Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blagojevich Picks Obama Successor

Wow, this is incredible. What hubris! I'm surprised Blagojevich got anyone to agree to be appointed by him. I'd think everyone would be afraid of his taint. Defiant Governor Picks Obama Successor

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This way to good TV on Christmas

The Brits actually have good TV on Christmas. Otherwise known as the Dr. Who Christmas specials, being shown on BBCAmerica today starting at 4 pm EST. There's a brand new one showing in the UK today, but no plans to air that here and I don't have any info on how to watch it online yet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NY Times Prints Fake Letter from Mayor of Paris Blasting Caroline Kennedy

Yesterday I thought about mentioning a letter to the New York Times from the Mayor of Paris which criticized Caroline Kennedy for trying to get appointed as Hillary Clinton's successor in the Senate. I thought it was amusing that the Mayor of Paris was so vociferous about this issue. The letter talked about political dynasties. I'm still irked about this whole thing, as it seems like she feels she's entitled to be a Senator without paying her dues. Anyway, today the New York Times reported that the letter was a hoax! Hahaha. Here's the fraudulent letter and the Editor's Note

Of course, Hillary Clinton didn't really pay her dues either when she ran for NY Senator. That was the first elective office she ever ran for. On the other hand, she'd at least been a public figure and a prominent attorney for a long time. Kennedy has been basically a private person, although apparently she's been very successful at raising money for the New York public schools. (I'm sure her children didn't attend them, though.) And it's been pointed out that several of the other people mentioned as being in the running for the Senate position also are part of political families in New York (most prominently, Andrew Cuomo, son of Mario Cuomo, the long-time governor of New York).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Come January, I'll Be Watching TV

January TV I'm Looking Forward To:

* The L Word - Final Season. For some reason, Showtime has let out that a major character is killed and I won't say who on the extremely slim chance that anyone reading this actually watches The L Word. Suffice it to say that it's the character I hate, so I'm thrilled. This is a pretty silly show, all things considered, but it's fun and soapy and the only decent TV show about lesbians. (There are a couple of other ones that aren't very good at all.) The characters are completely inconsistent and their personalities seem to change every episode, and there are way too many fluffy dresses for a show about lesbians, but I wouldn't miss it.

The L Word

* 24 - I've already posted about this. Can't wait.

* Big Love - HBO. This is the show about a Mormon polygamous family, outwardly normal, living in the suburbs. It's a fascinating look at how the wives interact, the husband's relationship with the separatist cult in which he was raised, how the family deals with the "regular" world. I'm waiting, probably in vain, for two of the wives to get involved with each other. Haha.

* Flight of the Conchords - HBO. This show is about a quirky New Zealand folk-rock duo who've moved to New York City to make it big. Their manager works at the New Zealand consulate and they have ridiculous meetings that are like something out of Beckett. The boys navigate the city, love and their music "careers" in stylized, eccentric scenes that often devolve into 70's soul songs, yet contain convincing details about being young in New York. Their one fan is more like a stalker who hilariously shows up wherever they go. I love it.

Season 2 premiere episode here

Parents Foregoing Day Care in a Bad Economy

Yet more evidence that the US needs more government involvement in day care. The Washington Post yesterday reported that more parents are pulling their children out of day care because they can't afford it. Squeezed on All Sides, Parents Forego Day Care: Education, Safety Sacrificed in Fiscal Crunch Instead, they are leaving their children in potentially unsafe situations such as staying home alone or in unregulated day care. The negligence of this country with regard to children with working parents is astounding. It's sink or swim, everyone's left to their own, when the price of day care is astronomical. According to the article, even parents who get subsidies for day care are increasingly unable to afford it. (The article was somewhat vague on the source of these subsidies, which I wasn't even aware existed. Not sure if they're from city, county, state or federal government.) The health, safety and education of children should be a national priority, not something left to chance or the vagaries of the marketplace. Other industrialized countries find a way for society as a whole to bear the cost of children and not leave it to individual families. On the one hand, yes, children can be seen as an expensive and unnecessary accessory, but at the same time, they are the future. Improving their lives is an investment in the future, not to mention guaranteeing basic safety while parents are working. I hope the Obama administration plans to put some energy into solving our country's drastic work/life problems.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Very Crabby Christmas (Scrooge lives!)

crabby, crabby, crabby...that sums up my attitude these days. I think if I didn't have children, I'd just try to ignore Christmas (and Hannukah, which we also celebrate). I find it hugely annoying. I'm not sure why. I think part of it is because it just sucks up all the energy, every thing and every body, EVERYTHING, is taken up by Christmas. Now it starts right after Halloween and goes into high gear after Thanksgiving, giving us weeks and weeks of all Christmas, all the time. In my opinion, it should start no more than two weeks before, then I might actually appreciate and enjoy the season, instead of just enduring it.

I don't even do that much for it. I grudgingly put up a tree, this year artificial because I can't be bothered to deal with a live one (not after last year - hauling it inside from the top of the car, drifts of needles, hand sawing it to even out the bottom, water spilling, cats drinking yucky piney water; yes, the smell is nice, but is it worth it?). I wait until the last minute to buy gifts. We might or might not get around to doing a card, which invariably ends up being a New Year's card. ( Yeah, we're totally lame.) Only 6 more days to go, as my son keeps reminding me. I get the gleeful daily countdown from him, me grimacing and glaring in response.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Truth is Stranger than Fiction: random odd news

* Caroline Kennedy interested in Hillary Clinton's N.Y. Senate Seat

For some reason, I find this annoying. Is she qualified for Senator? Does every Kennedy have to run for office? She’s a lawyer – so is everyone. She’s on a bunch of boards, she’s written a few books that don’t sound very weighty or important. Her main qualification seems to be that she’s JFK’s daughter. This quote sums it up: "United States Representative Gary Ackerman, a Queens Democrat, said last week that he did not know what Ms. Kennedy’s qualifications were, “except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo.”" Trivia note: she went to a private high school in my home town. I recall seeing her once with long, shaggy 70's hair parted in the middle.

* Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoe at Bush and Denounces Him on TV as a "Dog" I'ts hard to know what more to say about this, except a giant LOLOL. But I actually like Bush's plug for free speech: "He also called the incident a sign of democracy, saying, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves,” as the man’s screaming could be heard outside." Reaction among Iraqis was varied, as this N.Y.Times article thoroughly documents.

Dick Cheney says Guantanamo should stay open as long as the "war on terror" continues. As victory in the "war on terror" is undefineable, which Cheney admits ("Nobody knows [when the "war on terror" will end], I guess that means forever. He also doesn't think harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding went too far.

McCain now says he can't promise to support Palin for president . Just further evidence that his pick of Palin for VP was pure politics and he really didn't think she was qualified to be president.

First bees, now acorns. More environmental creepiness: a shortage of acorns in some areas of the East Coast. (Still plenty where I live.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Broccoli-loving cat

As a cat lover, this cracks me up. I've never personally witnessed a cat that likes vegetables of any sort.

Friday, December 12, 2008

L Word Funny

If you're not familiar with The L Word on Showtime, this character, Shane, is supposed to be the more "butch" of the regular cast of lesbian characters. And therein lies the joke.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Shoe Fairy

This totally cracks me up. tencrush on LiveJournal posted this along with her discussion of the stuff in Straight Actors and Gay Kissing, below, as an antidote to all of the rampant homophobia in American media. If you didn't know, this is Neil Patrick Harris, who's openly gay, and he's playing The Shoe Fairy on Sesame Street! (God, I hate that phrase, but unfortunately, we have to distinguish openly gay people from closeted ones. Sigh. I can't wait until it's an anachronism.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Hampshire Suspends Civil Jury Trials

This is kind of amazing. Civil jury trials will be suspended for a month in New Hampshire to save $73,000. Surely there's another way of saving this money. On the one hand, does one month make that much difference to the parties? On the other hand, "it could have a harsh impact on plaintiffs, many of whom have already waited years for a judgment in their case," says Ellen Shemitz, executive director of the New Hampshire Association for Justice, apparently the state's trial attorney organization. I imagine it will have an impact on cases that don't yet have trials scheduled also, simply slowing down the pace of litigation. Maybe it's time for New Hampshire to institute an income tax, if it can't even provide a reliable judicial system.

Straight Male Actors and Gay Kissing

Amusing article about male actors who've had to kiss other men in movies, focusing on James Franco, who plays Harvey Milk's boyfriend in the new biopic, "Milk". Why Can't a Kiss Be Just a Kiss? This article by Hank Stuever, who's always funny, talks about how such male actors are always grilled incessantly about "what it's like" to kiss another man (shock! horror!). And that they invariably must hate it, and that "a gay kissing scene must be the worst Hollywood job hazard that a male actor could face". The assumption is that everyone, including the audience, is totally grossed out. Yet, it's not that funny to gay people. The article quotes Corey Scholibo, entertainment editor for The Advocate, a gay magazine: "At a certain point, the joking about it...just isn't funny anymore...And it's disappointing for gay people. [especially since Prop 8 - paraphrasing]."

The article points out that no one ever asks gay actors what it's like to have to kiss women when they're playing a role. And I have the perfect clip of a gay actor making this very point. This is John Barrowman talking about Torchwood, which features a few male/male kisses, about which the straight actors are quizzed repeatedly (he's the only gay actor on the show). Barrowman makes the point that no one ever asks him what it's like for him to kiss a woman.

And here's an interview with Gareth David-Lloyd, a straight actor who plays Ianto Jones, the love interest of Barrowman's character on Torchwood. He has a refreshingly non-homophobic attitude.

Part of what sets 'Torchwood' apart from 'Doctor Who' is the fluid sexuality of each of the characters, and the matter-of-fact same-sex relationship that Gareth's character, Ianto, enjoys with John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness.

The relationship has translated into a large gay fanbase for Gareth, including a spot on's annual Hot 100 List. When I bring up the list, Gareth's eyes light up mischievously. "I did beat Brad Pitt and David Beckham. Just for the fucking record."

Not too shabby for a man who wasn't even on last year's list.

He's also very proud to be known as a gay icon, even though he's straight. "As a straight man, I'm just as flattered being a gay icon as I would be being a straight icon or whatever," he shrugs. "I'm of a mindset and philosophy that same sex relationships just aren't a fucking issue for me."

To his credit, he doesn't shy away from the subject; in fact, he's pretty passionate about making his opinion known. "It's not as much of an issue [in the U.K.] at all. I don't get it, I don't understand why it's controversial, I don't understand why it's anyone's business or why it becomes anyone's problem where you stick your dick," he states, with bracing candor. "Because it's not an issue for me, I don't really see us as pioneers. If we are viewed as pioneers, I just feel sorry for the people that are just coming 'round, because the wankers should have grown up much longer ago.

"There's nothing wrong with [two men kissing] and the fact that people are interested in [Jack and Ianto's] relationship – I'd like that to be because of the chemistry. That's the reason I want it to be popular, not because, oh my God, it's a SciFi show with a gay relationship. I know people are going to be like that, but because it's not an issue for me, I sort of haven't got time for people it is an issue for."

Trailer for "Milk", which has gotten fantastic reviews:

Here's Franco on the David Letterman Show, in which he now famously kisses Dave on the cheek and talks about kissing Sean Penn. Funny quotes: "I never dreamed that I'd be kissing Spicoli." (Sean Penn played the stoner Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"); Dave says, "We're registered at Target."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review of "24 Redemption"

I mentioned "24 Redemption" as something I was looking forward to watching in November. I finally got around to watching it last night. Wow. It was fantastic. Riveting from the first shot. Completely absorbing. At first, I was a bit taken aback by the scenes of children being brutally forced to become soldiers in a fictional African country. But this is the reality in some places, and it made for some gripping scenes. You soon find out that Jack Bauer, the hero of "24", is hiding out at a boy's school being run by an old spy friend of his. I won't give away the plot, but you come to empathize with the boys and Jack's need to protect them. The U.S. Congress has issued a subpoena for Jack to testify about mistreatment of prisoners and Jack is trying to avoid the subpoena. (Jack? mistreat prisoners? no way. LOL) I was quickly reminded of what I love about "24," which is watching Jack get out of one ridiculous situation after another. It's nothing for Jack to single-handedly get rid of 10-15 heavily armed men. At one point, some bad guys are torturing Jack to get information. Clearly, they don't know Jack, because that is impossible.

The story shifts between Africa, where Jack, his friend, and the boys struggle for safety, and the U.S., where a new president is about to be sworn in. The American scenes are wonderfully intriguing, with lots of mysterious shenanigans by behind-the-scenes schemers. There's a great scene between the president-elect (played by Cherry Jones) and the current president (played by Powers Booth), in which Booth sort of awkwardly hands over the reins of power to Jones. Booth has a great voice (he was great in this role, which he played in last season) and Jones is perfect as the new president. She conveys wisdom, power and naivete all at the same time. Great stuff.

There are interesting contrasts between the inauguration scene and Africans trying to get into the American embassy to escape a civil war. The Americans are definitely not always the good guys in this prequel.

This 2 hour prequel did the job for me. I absolutely can't wait for the new season to begin in January.

Watch "24 Redemption" here. It looks way better on the website than it did on my crappy old TV.

Here's the trailer for Season 7:

Truth is Stranger than Fiction: random odd news

* Fran Dreschler considering Clinton's New York Senate seat Remember "The Nanny"? If she becomes a senator, that spells that end of televised Senate sessions. (her voice is the opposite of dulcet and soothing.)

* Proposed Bailout of U.S. Auto Industry involves a "car czar" - giggle. How ironic that the administration that was so obsessed with privatizing government functions is now forced to practically nationalize entire segments of the economy.

* D.C. Council Passes "emergency" legislation to allow bars to stay open until 5 a.m. during Inauguration Week I guess alcohol keeps the economy going, or nothing says "important historical moment" like staying up all night getting completely pissed.

Scene at Blagojevich arrest this morning

Originally uploaded by gingerbydesign

This is shocking: IL Gov. arrested on corruption charges

FBI: Blago wanted payoff to give Obama advisor Senate seat; Press Conference details here

If you recall, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, was the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame investigation, who successfully prosecuted Scooter Libby for perjury. Wikipedia entry on Patrick Fitzgerald

Update: Blagojevich is saying he's not going to resign. Jeez, what an idiot. But he does have impressive hair. (photo by taekwonweirdo on flickr

Video of Fitzgerald's press conference:

Barney Frank Doesn't Do Chick Magnets

I heard this on the radio and thought it was funny.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Elvis Costello has a talk show!

I'm completely fascinated with the fact that Elvis Costello now has a talk show on the Sundance Channel. Spectacle: Elvis Costello on Sundance Unfortunately, I currently don't get the Sundance Channel, but I'm switching cable providers soon and I'm hoping I'll have Sundance with the new provider. You can watch clips of his interviews at the previous link, and a sample is below. It seems that he's interviewing musicians (Elton John, Lou Reed, The Police), and Bill Clinton (!), of all people.

I've loved Elvis Costello since he made it big in the late 70's as part of the New Wave scene, sporting a kind of geeky Buddy Holly look. He writes wonderful, tuneful songs with clever, articulate lyrics. Listen to Elvis Costello at I've only seen him perform live once. I'll always regret not seeing him when he came to perform at my college in 1978, right about the time he made it big. My favorite albums are his first, My Aim is True, Imperial Bedroom, Trust, and Almost Blue. Gossip Note: He's married to Diana Krall, a fantastic jazz musician.

Follow-up on Melamine in Formula: Trace Amounts Found in U.S. Formula

Awhile back I posted an entry about melamine in Chinese dairy products, including infant formula and how a decrease of breastfeeding in China had exacerbated the problem. Decrease of breastfeeding in China Recently the Food and Drug Administration announced it had found trace amounts of melamine in infant formula produced in the United States. Melamine Traces Found in U.S. Infant Formula While alarming, experts do not believe melamine is harmful to infants in the small amounts found in formula. The melamine in U.S. formula came from contact with melamine-containing products. It wasn't deliberately put in the formula to up its protein content, as it was in China. This is an excellent article from WebMD on the issue. FAQ: Melamine in U.S. Baby Formula However, no one really knows for sure if these amounts of melamine are harmful. Experts are making their best guess. Furthermore, the same amounts were found in all U.S. formula brands, so switching brands won't make any difference in the amount of melamine in the formula. Finally, melamine can be harmful even in trace amounts if combined with certain other chemicals. This is yet another argument for women to breastfeed if at all possible.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Media Consumption Fail

Why haven't the entries in "Media I'm Consuming Now" in the sidebar changed since I put that section up over a month ago? argh. No, I haven't seen anything new movies or finished any books since then. Cripes. Unless you count "Affinity" below. I'm still reading "The Indian Clerk", which turns out to be about real-life Cambridge mathematicians. When did David Leavitt become fascinated with math? (which I hate, by the way) But it's a very well-written book. The Indian clerk of the title is a math genius who writes to a Cambridge math don and is recruited to come to Cambridge to further his genius ways. Takes place in the very early 1900's. I'd enjoyed David Leavitt's earlest books, which were primarily about young gay guys in the US as I dimly recall. And, yes, the Cambridge don is gay. The "clerk" has just arrived in England and is adjusting. We'll see what happens.

(Julie knows what I've been reading instead, LOL.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


This needs some serious updating. I blew the Nat'l Blog Posting Month due to some weird black hole of demotivation that sucked me in plus another project I was trying to finish. Ah well. I've got a bunch of ideas for posts and will start putting things up tomorrow. Right now I'm watching Affinity, a 2008 adaptation of a Sarah Waters novel. Affinity

In 19th century England, an upper class woman begins visiting a woman's prison to uplift its residents and escape the restrictions of her life. She becomes obsessed with an inmate who claims to be a medium. Sarah Waters is one of my favorite novelists. She writes lesbian historical fiction. Even if you don't care about the lesbian content, her books are excellent historical novels, from the picaresque to the suspenseful. Her other novels include Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and The Night Watch.
All but "The Night Watch" take place in 19th century England. "The Night Watch" takes place in London during World War II. I've been hoping for another novel from her for ages. "Tipping the Velvet" and "Fingersmith" have also been adapted for television. In the US, they were both shown on LOGO, which is also airing "Affinity".

Wow, you can get "Fingersmith" from Amazon for only .64!

Review of Affinity on

Interview with Sarah Waters about the film here

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Defend Equality - Love Unites

Love this. Created by Shepard Fairey.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Star Trek Trailer

I grew up with the original Star Trek TV show, which I have fond memories of. The Tribbles! But I've never been interested in any of the subsequent Star Trek movies or shows. (I may have seen a movie in the 70's, not sure.) Until now. J.J. Abrams is directing a re-make, set to come out in May 2009. Abrams was the creator of Alias, Lost, and Fringe, among other TV shows. Somehow, this version looks a lot more compelling than any of the other millions of Star Trek entertainment products that have come out since the 60's.

Either that or I'm morphing into a middle-aged scifi geek (see sidebar about Torchwood obsession and TV shows I'm watching which include Dr. Who, Fringe and Stargate Atlantis).

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Trailer

Just for fun. Brand new.

Superficial Me/ Hillary Clinton

Why do I start losing interest in politics as soon as the election is over? My eyes are starting to glaze over when I look at the political headlines. Apparently I'm one of those superficial people only interested in the horse race. Sigh.

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Well, this is very interesting. Somehow I hadn't anticipated Obama would appoint her to his cabinet. And in such an important position! I guess we all have to hope flying into Yugoslavia under non-existent gunfire was adequate preparation. Thomas Friedman had an interesting column about how the best secretaries of state had very close relationships with the president they served, such that other countries would know that whatever the Secretary of State said was the president's position, that the SoS had the president's full backing. He wondered whether Obama and Hillary Clinton could have such a relationship. Madam Secretary?, November 18, 2008. I guess we'll find out.

French Women Don't Put 7 week Olds in Day Care

Yet another article about the wonders of French maternity benefits. The United States provides few maternity benefits compared to other developed nations. The only thing our government provides is 12 weeks off of work. No salary. The law guarantees that you will have a job to return to, but it doesn't have to be the same one you had. It's supposed to be comparable, but that seems like something businesses could fudge and would be hard to enforce. What this means in practice is that many mothers have to go back to work as soon as medically possible, which means six weeks after birth. This results in 7 week old babies in day care, which I witnessed when my son was briefly in day care as a (much older) baby. This is just wrong. A baby that young shouldn't be separated from its mother. Many developed countries give maternity benefits up to a year or more after the birth! Some pediatricians recommend that a baby be with its mother full time for at least a year. Preferably nursing. Returning to work quickly also makes it more difficult to continue breast feeding and reduces the mother's incentive to begin breastfeeding at all.

French people strongly support the extensive maternity benefits provided by the French government. These benefits are phenomenal compared to the United States: "Taken together, a mother of two calculated, the various programs of financial support can rise to more than $800 a month, plus the value of the public schooling for babies [available for free at age 3]. A more recent measure has made it possible for mothers of three children to take off up to three years while receiving about $600 a month, in addition to the usual child-support payments." (emphasis added)

We can't even get guaranteed paid maternity benefits for a measly three months in this country. This is really one of my pet peeves. This is because of the power of business over our government. If business doesn't want it, it's unlikely to happen. (another pet peeve)

With Each French Birth, A Dividend from the State


Fla. Teen Commits Suicide with Live Web Audience, A.P.
"A college student committed suicide by taking a drug overdose in front of a live webcam as some computer users egged him on, others tried to talk him out of it, and another messaged OMG in horror when it became clear it was no joke. Some watchers contacted the Web site to notify police, but by the time officers entered Abraham Biggs' home — a scene also captured on the Internet — it was too late...
As police entered the room, the audience's reaction was filled with Internet shorthand: "OMFG," one wrote, meaning "Oh, my God." Others, either not knowing what they were seeing, or not caring, wrote "lol," which means "laughing out loud," and "hahahah."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Funny quote from Stephen Colbert

"From now on, if a gay person in California wants to get hitched, they will do it the way God wants: to Liza Minnelli."
Liza Minnelli famously married and divorced two gay men.

50 Sexiest Movies Ever: are any gay?

Entertainment Weekly (EW) this week has lists of "The 50 Sexiest Movies Ever" and "25 Sexiest TV Shows on DVD". Do any of their choices have gay content? Let's see. Of the movies, I've seen 30 out of the 50. (Warning: lots of photos here.)

- #7 "Y Tu Mama Tambien": I still haven't seen this, but it's on my list. EW describes the sexiest moment: "A drunken boisterous celebration escalates into a sensuous threeway. As Mercado (a woman) heads south of the border, the guys unexpectedly - and passionately- kiss." Score!
Flixster - Share Movies

- #20 "Mulholland Drive": another one I never got around to seeing. Sexiest moment: "Sweet Betty (Naomi Watts) invites amnesiac Rita (Laura Elena Harring) to cuddle, and their good-night peck leads to more. Betty whispers, "Have you ever done this before?"".
Flixster - Share Movies

- #29 "Bound" - OK, I did see this one! Sexiest moment: "[Jennifer] Tilly shows [ex-con handywoman Gina] Gershon that she, too, is extremely useful with her hands."
Flixster - Share Movies

- #30 "Maurice"; I'm not sure I would have included this one. (I actually own the DVD of this one.) I previously described Maurice's relationship with Clive, played by Hugh Grant, as bloodless. Clive is very repressed and refuses to do almost anything. Sexiest moment (according to EW): "Alone in the dorms, Maurice and Clive stroke each other's hair before nuzzling into their first embrace." That's pretty much all they do. Maurice's involvement with a hot gamekeeper (yes! a gamekeeper! those English) is much more satisfying on that score.

Flixster - Share Movies

- #39 "The Talented Mr. Ripley"; I did see this, and I loved it. Starred Jude Law and Matt Damon. Sexiest Moment: "...when Tom (Damon) and Tom (Law) play a simple game of chess - over a bathtub, with Law naked inside - every move is an advance and a rebuff. Nothing that steamy ever ends well."
Flixster - Share Movies

- #47 "Kissing Jessica Stein": I saw this one too, but I wouldn't include it on this list. Interesting, but not great. I'd give it a B. Sexiest Moment: "Hoping to get lucky, two lunkheads approach the ladies at a restaurant and proceed to extol the virtues of girl-on-girl action - all while Helen secretly fondles Jessica's thigh under the table." Umm, I don't even remember that, that's how much of an impression it made. I think part of the problem was Jessica really didn't give off any lesbian vibe at all and the whole relationship seemed forced and awkward. Just look at this picture.
Flixster - Share Movies

- #49 "Yossi & Jagger": Haven't heard of this one before. Now I want to see it. Israeli soldiers in a "less tormented version of Brokeback Mountain's Jack and Ennis". Sexiest Moment: "The guys go at it, fully clothed, on a snowy hillside. Because we see mostly close-ups of their faces as they make out, joke, and laugh, what's sexy is their sweet delight in one another."
Flixster - Share Movies

- (arguably) #50 "300": no gay content described, but the aesthetics lean that way.
Flixster - Share Movies

So there's quite a few movies with gay content on their list!

Now, what about the TV shows? They have fewer here. Conspicuously missing: "Queer as Folk".

- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (Willow/Tara)
- "Six Feet Under" (David/Keith)

- "The L Word" (naturally)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Real Women Eat Fries

McDonald's recruits real moms to convince other moms that fast food is OK. There's nutrition in french fries! Really! They're full of potassium! This is almost a direct quote from this article. Moms volunteer to go behind the scenes to see how McDonald's produces its food and report back on a McDonald's website. The company is betting on recent evidence that the public believes "people like themselves" more than experts or journalists. (Apparently the same sentiment that revved up red-meat Republicans at Sarah Palin rallies.) Among the amazing discoveries the women made: Egg McMuffins contain actual eggs! Salads are bagged by plastic-gloved hands! "McDonald's is gambling that even if the moms say negative things -- one said the food contains too much sodium -- the company will win points for transparency." Too much sodium? Naah, I don't believe it.

McDonald's Courts Moms as Fast Food Emissaries

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Consequences of Gay Marriage

(snagged from gypsylady at livejournal)

This is what change means

In Surprise Speech, Obama Promises Global Leadership On Climate Change (includes video of speech)

What a relief to have a president who recognizes the dangers of global warming and is willing to do something about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Proposed "Provider Conscience" Regulation Endangers Access to Medical Care

The Bush Administration is attempting to pass into law a regulation that allows health care workers to refuse to provide any service that they object to on moral or religious grounds. Protests Over a Rule to Protect Health Providers, New York Times, November 18, 2008. According to the New York Times, a "torrent" of objections has been raised, including one from two commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency with jurisdiction over employment discrimination claims. There are several problems with the proposed regulation. One is that it is redundant. Current federal law already protects employees from discrimination on the basis of religion. Employers must make reasonable accommodation to religious beliefs. There is a long-standing body of law on this point that could be contradicted by the proposed regulation, throwing the law in this area into chaos. The following quote succinctly describes some of the other problems:

From NOW (Nat'l Organization for Women) letter to Michael Leavitt, Sec'y of Health & Human Services, concerning proposed regulation:
The reason advanced for the proposed regulation is redundant. Current federal conscience clauses already protect medical professionals who refuse to provide treatment and services based on their religious objections. The proposed regulation is vague. It omits any definition of abortion entirely, thereby inviting providers to use personal interpretation and political views (including the view that birth control and contraceptives are the same as abortion) when determining women's access to medical care, family planning and contraceptives. The proposed regulation is hostile. It has no regard for women's autonomous ability to make fundamental decisions about their healthcare and family formation and allows the views of health care providers to trump the religious, moral and ethical decisions that their female clients and patients have made.

The proposed regulation is harmful. It undermines health care workers' ability to offer the very services for which they are funded and it will discourage doctors and health care clinics from providing the full range of legal, medically-necessary reproductive health services for fear of losing federal funds.

The proposed regulation is also of particular concern to gays and lesbians, who could easily be denied health care based on the provider's "moral or religious beliefs". This has certainly happened to lesbians seeking artificial insemination, among other things. Critics: Proposed 'Provider Conscience' Regulation Threatens Public Health, The Advocate, Sept. 27, 2008.

This article describes some other situations in which almost anyone might be denied appropriate health care under the proposed regulation.
Proposed federal 'Provider Conscience' Rule dangerous

Obama is opposed to the regulation and has said that he will rescind it if it becomes law. That will take three to six months, however. (NY Times)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Clever clues from crabbyanne

1. Never bring homemade muffins for a preschool snack. Especially if they have extraneous weird substances like blueberries. Stick with the easy, cheap Goldfish crackers and raisins, which were way more popular than those homemade muffins, even after careful refinement to find the kind most kids would eat. (Mini buttermilk spice muffins with NO fruit, nuts or other crazy lumpy additions, if you want to know.)

2. Don't waste time hand-sewing felt circles on your child's cat costume to make it look like your actual cat, Jasper, when it will be covered up by a sweater and coat because it's too cold. The important cat signifiers are ears and tail. Not carefully sewn on felt circles that no one can see. Particularly when your child tears off her costume in a mysterious frenzy to be naked in the living room, in the middle of the day, for no reason, causing aforementioned carefully sewn felt circles to rip off.

3. Don't buy Safeway's new store-brand "green" dishwasher soap. It leaves a greasy film on kid's plastic cups, requiring them to be handwashed after being washed in the dishwasher. Yucky.

4. Fall: leaves, pumpkins, Halloween, cider. And every weekend ruined because at least one person in our family has been sick or traveling. Fun times!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Condoleeza Rice Spruces Up for Private Life?

(By Jason Decrow -- Associated Press)

Whoa! What happened to Condoleeza Rice? She's quite the glamour puss here. Love the hair, love the biceps, baby. Wow, this woman looks fantastic. She must be looking forward to getting out of the Bush Administration. My partner said, "Now she can come out." LOL And then I said, "Yeah, she can hook up with Wanda Sykes". Hard to believe the woman is 54.

She's accepting an award from Glamour Magazine.
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was honored in part for persuading the United Nations to recognize rape as a weapon of war. Rice accepted her award wearing a chocolate brown and gold sleeveless gown that revealed the payoff of her disciplined workout regimen: those arms, those biceps, those impressive 54-year-old guns flexing as she stood onstage holding her award!

Her hair, twisted into an updo, was as spectacularly shiny as shampoo commercial tresses. Frankly, she might have been glowing -- in an "I'm going back to Cali" sort of way."

Glamourous Achievement: A Definite Do, by Robin Givhan, Washington Post, November 16, 2008

I didn't know she'd helped convince the UN to recognize rape as a weapon of war. Nice work, Condie. (And I thought she'd cut her hair short, but apparently not. I think she should. Especially if she's going to snag Wanda.)

Bond, Gay Bond

This seems germane to my previous post about Daniel Craig's speculation that James Bond could some day have a gay love scene, and that it's a great idea. New James Bond. (Daniel Craig has played James Bond in the last two movies.)

TV John: I want to be the next 007, The Sun, November 15, 2008.

Here's the brief text:

"Gay actor John Barrowman yesterday revealed he wants to take over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.
The Torchwood star, 41, auditioned for the role before Pierce Brosnan became the womanising spy in 1994 — but was told he was too young.
John said: “They really liked me but said to come back in 20 years.
“Maybe in a few years time...who knows?”
When asked on radio if he would play 007, he said: “Bring it on baby.”
But one Bond nut, Andy Lloyd, said Barrowman, who married his gay lover two years ago, was “not macho enough”."

I'd like to know if Andy Lloyd has seen Torchwood, in which Barrowman seems plenty macho. If Barrowman can't play Bond, maybe he could play Daniel Craig's gay lover. But that would probably melt the screen.

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick: Testosterone Rules Sunday Daytime TV

(enough with the Ian Dury references, which you probably don't get unless you're old enough to have listened to pop music in the early 80's)

We Watch So You Don't Have To: Sunday edition

I drive past four churches this morning, parking lots packed, to reach my chosen place of worship, Gold's Gym. As usual, I take up my position in front of the eight TV screens hovering in space above the ranks of cardio machines. Sunday's a bit different from weekday mornings. Not a spatula or makeup tool in sight. No weight loss stories, no relationship advice. No cute young guys, unless they're football players. What do we have instead? Football on three screens, Meet the Press on another (Katty Kay of the BBC - I love her! That's her in the photo), Fox News, CNN and local programming featuring "Export Licensing: Procedures" (suitable for Washington, D.C., city of nerds). In other words, testosterone rules. The women must all be at church.

Fox News has a new tag line. As we all know, it was formerly "Fair and Balanced", but was hardly that. Now it's "America's News HQ". It seems more than a little suspicious that it has a new tag line right when Obama wins the election. Was "Fair and Balanced" sullied by too close an association with Republicans now on the downswing? (BTW, the Fox News website sucks big time. Time for some re-tooling, I think.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes comes out as a result of Prop 8 Interesting fallout from Prop 8. I made the mistake of looking at the comments to this article on Yahoo!News. They were filled with virulently homophobic religious people ranting about how their "rights" were taken away by the CA judges that declared it was unconstitutional to deny gay people the right to marry. Among other hateful things. Really awful and depressing. I posted a comment asking them if they'd like to come to my house and tell my children their parents are going to hell because God doesn't approve of our relationship. Now I have a really bad taste in my mouth - ugh.

Daytime TV update

More Booty Pop Panties! The Today Show featured them again on Friday! Incredible. This time they had footage from the Jay Leno show with the caption Jay is obsessed with Booty Pop Panties. Booty Pop Panties' publicist is certainly earning their money.

Fox News: what a difference 10 days makes. Headline on ticker of Fox News: Is Barack Obama making it cool to be an American again? I thought he was a terrorist-friending wealth-distributing Muslim socialist. Now he's the essence of Americana. Jeez.

Mormons Tipped Balance on Prop 8; Rant about Gay Marriage

The New York Times has a fascinating article today on how Mormons tipped the balance in Prop 8 getting passed. Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage. The Mormon church was afraid that Prop 8 would be defeated as the election drew closer. They poured resources into passing it and exhorted church members to get involved. They planned a whole campaign to get it passed, including door-to-door canvassing. What's interesting is that the plan expressly avoided mentioning gay people. Their focus was on being "pro-marriage", not anti-gay.

Their tactics shed some light on their thinking. Apparently they believe that God created marriage, and only between a man and a woman. If a potential voter expressed religious thinking, canvassers were to emphasize this point, and that Prop 8 supports marriage and isn't anti-gay. If potential voters expressed disinterest in the whole issue ("who cares? I'm not gay"), the counter arguments included hypothetical consequences such as churches losing tax-exempt status, or people being sued for their personal opposition to gay marriage, or school children being "taught" to support gay marriage.

Obviously, these arguments have a lot of problems. The one I have a big issue with is the idea that preventing gay people from marrying somehow helps straight people get or stay married. What's the logical causation there? How does one flow from the other? How does it effect straight people at all? It seems irrelevant. They seem to believe that allowing gay people to marry dilutes the potency of marriage for everyone. But that just makes no sense at all. Their argument fails at that point. I think the thing is, they believe God mandates marriage only between men and women. That's a matter of faith. You can't argue about faith. If your position is based on faith, there's just no where to go with that. You also can't convince people who don't share that faith. Unless you rely on irrational fears about gay people, which is exactly what they did. This is where all anti-gay marriage arguments end up.

And that brings me to my other point. They say that prohibiting gay marriage is pro-marriage and not anti-gay. They don't seem to be able to see that it must be anti-gay, by definition. Denying gay people the right to marry is denying a fundamental right that the Constitution guarantees for everyone else. It's akin to saying gay people can't have children. It's separating out gay relationships for separate and unequal treatment. If you believe gay people shouldn't be able to marry, you clearly believe that gay relationships are not equal to straight ones. That's "anti-gay". To deny this is hypocrisy, plain and simple. They're trying to argue that they have no problem with people being gay, as long as they don't try to get married. That is just bullshit.

Another point: if their goal is to support marriage and not be "anti-gay", wouldn't allowing gay people to marry actually support marriage? Our society traditionally sees marriage as the culmination of a romantic relationship, the basis for families, the ultimate expression of love for another person. You'd think that "pro-marriage" people would want more people to get married, not fewer. They're saying, it's fine to be gay, but we're going to deny you what our society says is the ultimate expression of love.

They also argue that their position is "pro-family". This is also utter crap. They don't seem to be aware of or care that gay people have families too. Denying gay people the right to marry is damaging for our children. As it stands, our families are not acknowledged by the law. If we have children, one parent may be unable to have a legal relationship with their own children. For example, in my own family, one parent is the legal parent of our two children, whereas the state in which we live denies the other parent the right to adopt one of the children. That parent is the legal parent to only one of our children. We would have to move to another state in order for that parent to adopt the second child. This kind of situation leaves our relationships vulnerable to hostile family members who might go to court to obtain custody of a child in case of a death or breakup. If we break up, the courts have no laws to apply in determining custody of children or other issues that arise when families break up. Courts have to wing it. We have to try to create a legal regime through powers of attorney, wills, and other kinds of legal contracts that aren't really adequate. Not to mention the problems that are created when one parent moves to another state that may have different laws about gay relationships or parenting. None of this is conducive to creating more secure outcomes for children. If gay people could marry, we would be covered by all the existing laws about adoption, divorce and child custody. Not to mention Social Security and other benefits that accrue to married couples and their children. How is denying gay families these legal protections pro-family? It makes absolutely no sense. Unless you believe that being gay is bad and you wish all gay people would just go away.

More on the argument that allowing gay marriage would mean children would be "taught" gay marriage in school: the basis of this argument is that children must be protected from knowledge of gay people, that being gay is some kind of contagious disease that can't be allowed to sully the innocence of children, that somehow the mere knowledge that there are gay people means children are finding out about sex prematurely. Because we all know that being gay means you're a sex maniac who wants to have sex with children. Aside from these ridiculous stereotypes about gay people, this denies the reality of gay families. Do the Mormons and other anti-gay marriage people think these children need to be protected from their own parents? Our children go to school with children with straight parents. These children meet our children, they meet us, they know that Johnny has two mommies or two daddies. They think nothing of it. Often, they wish they had two mommies! Sounds good to them. The "pro-marriage" people think that gay people all live in the Castro or Chelsea and have no contact with their innocent children. They are wrong. As the saying goes, we are everywhere. And their children aren't going to suddenly turn into sex-mad transvestites as a result. It all comes down to fear of gay people. (And I have ideas about why that is, but that will be delved into another time.)

Here's one of the ads that tried to scare people about gay marriage being "taught" in schools:

Here's another one that lays out all their arguments:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Funny cat pic

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

More of the ghey

Tomorrow, November 15, there will be protests nationwide at 1:30 EST against the passage of Prop 8 in California. Join the Impact. I hope this gets media attention. I won't be able to go to the one closest to me, unfortunately.

Also, here's a good video that reminds us of all the excellent reasons to protest:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Women Pay Much More for Independent Health Insurance

Women often pay up to 50% more than men for independent health insurance not offered by employers. Women Buying Health Policies Pay a Penalty, New York Times, October 29, 2008. I find this appalling. It simply seems wrong. Insurance companies naturally cite actuarial realities to justify this disparity. Women give birth, women go to doctors more. Not only is their insurance more costly, it often does not offer maternity coverage. A woman cited in the article was putting off having a child because it would cost her $8,000 out of pocket. In contrast, employers cannot legally charge women higher rates than men for the same insurance. It's considered sex discrimination. Shouldn't the same principle apply in the individual health insurance market? It's not like women get pregnant by themselves usually. Except for lesbians or single women using sperm donors, a man is involved when a woman has a baby. Moreover, there's a public interest in women getting prenatal care and giving birth to healthy babies. If insurance is too expensive, women are less likely to get prenatal care. I like this quote: "Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group that has examined hundreds of individual policies, said: “The wide variation in premiums could not possibly be justified by actuarial principles. We should not tolerate women having to pay more for health insurance, just as we do not tolerate the practice of using race as a factor in setting rates.”"

After this article was published, the New York Times ran an editorial arguing for elimination of gender-based price disparities. Gouging Women on Health Insurance

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Pink Triangles to Pink Lollypops

This is a very sad story. Every year on Veteran's Day, there's a ceremony to honor gay veterans at the grave of Leonard Matlovich, an Air Force sergeant who became front page news in 1975 when he came out to his superiors and was ejected from the military as a result. Gay Veterans Gather to Honor Their Own, Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2008. I remember when he was on the cover of Time magazine. Matlovich was not allowed to be buried in a military cemetery, even though he received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his combat service in Vietnam. A few gay veterans are buried nearby. This article vividly evokes the scene.

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3

Ah, the winds of change. Still reeling over the phrase "President-elect Obama" and here are some of the reasons. The Bush administration has gutted important constitutional provisions such as the Fourth Amendment and instituted torture as an official policy of the U.S. government. Today the Washington Post reports that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden expect the Obama administration to give them the boot "because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance". Top Two Officials in U.S. Intelligence Expect to Lose Jobs. High five!

And more: Guantanamo Closure Called Obama Priority. This article from today's Washington Post says that "Among the thorniest issues [regarding closing Guantanamo] will be how to build effective cases without using evidence obtained by torture, an issue that attorneys for the detainees will almost certainly seek to exploit." Well, duh. Yeah, just a little bit of a problem. Which is one of the reasons why it's not such a good idea to torture people. That's why American citizens are protected by the Fourth Amendment, which protects us against "unreasonable search and seizure," including "seizure" via physical torture. The article goes on to say that "Human rights advocates and some advisers expect the new administration to outlaw torture and enhanced interrogation techniques..." It's really pathetic that this has to be done. I think most people were under the impression until Bush came along that torture was already illegal. I've seen arguments that it has been illegal all along and that no additional legislation is necessary. But perhaps it's more a public relations necessity rather than a legally requirement. A clarification. The article discusses arguments for a special "national security court" rather than referring Guantanamo detainees to regular federal court for criminal prosecution. I suppose this would be different from the military tribunals that Bush already set up, in that it would be civil and not military. But I think any special court is suspect. The article quotes J. Wells Dixon, a staff lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents some detainees. " "What a national security court is designed for is to hide the use of torture and allow the consideration of evidence that is not reliable," he said." That's exactly right.

We Watch So You Don't Have To:
Another in a series of reports from the land of daytime TV

Yet another 45 minutes staring at 8 TV screens at the gym. Here's a useless product taking advantage of women's body image insecurities. The Today Show featured Booty Pop Panties. These are underpants with pads on the butt! Uh, how many women really need this kind of padding? What is the market? Yet in looking for a picture of them, I discovered that they've been featured on several daytime TV talk shows, such as The View, Regis and Kelly, and Rachel Ray. So weird. As is this ad from the Booty Pop company.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day; More on Prop 8

Today is Veteran's Day. There was a lot more traffic in my area today. There are many federal and military employees around here, so that makes sense. I went to the bank, forgetting it would be closed. Duh. If I ever knew that Veteran's Day commemorates the armistice of World War I, I forgot until I heard it on NPR today. How could I not know that? I'm in my 40's and have a history degree. Like I said, I may have known once upon a time, but loss of brain cells due to age or mind-altering substances wiped it out.

More on Prop 8 fallout today: Not surprisingly, lawsuits have been filed challenging the validity of Prop 8. Back to the courts again. Apparently the issue is a procedural one. Did Prop 8 amend or revise the California State Constitution? Legislative action is required to amend the constitution, whereas a proposition may revise it without any legislative action. This is what non-lawyers like to call a legal technicality. But you can see how important it is. According to the Washington Post, 18,000 marriages hang in the balance. Wow. That's a lot. Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged, Washington Post, November 10, 2008.

I'd like to know why Schwarzenegger is all of sudden vehemently pro-gay marriage. According to the Post, he said of Prop 8 opponents:
"They should never give up," he said in an interview on CNN. "They should be on it and on it until they get it done."
Schwarzenegger has been ambivalent on the issue, previously rejecting legislation allowing same-sex marriage and stating that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but he indicated Sunday that he is hopeful that the California Supreme Court will "undo" the measure."

It would've been more helpful if he hadn't rejected that legislation rather than just blabbing about being "on it and on it" now.

This is wonderful, moving, impassioned argument against Prop 8 by Keith Olbermann (thanks to Julie for the link):

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sarah Palin Gets Weirder and Weirder

Palin Blames Bush Policies for GOP Defeat, A.P., November 10, 2008. Ya think? Swift turn-around there.

Brain Dump: Lindsay Lohan, Happy and Gay; Prop 8 Fallout; Rachel Maddow

Brain Dump. Random interesting things. All gay related, it turns out.

I don't know if anyone's been following the Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson saga. Well, not really a saga, more a game of cat and mouse with the media. Lindsay's been slowly working her way round to acknowledging she's in a relationship with Ronson. I find these stories of celebrities coming out of the closet fascinating. Today this tidbit appeared on Yahoo!News: Lindsay Lohan Opens Up About her Relationship with Samantha Ronson. According to an interview in Harper's Bazaar, Lohan acknowledged she's been seeing Ronson "for quite some time," and that most of her family is supportive. The most amusing parts were that "when asked if she had previously "been with a girl" by Harper's, the actress replied, "I don't know, maybe." LOL Must have been before rehab. And this is totally cool:
"Lindsay said she does not consider herself a lesbian, but as for whether she thinks of herself as bisexual, she told the magazine, "maybe." "I don't want to classify myself," she continued. "First of all, you never know what's going to happen -- tomorrow, in a month, a year from now, five years from now. I appreciate people, and it doesn't matter who they are, and I feel blessed to be able to feel comfortable enough with myself that I can say that."
Of course, my prediction is, after she and Ronson break up, she'll be with a man.

Proposition 8 and other Anti-Gay Ballot Initiatives

This is one that requires some more research. These anti-gay ballot initiatives are a quadrennial favorite. Gah, when are they going to quit with this? The California one is the worst because it took away a right that had already been given, twice in the case of San Francisco. The actual text of the new law is: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in CA.” It's only a matter of time, folks. The hodge podge of gay marriage laws in this country is not going to last. You just can't have a couple of states here and there allowing same-sex marriages, a couple of other ones allowing some form of civil union or domestic partnership. As a legal matter, this is not going to work in the long run. That's why every state has laws recognizing traditional marriages performed in other states. It would be a legal nightmare if you didn't. And that's what will happen with same-sex marriages. How many decades it will take, who knows? But eventually it will be legal in every state, and the federal government will have to recognize it and give same-sex couples the same benefits and rights as traditional married couples. And now that more same-sex couples are having children, the complications from the crazy quilt of laws will get even more ridiculous. This is exactly why federal law pre-empts state law in some areas, because it makes no sense to have 50 different versions of laws covering the same topic (e.g. immigration).

Andrew Sullivan, gay conservative yet not-quite-Republican pundit (he supported Obama), has an encouraging entry about Prop 8 here: Prop 8: Chill.

Other interesting things about the fallout from passage of Prop 8 are the number of protests against the Mormon Church and some other churches in Southern California, Mormon Church Draws Protest over Marriage Act, New York Times, November 9, 2008, Prop 8 Protesters Target Mormon Temple in Westwood, Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2008, Thousands in Salt Lake City Protest LDS Stance on Gay Marriage, The Salt Lake Tribune, November 9, 2008 ; the effort to start a boycott of the State of Utah Utah Faces Boycott After Mormon Work for Prop 8, Associated Press, November 7, 2008; and the fact that African-Americans voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8. Gays, Blacks, Divided on Proposition 8: For many African-Americans, it’s not a civil rights issue., Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2008.

The boycott of the State of Utah strikes me as slightly absurd. The State of Utah is not the same as the Mormon church. Not everyone in Utah is a Mormon. Isn't it more likely to hurt random Utah residents rather than the Mormon church? Not sure about that one.

(This blog is ending up being a lot more about gay stuff than I expected, by the way.)

Rachel Maddow

Rachel, Rachel, how do I love thee, let me count the ways. To be honest, I haven't seen that much of her political talk show on MSNBC yet. But it's hard not to love this totally out, sharp as a tack, Rhodes Scholar, lefty-liberal TV and radio personality. She also has a show on Air America. She's gotten a ton of media lately: a profile in New York Magazine The Dr. Maddow Show, November 2, 2008, another profile in The Advocate, The New American Classic, and inclusion in Out magazine's Out 100: The Men and Women Who Made 2008 a Year to Remember, with a total glamour shot that makes her look like a 1940's movie star.

The first time I saw her on TV, before I knew anything about her, I knew she was a lesbian. It's pretty obvious. In the New York magazine article, she says that she always wears grey suits on TV so no one can say anything about what she wears, so discussion about her clothes won't detract from the content of the show. LOL. (so I'll make a comment about her make-up - sorry, Rachel.) They started her off with very pink, pale make-up, which didn't suit her. You can really tell that she isn't someone who normally wears make-up and The Advocate article confirmed that. They seemed to have improved that and the makeup is more subtle now. I'll never forget reading an article in The Washington Post about "the new face" of TV political pundits, where they mentioned several African-American and Latino commentators, and...Rachel Maddow. I thought, well, it must be because she's a lesbian. Nope. Because she's a young woman! They didn't mention the fact that she's a lesbian at all. (she's totally out, that's not the issue). I was shocked. It's fantastic to have an out lesbian have a successful political show on TV, and her sexuality isn't even an issue. (Also see "Ellen" and the defunct "Rosie" for similar.) I predict Rachel Maddow is going to be big for a long time to come.

Mini-plug for one of the objects of my obsession with the TV show Torchwood (see right sidebar), John Barrowman, who's also on the Out 100 list, with a similarly glamourous photo. John Barrowman in bed here, making fangirls and boys happy the world over. And I loved this Victor/Victoria shot of another Out 100 nominee, Diana Nyad, here. The Out photographers rock!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hot sauce kitty

Neo says, this food you're giving me just doesn't have the right kick. And when does the craps game begin?

Barack Obollywood video

This is pure brilliance. I wish I'd made it. (Thanks to Paige for the link.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

News and Notes from Pop Culture Land

Jon and Kate Plus 8

This is a show on TLC about a family with 8 children: 2 twins and sextuplets. It's their top-rated show. What is the appeal? I admit that I’ve never seen it. I would never watch a show in which parents have to deal with the logistics of 8 children. It sounds truly awful to me. There’s something deeply offensive about the whole idea. Are we supposed to be impressed with their fecundity? Do they travel in a school bus? According to Yahoo! TV, in the next episode
“The 10 Gosselins head south to Walt Disney World, a trip that takes more than 15 hours to travel through seven states.” (They live in Pennsylvania.) Why, oh why would I want to watch this? Sounds like a complete nightmare.

Apparently now the family is traveling to Hawaii so the parents can renew their marriage vows. There was a big advertisement for it on the back of Entertainment Weekly this week. Ugh.

TLC Jon & Kate Plus 8 website

Recap of Jon and Kate’s appearance on Oprah in 2/08

Review of the show in Entertainment Weekly

The World Unseen

This movie sounds interesting. Two women in 1950's South Africa become involved.

From the website:
In 1950's South Africa, apartheid is just beginning. Free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community in South Africa by running a café, a safe haven of laughter, music and home-cooked food; a ‘grey area’ for those who fall outside the strict ‘black and white’ rules of the apartheid-led government.

Café regulars include Amina’s feisty waitress Doris, her gentle ‘Coloured’ business partner Jacob and the sparky White local postmistress Madeleine. Long accustomed to the racial barriers of the country and its new laws, Madeleine and Jacob nevertheless share a budding attraction.

Miriam, on the other hand, is a doting mother to her children and a demure and subservient wife to her chauvinistic, frustrated husband, Omar. Quietly intelligent, Miriam has never assumed that she may have choices in life.

When Miriam meets Amina, their unexpected attraction throws them both off balance. Although Miriam manages to subdue her fascination with unconventional Amina, she finds herself slowly inspired to confront familiar and familial constraints. Shortly after their encounter Miriam moves to an isolated life in the country, but even here apartheid is placing its cruel footprint on society, and these injustices bring the two women together again, cementing the basis of their growing feelings.

Meanwhile Jacob decides to pursue a love affair of his own and he and Madeleine begin a tentative, touching relationship. But the best intentions of both are overcome by practical challenges and indignities of simply spending time together.

Even the fearless Amina, faced with the strength of her feelings and with the reality of Miriam’s situation, starts doubting herself. And Miriam finds herself making some courageous choices that will change her own life forever.

Using the stunning South African landscape and jazz tunes of the time, The World Unseen explores a system that divides white from black and women from men, but one that might just allow an unexpected love to survive

Although it has an interesting premise, the reviews haven't been very good. Hmmm, maybe one to watch on DVD.

Review in The Globe & Mail

Review in The New York Times

Nicholas Hoult Grows Up

Does anyone watch "Skins"? This is a British show, on BBCAmerica in the US, about a group of teenagers. Naturally, it's much more graphic and honest about teenagers' lives than anything on American TV. I quite like it. Nicholas Hoult plays the ringleader of the group in the first two seasons, somewhat of a Lothario, as well as someone willing to experiment with his gay friend (the blond boy in the photo above). Hoult played the boy in "About a Boy", starring Hugh Grant, a cute, enjoyable movie from 2002.

Nicholas Hoult in About A Boy, 2002

Well, Hoult has growed up. *pointing to picture below* Now comes news from, that Hoult will play a "sexually ambiguous" grad student who flirts with a gay professor played by Colin Firth in fashion designer Tom Ford's directorial debut (wtf?), an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's "A Single Man".ADuralde's blog. Whether Tom Ford turns out to be a good director or not, I don't care, I'll watch.

Now if we could just manipulate time and get an adult Hugh Grant and an adult Nicholas Hoult together at the same time and then meld them in an update of "Maurice" (in which Hugh Grant had a bloodless gay relationship with James Wilby in 1987). That would be interesting.

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

From The Onion. Too funny. (thanks, Julie, for sending this to me)

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are