound Puppies.
Me? I had a Bible and a sharp stick. That’s all a Christian needs.
But in fifth grade, I made a 25-cent garage-sale purchase that would change my life: a 1976 battery-operated Bi-centennial cassette recorder with a Barry Manilow tape inside. The first song I ever heard on a cassette tape was “Mandy.”
The first time I played that tape, Mama chased me through the house and screamed about my devil music. But I ran into the woods and listened to that tape, over and over, until Barry’s voice began to fade and then the batteries died.
I began thinking about Barry when I saw a Kansas City AIDS Walk poster at the Heartland Men’s Chorus last week. The ribbon on the poster reminded me of the red ribbon I wore after my best friend Eric died. I wore a red ribbon to his funeral. And when I had to have his cat, Mrs. Beasley, put down a few years later, I put a red ribbon on one of Eric’s sweaters and wore it to the vet as she took her last few breaths.
And I’m wearing it now, knowing that every year I need ... no, I have to do something to stop the spread of AIDS.
I believe that being gay or lesbian is a choice. Sorry, sinners, that’s my view. But if you get yourself into trouble, it’s my Christian duty to help out.
I just keep thinking of the time I told Eric the story of my first cassette recorder, and we giggled that a closeted Barry Manilow was my first big crush. He teased me for years, even talking about Barry on the day he died.
Soon after that horrible day, as I was clearing out Eric’s apartment, I found a package wrapped for Christmas underneath his bed.
It had a card tied to it in Eric’s handwriting. “To Francine,” it said.
My hands shook as I unwrapped the paper and opened the box. There was a 1976 Bicentennial cassette recorder he had found on eBay, along with a Barry Manilow cassette. It came with a note:
"You’ll never realize how happy you made me, oh Mandy Francine. Keep the faith, and remember you’re loved."
I remember, Eric, and I continue my fight.
Please visit my AIDS Walk page below so we can fight together.
The Chorus and a Hummer Help Me Stop the Drone
Test, test, test. One, two, three. Sweet darlings, I am running late this week, and I have no time to transcribe this audio tape, so I’m going to give it to those Camp people and ask them to transcribe it. You evil editors, take out the parts that may embarrass me. That’s all I ask.
I won’t go into my Christian duty here, talking about gay marriage and the dreadful way the world will end if we allow that to happen. I’ll allow you gay and lesbian Mormons, Catholics and Republicans do that for me. You’re my super-secret double agents. I love you boys and girls.
Start with this instead: I am the spiritual adviser for Loch Lloyd’s Alcoholics Anonymous club, and last week’s meeting was as dull as ever. Every two weeks, I must endure hours of monotone droning, and the only way I survive is by consuming two dirty martinis before each gathering. An hour before, I raise my glass with a hearty “Here’s a toast for the quitters” to honor their journey into sobriety, and more important, to the 12 steps of the Lord.
This past week, I nearly fell asleep in my folding chair as each person described his or her life without alcohol. Families reunited, jobs saved, marriages mended -- it was all terribly tedious.
Suddenly a few of my alcohol-engorged brain cells sparked with an answer of how to end the suffering of these dullards. I quickly ended the meeting and loaded the group into the Loch Lloyd Community Center’s stretch Hummer and had the driver navigate through Kansas City, ending at an event I knew would enliven these poor souls’ existences: the Saturday evening performance of the Heartland Men’s Chorus.
As my former alcoholics filed into the Folly, I saw them glance nervously at the audience crowding into the auditorium. There were mostly bald and graying Caucasian men, their mothers and minimally overweight sisters. I smiled as I realized I was at an event you could take the whole family to. Here in Kansas City, only gay men and people of Asian heritage take Grandma on their romantic dates. You gay boys are so good to Mama!
But all the chorus did was sing and spark controversy and protest the lack of civil rights. Where’s the fun in that? However, they projected images and words on a transparent screen in front of the chorus and that was a brilliant move. Two reasons: 1. It let the audience see movies and the chorus at the same time, and 2. It reduced the glare from a bald spot or two on stage.
On a side note, that transparent screen I was talking about? As gay men know, it is called a “scrim.” I had to make that clear, because some of the lesbians in the audience thought it was a softball safety net, and the grandma sitting behind me thought she had cataracts.
My sober friends screamed and clapped all the way back to Loch Lloyd, loving their first experience with the gays. I have to say I was bit proud of opening their eyes to the world. I was even happier when someone slipped me a sip of brandy.
Brandy is candy, but liquor is quicker. How do I turn this recorder off? Hey driver, stop at the Quik Trip, I gotta go ... (static … click).
Francine offers her slightly skewed viewpoint on issues in the Kansas City metropolitan area’s LGBT community in each issue ofCamp. And since you’re asking, yes, she’s a fictional character. Well, you asked.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.