Saturday, December 31, 2005

The 2005 That It Was

Technically, this part of the internet has it's birthday on January 15th, but here's the 2005 review as seen from December 30th. (I'm probably going to be drunk on plum wine on New Year's Eve.)

January: Astonishment at the A380; the beginning of a long obsession with analysing lyrics (starting with the double entendre heavy "It Hurts"); and a really long post about my late father.

February: Debauchery in Palm Springs; Melodifestivalen 2005 manages to confuse the living daylights out of my non-Swedish speaking self; and the beginning of my 180 degree turn on La Podolskaya and her grammatically incorrect but well-intended song about violence in American schools.

March: The delightfully trippy Spanish National Final and Semi-Final yields six interesting women: three of them are Phyllis Diller impersonators singing about husbands obsessed with cyberporn, the other three are a bunch of tone deaf hags who claim that the Sun has sound and screech about witchcraft. In my world, the Diller clones win, but it isn't my world...yet (and don't get me started on omnisexual "Don" Carlos Lozano); In another cruel twist of Eurovision fate, Stenchmark and his daft song about Las Vegas beat out Nanne's tour-de-force performance of "Håll om mig"; I had the first of many crackpot ideas about breaking up the US airlines; The ill-fated West Side Stadium push pissed me off.

April: Remember when the post-mortems were one paragraph long? How times have changed. Not much happened in April, all the national finals are over and it's rainy.

May: I went to the plastic surgeon and somehow still went ahead with the tummy tuck despite the trashy people in the waiting room; Sensenbrenner can go rot in hell, mk. I; the post-mortems take a decidedly carnal turn; ESC 2005's Qualifying Round makes me wonder just what does Europe see in two Latvian rentboys with guitars and funny voices; However, the Final at least gives us a win by Ada Nicodemou's Swedish cousin and a bunch of pervy referrals to this site; And the start of my mental breakdown as the recovery from hell commences.

June: FYI, I don't like John Patrick Shanley; I take some solace that I'm not the only one losing their ever-loving mind in June; Just what causes racism when it comes to picking sexual partners? And are we hard-wired for it?; Yahoo's Lesbian love-making group apparently likes my Norman Rockwell-esque fantasy for Pride; Spain gets gay marriage, the US gets LOGO...I'm not complaining about either but if that isn't an indicator of how slow things move in the US...

July: The Bold & The Beautiful succeeds in turning me out; The 200th post is an admittingly self-indulgent interview; FYI, Weathermen are fame whores; My mother's birthday trip to New York with a bunch of relatives sends me straight over to Splash with guest star Matthew Rush.

August: Apparently in 2038 I'm a father who got pregnant and a resident of new gay mecca Biloxi, Mississippi; By the way, we have President Butch in our future; the first appearance of Splash's (in)famous Alex; my hometown lets me down once again; and a picture is all I have to say about Hurricane Katrina.

September: The Kraynak/Wright murder brings out my inner tinhat; More drunken sex; For several weeks in September, I actually believed that Brian Ellner was earnest and not an opportunist; In case you didn't know already, I hate Michael Bloomberg, but I love Herb Kohl; Ah, La Kilgore, you were funny. I'll make sure to keep an eye out for you the next time I'm at a Virginia glory hole; Give to charity, just not Habitat for Humanity after their daft stunt at Rockefeller Plaza.

October: I love Philadelphia and one-letter psuedonyms; I see the light in respect to Brian Ellner, and call Jonathan Capehart out--and he responds no less; Noah's Arc makes me cry; Eric Braate's departure from Milwaukee's airwaves leaves a void in the most handsome man on Milwaukee television department.

November: Stephen & I go drinking and heckle lap dancers; My own version of "Vote or Die;" RIP Kitchen Confidential (and apparently Reunion and Killer Instinct as well); I hate Tyler Perry even more than I dislike John Patrick Shanley; Q Television comes to New York with it's chaotic self and makes me wonder when I'm going to get my own damn show; Sensenbrenner can rot in hell, mk. III; What do you do when you're in Wisconsin without a car? You watch the Thanksgiving Day parade; The Hoan Bridge story still cracks me up.

December: Caring adults don't let children watch March of the Penguins; A month later, I'm still quoting The Closet; and WTMJ has been taken over by Fox News.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Once upon a time the local NBC station in Milwaukee was considered level-headed and fair-minded. It lead in local news and was considered unbeatable.

Well, those times are over. Now that WISN is beating them in almost every timeslot save for the 10 o'clock news, they're pandering to the fearmongers. Within the first ten minutes tonight, they aired a story about some woman who is shunning NBC's own upcoming "limited run" series The Book of Daniel because she feels that it was wrongly presented to her as a pro-family show.

AFA much? It's about an Episcopalian priest with a Log Cabin son, another one who is sleeping with the Bishop's daughter, a drug dealing daughter, and an alcoholic wife, who sorts out his problems by talking to Jesus. It's probably more true to life than 7th Heaven, to be honest. Unfortunately, the problem when you do shows that paint a portrait of life being far from sweet, is that it tends to upset those who probably would be best served by seeing their flaws all over the television.

Never mind the fact that the lady said that with her umpteen children that she "barely has time to watch television," WTMJ still felt that her opinion needed to be aired. Now, pardon me for being a cold cynic here, but this is just asinine. You're offering airtime to somebody who wouldn't normally watch television so that she can complain about a programme that she wouldn't likely be able to watch anyway?

In their defense, the director of programming basically said in a (puff piece) interview that "viewers can decide for themselves." Well if that was the case, then air the show and SHUT UP about it. You're not owned by NBC, so don't go disguising promo material as a "report."

This is really just the most recent dismaying occurance that I've seen at WTMJ. For the past week, they've been beating the pearl-clutching drum, which is quite surprising since Milwaukee is basically a town where people say "believe what you want to believe, just don't thrust it in my face." Yesterday, they were obsessed with what possible repercussions the recent beating attack would have on Milwaukee's image across the nation since apparently the story was carried on the Miami Herald's and Washington Post's websites.

Earth to WTMJ's news department: Nobody cares. This is Milwaukee. The city's image outside of the Midwest is basically Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. Don't even get me started on what many gay men think about the city that let Jeffrey Dahmer run amok. You need to convince the world that you aren't basically a bunch of yokels just off the farm.

But feel free to air reports wherein reporters call people "slimeballs." (What happened to the "balanced coverage" you tout in your ads?) See what good it does you. You know that you're slipping and you can try the tactic of being bombastic and mortified to try to edge your way to the top. Never mind that it never works in the long run.

What does it say about a town where the local NBC station resembles Fox News and the local Fox station (which is owned by Newscorp itself) is pretty even-handed? Ponder that, JBG.

Triangle-Fluid-Boom Post Mortem: And I saw that film

(This is going to be a post-mortem in reverse.)

The day started with a trip to go see Brokeback Mountain. I wasn't expecting to go see it, but the fact that it had just opened up in Milwaukee at the Oriental Theatre was too good to pass up. Pardon me as I wax nostalgic, but the Oriental holds a special place for me. Apart from the fact that it is the most gorgeous cinema I have ever been to, it also is one of the two places where independent films show in Milwaukee. It is also where I saw Trick, the first gay film that I ever saw in public. So seeing Brokeback Mountain at the Oriental was something that I felt I had to do, as I'm a big believer in signs. So much so that I violated my rule to see films in their first week of release. (Brokeback Mountain only opened in Milwaukee yesterday!)

Much has already been said about the film, and I don't feel that I can add anything worthwhile. All I can say is that it is extremely moving, and that is not a phrase I use lightly. Anne Hathaway manages to make you completely forget of her Princess Diaries past and in the same vein, Michelle Williams really comes into her own as an actress as Alma del Mar. That said, it really is Heath Ledger's film. Although you may strain to understand what he says, his face and emotional reactions speak volumes. Gyllenhaal does a superb job as Jack Twist ("Jack NASTY!" as Alma puts it), and honestly, both him, Ledger, Ang Lee, and Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana deserve all the awards they have received and have forthcoming.

The audience at the 1 PM showing that I went to was a true surprise. Now granted, I have the worst gaydar on god's green Earth, but it seemed to me that the audience was mostly middle-aged to elderly women, a few college gays and their fag hags, some cineastes, with middle-aged gay men sprinkled throughout. As I exited the theatre, I overheard several women talk about how Ennis reminded them of their father or grandfather who was from Wyoming or other rural parts of the US. Basically, go see it if you can. It really does not feel like 3 hours after the first 15 minutes. (I don't know if I'm in a more emotional state these days than normal, but I teared at the end, and I don't tear. Ever,)

Afterwards, I had planned to go out drinking in Bayview along National Avenue, which is the hub of Gay Milwaukee. Of course, first I had to actually find National Avenue which proved to be easier said than done. It's rather embarrassing, but given that I grew up outside Milwaukee, I really cannot drive myself around it without help from a map. Eventually, I found Triangle, which I think is a rarity in Milwaukee--a bar open before 5 PM. Triangle, I like. It may not have any videos (the music was proved by Sirius's Big '80s channel), but the atmosphere was very laidback and friendly. I could've done without a man with a home contracting business slurring in my ears trying to pick me up, but nowhere is perfect.

The real destination of the evening, however, was Fluid for one singular reason: I wanted another t-shirt! The one I had purchased several years ago had gotten too small (or I had gotten too big) and I wanted a replacement. So after having a drink at Triangle, it was off to Fluid...since it was after 5.

I was planning on actually heading home after getting the t-shirt, but as I was going up S. 2nd, I noticed Boom, which I remembered was a pretty nice bar with (drumroll, please) videos! I couldn't pass it up and had another two MGDs there (Why is MGD so hard to find outside of Milwaukee?!) , since it was still happy hour.

Isn't it evil that $2.50 beer is flowing in a place where you basically have to drive yourself home? My kingdom for the four counties to come up with some sort of non-bus reliant transit system!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Long Mild December

(In honour of The Style Council video for "The Long Hot Summer," which features Paul Weller rubbing himself like he's in some Bel Ami video.)

Phone service is back, courtesy of a very jovial repairman. Never in my whole life have I ever heard of the street I grew up on as "beautiful." "Suburban" maybe. "Tranquil" on occasion, but "beautiful" is pushing it. Apparently the conglomerate people cut the wrong line. I'm sensing that there's some sort of tacit rift between the telecommunications and cable people. Back in October when the satellite repairmen and the cable repairmen were here they got on like a house on fire--fortunately it was not the one I was in at the time.

The cable modem seems to be working in 15-30 minute spurts, but the conglomerate person that I spoke to on the phone mentioned that they would be working strictly outside and not ring the doorbell, ergo I'd have no idea if they were here or not unless I had a startled reaction to seeing an unfamilar person digging around outside the window. (This is quite common for me, and bodes poorly for my chances at dodging hypertension.)

On the happier side of things, I'm now nearing my three month long sojourn into debauchery (January to early March) that surrounds my birthday, which is in February, but since it's such a short month I lay claim to the lion's share of winter itself.

In other bizarre news, the man from the conglomerate left an orange traffic cone on the driveway. There has to be some sort of metaphor there, but I'm buggered if I know what it is.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas from The Closet

Thickly accented paramour: "I want to wake up every morning and see that black ass that belongs to me."

Sexually ambiguous coworker: "I'm looking for love...and you all can go to hell!"

I swear to Santa Claus that is what was said.

(I can't help myself, but this show is so bad it's good (in a very camp way). I'm buying the DVDs as they come out.)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Silence Is Golden

Honestly, very little to add on this Christmas Eve except that I learned something very interesting today. My mother & I sat down to watch Reflections in a Golden Eye*--because nothing says familial bonding like watching Marlon Brando deal with his closetness while Robert Forester rides a horse naked.
*Spoiler there, in case you're curious

The film was indeed a bomb when released, but irregardless it was gripping as hell. Mostly because it relied heavily on subtext and looks. Elizabeth Taylor & Marlon Brando in the same film and Brando has all of maybe 20 lines, most likely less. Yet, you can't escape him, he's omnipresent. This was an epiphany for me. I'm a big believer in talkative characters, and I started to think if Brando talked anymore than he did, his character would not have the same impact. To the writers out there, this is something worth thinking about.

Friday, December 23, 2005

This Is My Town and These Are The People In It (Part Two)

Oh, it's just wackiness galore for those who have dark senses of humour.

The MTA Strike Post

I'm not in New York now, so I was debating on whether to comment on the strike. Now that it is de facto over, I figured I'd put my two cents in.

Myopia + Classism = Distress

There's been myopia on both sides, but mainly on the MTA board for letting it get to this point. Seriously. They have a billion dollar surplus and they made it known that they had a billion dollar surplus and had workers operating without a contract. The oligarchs on the board displayed a "let them eat cake" disdain throughout this whole process. Now, I'm not saying that Toussaint is an example of the latter part of his name. He did not succeed at all in communicating with the members and the general public on their grievances, the majority of which (especially pensions) I think were valid. Often forgotten in the rants of the disgruntled was that a sticking point was to raise the contributions of new hires from 2% to 6%. Honestly, that's a wise consideration. So many of the problems of this world are due to people only looking out for themselves and not willing to care about those who will follow them.

I'm not saying at all that I would support crippling New York City's infrastructure, but I believe that this was a last resort option that was deployed only when the talks reached an impasse, which indeed they had. Why did it have to get to the point of both sides playing "quién es más macho?" Why didn't they decide to shove the bravado aside and actually work on a deal that both sides could agree upon?

There never is a perfect deal, but just ignoring it will always make it worse.

Once people start to realise that being short-sighted has gotten us into many messes in the past, then we'll actually be able to move on.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This Ain't News and You Know It Too

Perhaps I am getting senile, but I do not remember a time when airplane landing gear malfunctions were followed as intensely as car chases.

I remember when the news went to places after something happened, not before...if it even does.

What next? News cameras in front of your face as you leave your home in the morning because you just might break your hip on the ice?

I'd like to tell something to all the local stations (I'm looking at you channels 6 and 12) , if the people getting off the damn plane are themselves wondering what all the fuss was about, then it is not worthy of being "breaking news." Dear lord, it's not even worth being the leading story the day after. I'm sure I'm not the only one pointing out that you have no clothes on now.

Notice how you haven't been covering this rather important story now, have you?

In Case The Pentagon Is Watching

I am not in any way shape or form related to the fictional character Huey Freeman of The Boondocks (he is a cartoon, you know).

That is all, reckon I.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This Is My Town and These Are The People In It

Tonight's Local News Headlines in Milwaukee:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The List

(Oh why not let's just go for three list posts in a row?)

I'm back in Mequon for the next fortnight. It promises to be an interesting two weeks full of chiropractor's appointments, testosterone level checks, and...not as much drinking, because I have to drive. (Fun supposed fact: Milwaukee is a popular lesbian town, who knew?)

As I was searching for an electric blanket to put on my bed in my old childhood room, I noticed the old mid-nineties pinup I had of a bloated Robbie Williams I had on my wall. (My old room is stuck in 1997. I'm not here that frequently and there's really no need for anything else to be done to it.) Remembering his nice little gesture to the gay community recently triggered an idea for a post. All the people--in no particular order--who will need to make a serious mea culpa to get kind treatment on here (like they care, but what the hey?):
  1. Michael Bloomberg
  2. Robbie Williams
  3. Brian Ellner/Jonathan Capehart
  4. George W. Bush
  5. James Sensenbrenner
  6. The major contributors to the GOP from my New York zipcode
  7. Elizabeth Vargas (Is it that hard to just say you messed up?)
  8. GLAAD under Giuliano
  9. Chris Crain and Windows Media
  10. Stephen Harper

Monday, December 19, 2005

Splash-Stonewall-The Hangar-The View Post-Mortem: The Last Gig of 2005

I barely remember a thing. I know I was at these places, and I can still taste the cheese fries, but the memory is very sketchy. I don't like to do lists too often, but there's no way I can string sentences together composed of completely unrelated subjects. So here it goes.

  • Splash had another antipodean bartender tonight. For some reason he thought I looked so serious and down. I get this a lot, and I do not know why. I'm not a smiling person, but still...
  • The Stonewall apparently had a black leather night. "Black" as in the skin colour as well as the colour of the clothes. It was not as bizarre as I thought it would be. (I want my $5 back!) I have always wanted to fully participate in a leather night, but the cost of the clothes and my low pain threshold probably will keep me on the sidelines.
  • The Hangar was not as psychotically crowded as it normally is. Who knew The Hangar had go-go boys. Crappy go-go boys, but go-go boys nonetheless. Nothing else I can remember there, except that the only reason I went is because it's a December tradition with me.
  • At The View the bouncer thought I was drunk. I quite possibly was, but courtesy of my mp3 player I was able to blame my stumbling on trying to take my headphones off. I did take it as a sign to wrap up my night after two Twisted Teas.

And that was that. The 2005 New York drinking season went out with not quite a whimper, but with a very average cast of characters: an overly perky Australian (I hate perky in general), black leathermen, crappy go-go boys, and a kind bouncer.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Challenge to Say Something Nice

Once every sowhile, I realise I'm a mean son-of-a-gun and try to balance that out by saying something nice. Nomrally, I do this in person, but I reckon, why not put it out there for public view? I'm also writing this right after I have woken up and am still a bit groggy--which makes it easier for me to not hem and haw. Let's get this started shall we?
  • Westin Hotels' Smoking Ban: It's very daring, perhaps it's good for those who are allergic to smoke. Granted, I'd say just invest in some filters for your overpriced rooms, but I understand the sentiment.
  • Mayor Bloomberg: He's not Giuliani. He's more like Giuliani-medium. (That's the best I could do.)
  • Penile piercings: (I'm not referring to prince alberts, but the other kind that goes through the head.) They certainly are a test of strength and pain endurance.
  • FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) Students: Clearly you guys have talent. You can't stop capering about in public with ear-piercing shrieks, but you have talent. Fortunately, not all of you are prone ear-piercing shrieks about inane topics.
  • Dancers/Chorus Boys: Physically, I wish I had your agility, despite the fact that what I said about FIT students and their ear-piercing shrieks also applies here.
  • Steroid Users: For all the attending medical problems, they do make you look imposing and it's always good to be admired.
  • Neil Giuliano, GLAAD President: You may be asleep at the wheel 90% of the time, but at least your highlights are always well-maintained. I'd sleep with you too. (I wouldn't necessarily talk to you afterwards, but I'd sleep with you.)
  • Yuppies: You dress well and have probably saved a few stores from closing.
  • Free Language at the Eurovision: The fun of hearing mangled pronounciation like "Ladies and Gentlemens."
  • The Eric Braate Referral Brigade: Eric Braate should know that he's apparently quite missed in Milwaukee.
  • The Current Crop of Broadway Shows: Chita Rivera's show and the revamped Sweeney Todd as set in an insane asylum.
  • James Sensenbrenner: I'm not even going to try, even in my groggy I-love-all-humans state this morning.

That's about all I could squeeze out at this moment in time, and yes, it was a challenge.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ellner: Still an opportunist uber alles

Brian Ellner, that Will Truman-esque turncoat of Chelsea, has now gone and gotten his pretty little Alfred E. Newman self a job in the Bloomie's administration. What's more, I don't quite understand why he felt the need to sling mud at fellow turncoat Margarita Lopez. That'll make for some very interesting meetings.

Does this all seem a bit too similar to The Picture of Dorian Grey to anyone else?

(Offtopic, my sympathies to both the workers and those affected by any MTA strike today. As of this writing, it appears that the formerly private Jamaica and Triboro lines will be affected immediately, with a full all services strike deadline now moved to Monday night/Tuesday morning.)

Thursday Jukebox Thinks You Are Wonderful

I had previously made note of the song "Alomszep" as a great song to stumble home drunk to. Well, here is the video.

Also, here is Simone de Oliviera's performance of "Sol de Inverno" from the 1965 Eurovision. Previously mentioned as a song with the best break up lyrics ever ("Without you my life has no colour"). They don't do ballads like this anymore.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday Jukebox Strikes Back

THE ballad of the 1979 Eurovision.

Alcazar, La Podolskaya, and maybe Julia Savicheva manage to sing "This is the world we live in" without knocking each other down and ripping hairpieces off.

Afro-Dite's performance at Tallinn 2002, notable for the high amount of growling ("WE'LL BE SHAAAKIN'!") and the fact that they didn't collapse afterwards.

And finally, some butch political camp from the 2004 German Final: Westbam & Afrika Islam (featuring dancing riot police no less).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nowhere-Phoenix-Stonewall Post-mortem: Passivity has made a failure of our home

Nowhere-Phoenix-Stonewall-The View Post-Mortem: Passivity has made a failure of my home

Perhaps I should stop thinking ahead of time. I mean, I should stop thinking with preconceptions or hopeful assumptions of what a night out should be.

As previously mentioned, I started tonight out in the East Village, a place where I have always felt a tad bit uncomfortable because I never see anybody who looks like me around. Well, that was true. At Nowhere, I was the only person in the bar. Fortunately, the bartender was very affable and great to be around. Anyplace that has Pabst for $2 a can during happy hour is good in my book.

Next was (the) Phoenix. Here’s where things started to go awry. Phoenix is a place that is in one hand hospitable, and in another tacitly hostile. It’s a bit hard to explain, but the clientele lived up to my preconception of what the stereotypical East Villager is like: seemingly very bohemian, but the more you look underneath, still the snob from the suburbs. Now, in their defense, I will say that these are my opinions based on a random Tuesday night with 17 degree weather, but that is what I took away. The bartender was at least pleasant and welcoming.

I was intending on going to the (in) famous Cock, but I couldn’t find it based on the listing I had. I know it has moved, but perhaps the address I had was the old one. Either way, I needed some sleaze. I found it, in of all places, at the Stonewall which had some sort of special night going on upstairs. Whatever this night is called (Buff Boyzz, maybe), it seemed to involve a lot of go-go boys. For once they were actually good looking. Good looking enough to make me pay for lap dances. That’s where I had my internal meltdown. Somehow, I really was taken in by one of the dancers who took me to the equivalent of their champagne room and showed me a very good time. Such a good time that my rational mind went out the window, and I started to believe that he was interested in me sexually. For his sake, I’ll keep the acts to myself, but I think that what he/we did was above and beyond the normal call of duty. Something seemed strange and I couldn’t put my (metaphorical) finger on it.

Drunk enough for another round of dances, I eagerly went for him again. This time, it turned into talking amidst all the grinding. I found out that he was almost 30, still in love with his 20 year old ex-boyfriend (whom he left his “girlfriend”—let’s not go to that issue tonight—for). Yes, on some level it was demystifying the fantasy, but on another level it was it was taking me out of the carnal and into the cerebral. I guess to some extent I should feel flattered, but honestly, I just feel used.

You see, men that I am quite strongly attracted to are rare. Quite likely this is me thinking with my crotch, but I wanted to go have hours worth of animalistic sex with him. I didn’t really care about his problems, because he never inquired about mine beforehand. This was meant to be a sexual situation and it wasn’t.

That aside, what gets me more than that is that I have no self-confidence. I really wanted to see if my Pollyanna thoughts had some substance and I could snare him in my bed for a few hours. Did I try? No. I was too chicken. I am my own worst enemy. Who knows what could or couldn’t happen if I had taken the risk?

My resolution for next year? Kick this doubting Thomas to the curb by next January.

Another quote of the day

Tonight, I'm bringing my weekly booze-athon to the East Village, and I can't help but think of this quote from Dwight A. McBride's Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch:

"I am reminded of a trip that a close African American gay friend and I took while in graduate scholl at UCLA to a conference just up the coast at UC Santa Barbara. The first evening we spent in Santa Barbara, we decided to go out to a gay establishment to check out the local nightlife. We found ourselves at a bar with thrity-five to forty men--all of them white except the two of us. We had a cocktail, enjoyed each other's company, traded comments about the obvious stares we were receiving (trying to determine whether this was because we were new meat or because we were black). Finally, my friend pointed out to me that practically every video that had been played on the large screen television at the bar since we had arrived had been of black performers. After making this observation he quipped, 'I guess virtual blackness is okay, even unremarkable for white folks in a context like this, while our presence is an entirely different story.'"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More Selections from The United Burger States of America

(My revenge against Abacus for not making Peter Biddlecombe's books easily available in the US continues...)

On Florida (for Pookie and Dondon):

"North Florida is nothing like south Florida. It's more Montgomery, Alabama than Miami. Jacksonville, way up near the border with Georgia, I know quite well. Some people rave about it. The airport, they say, is one of the best in the world. The town is one of the nicest in the world and the beaches ditto. If this is true, they must be talking about a different Jacksonville from the one I know. But my opinion of it might be coloured by the fact that I once spent the night at the sheriff;s ofiice. In other words, the local Holiday Inn. The sheriff's office is located right in the middle of reception. I can only assume that the best parties in the United States take place in the Holiday Inn, Jacksonville, otherwise why would they have a sheriff's office on the premises?

"Tampa is one of the most important towns in the whole history of the States: it was here that, in 1938, on the eighteenth hole of the campus golf course of the Florida Bible Institute, Billy Graham received the call. Unlike poor old St. Paul, who had to make do with a scrap of desert on the outskirts of Damascus...But in the time it took poor old St. Paul to descend the city wall in that basket all the members clubbed together to send him off to Wheaton Theological College, Illinois. They say it was to study the bible. I reckon it was to get him off the golf course so that they could enjoy a decent round of golf, swear and retell all those old stories about Jack Nicklaus playing golf with God and you-know-who losing without having to listen to Billy going on all the time."

On North Dakota:
"I'm not saying that North Dakota is the dullest, most boring place on earth, it's just that given the choice between a trip there and an uncontrollable nosebleed, I'd take the nosebleed."

On Tennessee:
"I'm worried about Tennessee. I think it must be the cured-oak water. First there is a ducking stupid hotel, the Peabody, the best in Memphis, which is decorated from floor to ceiling with ducks. There are duck doorstops, duck bars of soap and duck designs all over the place. And at eleven o'clock every morning, you've got it, five ducks waddle into the lobby and up the red carpet and clamber into the fountain, where they splash around until five o'clock, when they up and waddle out again. The Americans, of course, go quackers over them, but it was all too much for me. I dragged myself into the bar--called, inevitably, the Mallard--sank a couple of bloody marys, staggered into the restaurant and to get my own back, ordered duck a l'orange which, of course, they didn't serve.
"Tennessee is the only place I know in the world where it's legal to take home and eat roadkill, in other words any animal you knock down and kill on the road. Deer, skunks, racoons, squirrels, opossums, rabbits, anything."

On Minnesota:
" Minnesotans, [Garrison] Keillor is God. No, that's not true: he's more important than God. He captures their shallow personalities, their inadequacies, their unimportance and the wide range of two subjects they don't talk about: winter and winter."

On Kansas:
"The trouble with Kansas is that it has not only not evolved, it still doesn't believe in evolution, either."

On New Hampshire:
"New Hampshire is in the wrong place. It should be in the south. Say between Oklahoma and Texas. It's slow. It's rural. It's old-fashioned. It's very, very conservative. While the rest of New England pretty solidly votes Democrat, it is strongly Republican. It should be called Old Hampshire instead of New Hampshire, because as far as I can see, there's nothing new about it."

Book Quotes of the Day

From Peter Biddlecombe's spelling error filled (but still hilarious) The United Burger States of America:

On Philadelphia:
"Now I know all about this Philadelphia and city of brotherly love business--it means that if the police beat you up in front of a video camera they will immediately take you to a hospital afterwards--but I can't for the life of me understand why they didn't call the place Franklin, or even Franklinville or, I suppose, given the American genius for yukky (sic) names, HappyBenjyFrankyVille. Rather than the cradle of American Liberty, it's more like the Cradle of Benjamin Franklin, the short-sighted harmonica-playing son of a man who changed shades and colours every day of his life (he was a dyer)."

On Milwaukee:
"For all the hype about Wisconsin being the beer state of America, the capital (sic), Milwaukee, is pretty dull, flat and insipid.* A bit like most of their beers.** In fact, given the size of their dairy industry, it should be called Milkwaukee instead.
* It is.
**Except for Miller.
"Before I went there I thought it was going to be all bierkellers the size of baseball pitches, beer flowing in the streets and hearty, thigh-slapping, strapping, 20-stone Americans in their designer lederhosen getting schlossed out their tiny minds...Instead it's like a small town; a very small-town Chicago."***
***It is a small-town, but you never ever say Milwaukee is like Chicago. If we could, we'd declare ourselves in a different time zone.

On New Jersey:
"New Jersey is like Michael Jackson's nose. It's for ever changing, updating, and reinventing itself."

On Boston:
"As for the whole 'no taxation without representation' business, Massachusetts and all the others broke away from the UK because they believed so fervently in no taxation without representation. Right? OK, try asking a Boston barman or cab-driver to deduct the Massachusetts sales tax from your bill because you're not entitled to vote in the US, and you'll soon see how much they believe in no taxation without representation. If, that is, you get out alive."

On New York:
"Now that wandering the streets is no longer fraught with danger, the excitement has gone. There are people around at all hours of the day and night, taking cabs, riding the subways--where you can watch the weirdos, spot passengers on the fiddle as well as on the violin and shrink with fear as way-out rappers leap into the carriage at the last-minute, boom box in hand, to serenade the world--or risking their lives on the Staten Island ferry."

On Detroit:
"Not just one derelict office building; not just one street of derelict office buildings, banks, and stores, but whole blocks of derelict office buildings, banks, stores, hotels, and theatres. Welcome to Detroit, originally named by its founder, Antoine de la Mothé Cadilliac, as far back as 1701 as Ville d'Etroit, or City in a Right Mess. Which at least proves one thing: the French are not always wrong."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Poem for Jim Castillo

Oh Jim, 'tis cruel how you were given the boot

Having worked so hard thanklessly

Alas, no one knows the song of the second banana on the midday shift

The one who does all the drudgery while the stars get all the credit

You were like Jan Brady, Joe from Gatchaman, Max from Macross/Robotech, George Constanza (I could go on and on)

But you soldiered on even without a contract

Cute and airbrushed weren't your style

Nor overly muscular and perky

You weren't saintly and wise

You were just you

And sadly, Newscorp didn't think that was enough

But cheer up, Jim

For surely as perkiness gives way to embittered cynicism

The second banana always has the ultimate laugh

Goodbye to an icon

RIP Richard Pryor.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bloomie, Please...

So Marie Antoinette up in Gracie Mansion is now calling for legalised gay marriage?

Isn't this just ducky? You wait until the circumstances are such that you could be portrayed as the saviour. I offer this little kernel of wisdom to the closet case of the city: If you knew it was the right thing in February, then you should've gone then and there and fought for it tooth and nail. Perhaps waiting may give you brownie points at the polls. Perhaps waiting until you were re-elected may have made your advisors (certain ones who I have addressed on here ) more content.

Lest you think that I am dismayed by your announcement, Mr. Mayor. I am quite happy that you are doing the right thing. I just wonder why your motivation to do it took 10 months, particularly since you were already aware that giving same-sex couples the right to marry was indeed the correct thing to do.

The sooner you and your hollow opinion poll-based heart leave office, the better off the rest of us will be.

Friday, December 09, 2005

And now a message from our sponsor...

Americanwyr , paham mo gwna Cymraeg 'n 'n genedlaethol dafodiaith? Dybia bai 'n ardderchog a ni d pawb blymio choelbren 'n llyfnach.*

Hon cenadwri chyrchir atat chan 'r Hikaruland Swyddog Dafodiaith bwyllgor.**

It may look daunting, but try saying it and you'll feel like Richard Burton and Tom Jones in no time at all.

* "Americans, why don't we choose Welsh as our national language? I think it would be excellent and we'd all sound a lot smoother."
**And yes, I know I'm grammatically incorrect, but it's not too shabby for my rudimentary Welsh...and you have to admit, it sounds and looks pretty cool.

Some Things Will Never Change

I was in my kitchen today when I spotted a couple touring the vacant apartment across the street. Without thinking about it I yelled "GO AWAY YUPPIE SCUM!"

Of course given that it's 30 degrees outside I didn't open the window, but I felt good.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oh, Robbie...

What tales we weave when we sue in order to deceive.

Comrade, ain't nobody buying this. I didn't buy it when you started out. I didn't buy it when I read Feel. I didn't buy it when you were gobsmacked over Nicole Appleton...and it was completely plausible that you are in puppy love with Jonathan Wilkes.

Just. Come. Out.

Lest we forget, Liberace also won a lawsuit that alleged that he was gay and we all know what the final story was on that.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Five reasons why I watch hockey:

(Top row: Bryce Salvador, Pavol Demitra, Marc Bergevin; Bottom row: Manny Malhotra, Mariusz Czerkawski)

Normal Service Has Been Resumed

Well, I finished my work (well 75% of it) so normal posting is back.

To celebrate its completion, I watched March of the Penguins.

I cannot believe they are marketing this film to children. It is just full of death. I'm not going to go into detail here, but it was like watching Bambi all over again (a film that I have only seen once since it was too traumatic to me as a child when Bambi's mother was shot). I'm just envisioning children unwrapping the DVD over the Holidays, putting it on and just crying their eyes out. I didn't cry myself, but I certainly winced a lot.

Maybe the current crop of children are harder souls than I.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Pause for Praise

My sabbatical is still not over, but I wanted to just quickly praise two things:

  1. Dwight A. McBride's book Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch. Absolutely fascinating and engrossing. McBride makes an excellent and none-too-surprising connection between Abercrombie & Fitch's marketing and Nazi propaganda. The company's "Look Book" comes across as a modern day Mein Kampf. I'd write more, but I'm trying to keep this post short.
  2. The film Brother to Brother. I seriously was not expecting to like this film, but it really sucked me in on a personal level. Rarely have I felt so close to a protagonist as I did with Perry in this film. Shock of all shocks, the cast is relatively good. (Anthony Mackie went on to do Spike Lee's She Hate Me, and Daniel Sunjata goes without saying to anyone who saw Take Me Out several seasons ago.) Two scenes especially stand out (I do not think this is a spoiler): The first is where Perry bolts out of a post-coital embrace with Jim (who is white) after Jim says that he has "the sweetest black ass," unaware of how loaded and unintentionally offensive that comment is (very relatable); The other is a conversation between James Baldwin and Eldridge Cleaver which puts the aforementioned scene in perfect sociological context, if you ask me. Rodney Evans did an amazing job with the script and direction. Generally, I'm against directors writing and directing their own work, but he's a notable exception. I hope to see more from him.

And for the record, I am receiving no kickbacks.