Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crime of the Century (Art for Art's Sake Division)

   Two males, both seventeen, were stopped by Parsippany, N.J. police Thursday at about 11:30pm EST on the front lawn of the Parsippany High School, where the young men, using their shoe soles, were outlining, in the snow, the image of a 25-foot penis. 
    (This photo does not show the young men's art piece. It shows an effort created by students at the the University of Cincinnati football stadium. It is included here for illustrative purposes, you see.)
   According to the New Jersey Local News Service, Officer Steven Miller (no relation to the aged rock musician or the beer) saw the teenagers creating the snowbound phallus and "caught them soon after they left the school in a vehicle." 
   The NJLNS further reports that one of the artists was made to "erase the imagery as Parsippany Police Officer Robert Appel stood by." 
   This, of course, is an outrage. In an era when funding for public art has all but dried up, these young men were performing a noble civic duty. 
   That authorities saw differently, however, is not altogether shocking. As a rule, police tend to lean toward the anti-snow-penis. 
   In 2005, police in New Windsor, New York (pop. roughly 23,000), used shovels to demolish a six-foot snow penis erected (sorry) by Jessica Sherer, nineteen, on the lawn of her boyfriend's house. 
   There is no recorded indication whether the statue was, indeed, of her boyfriend's penis. If so, and if it was to scale, he obviously received a gift from the gods, as evidenced here: 
   But, because the world is populated with boors, not everyone saw it that way. 
   "We got some calls that people thought it was offensive," New Windsor police Chief Michael Biasotti told the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record (a newspaper so nice they had to name it thrice). 
   Biasotti did not elaborate on what anyone could possibly find offensive about an artistic rendering of the male penis, the absolute perfection of which is the strongest possible argument for the existence of a God Almighty. 
   What is known is that police, finding no one home, took it upon themselves to shovel-pummel Sherer's snow penis senseless. (The first photo below shows the result.) Was this reaction reasonable or extreme? New Windsor Town Supervisor George Meyers sounded mixed. 
   "We probably weren't 100 percent correct in going on the property and knocking it down," he told the Hudson Valley newspaper of (times) record (herald). "But our intentions were pure. Some people were offended. There are school buses going by there every day."
   Perhaps Meyers was anticipating the possibility that, seeing the snow penis, a school bus driver might laugh so hard that he or she would inadvertently drive the vehicle into a tree. Or, alternately, that forty school kids spotting the snow penis might cause such a ruckus - laughing, screaming, throwing things, etc. - that the non-plussed driver would inadvertently drive the vehicle into a tree. Either way, at least they'd all die laughing, and their last visual on earth would be a snow penis. One is hard-pressed to think of a better final vision.
   For his part, Biasotti, the police chief, expressed concern that, snow-penis-wise, a copycat effect might manifest. 
   "Now we're going to get snow penises popping up all over town," he told the Hudson Valley newspaper. 
   One dasn't touch that one with a ten-inch pole. 
   Sherer, the snow artist, vowed to rebuild a day or so after the contretemps. Whether she did so or not is a mystery left to the ages; there is no followup in the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record-Trumpet-Chronicle-Post-Examiner-Daily-News

Above: The damage done by New Windsor, NY, police to Sherer's work.
Below: More snow penises. They suggest that snow-penis erection - apologies - has become a national past-time on a par with baseball, apple pie, and breast enhancement surgery. Would that we had known that before the Winter Olympics rolled around.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Yesterday's Fish Wrap Today

   We just read Nicholas Lemann's Dec. 7, 2009 New Yorker review of the autobiographical My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times, by former London Sunday Times editor Harold Evans. (Yes, Dec. 7. First of All is catching up on its reading. So sue us.) 
   The piece contains a startling passage sure to jolt the deadened nerve-ends of any seasoned journalist. Contextualizing Evans' early-1970s ascension to the Sunday Times editor's chair and his encouragement of assiduous investigative journalism, Lemann writes: 

   All this was happening at roughly the same time as Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and the early glories of magazine "new journalism" in the United States. Evans and the people he worked with were major contributors to a super-charged new conception of what journalism could be: at once powerful and devoted to the powerless, literary and intellectual, glamorous and dutiful, quasi-governmental in its status but in perpetual opposition to government. "No intelligence system, no bureaucracy, can offer the information provided by free competitive reporting," Evans exclaims at one point [in the book]. 

   We put down the magazine and wiped a (glycerine crocodile) tear from our eye. So there was, after all, a reason that tons of us entered journalism in the mid- to late-seventies. (Four words: All The President's Men.) 
   Well, whatever. Things change. As Lemann later rightly points out, "One can think of 'My Paper Chase' as a potent exercise in escapist nostalgia - as an intoxicant that's bound to produce, at least in journalists, the irresistible high of revisiting the halcyon era of the mainstream media." He adds, "Surely, if [Evans] were young today, he would be operating in the digital world, and surely that world is still full of nascent Harold Evanses, as determined to rise as he was." 
   Four words: Drudge Report Huffington Post

Matt Taibbi, National Treasure

   Matt Taibbi is an eminently reliable dissector of national politics for Rolling Stone. His piece in the current issue uncovers the con-artist-level financial malfeasances practiced by Wall Street investment companies and U.S. banks in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse and last year's bailout debacle. 
   Taibbi's style is conversational, his research unassailable. He has a gift for making arcane financial dealings understandable for the average idiot (me). The only problem is that when the average idiot (me) understands, thanks to the Matt Taibbis of the world, what exactly is happening within the so-called financial "structure" of this country, the average idiot (me) finds himself contemplating a long walk off a short pier. 
   But that's no reason not to read Taibbi's piece; indeed, all of his pieces. I'd offer a link to his work in the RS archives, but the site is so poorly designed and organized - and/or I am so dumb - that I can't find one. 
   As luck (and modern journalism) would have it, Tabbi writes a blog. On Jan. 27 he offered an impassioned explanation for his relentless print pursuit of Wall Street miscreants, a post occasioned by a strange and poorly-argued anti-populism piece by New York Times columnist David Brooks.  
   For those who like to watch the sausages get made, Taibbi's Feb. 19 post details what he had to cut from the RS bailout piece for space reasons. He notes,  "...there is actually a more subtle story out there about the mutual dependency of our increasingly broke-ass, politically desperate government in Washington and their [sic] virtually insolvent partner-banks on Wall Street. I would like to get into that more in the future."  
   By all means, have at it. If not you, Matt Taibbi, then who? 
Taibbi, in excelsis

   (Style note: this post has no less than five hyperlinks. Not a single one is showing up in the final product. This has been true for other posts into which one has embedded, or whatever the correct term is, hyperlinks. They're there when the post first goes up, and then they disappear after a day. If readers have  suggestions as to how to address this, please leave them in the "comments" section. I'm counting on you, because the good people at Google-backed have failed, thus far, to fix this glitch, the -- and we mean this with love -- fucking assholes.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Joys of Holy Matrimony (If I Had a Hammer Division)

   On May 4, 2007, Amy Teresa Ricks, of Salt Lake City, obviously a good and caring wife, drove her husband, Joel, to her mother's condominium, where she told him she had a "surprise" for him. 
   She walked him down to the basement and blindfolded him. Then she repeatedly bashed him on the head with a hammer. 
   Joel Ricks, who suffered minor injuries, later told sheriff's deputies that sleeping bags had been spread on the floor where Amy guided him to stand. Nearby, a nine-inch kitchen knife was encased inside a plastic bag. 
   This suggests that: a.) after conking out her husband, Amy Ricks planned to disembowel him (perhaps hoping to fetch a premium black market price for his internal organs?); or, b.) the Rickses enjoyed a fetish-heavy intimate life about which neither of them enlightened investigators. It seems sad that we will never know. 
   Amy Ricks, who is thirty-seven, was charged Tuesday with second-degree felony attempted murder and a third-degree felony aggravated assault, according to a report Wednesday in the Salt Lake Tribune. Ms. Ricks' attorneys plan to say she is a victim of Battered Spouse Syndrome. At first glance, that seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. But relationships are mysterious; only the people within them know the truth. The Tribune notes that Rickses, though separated, are still legally wedded.   
   This makes plain that some heterosexuals so revere the institution of marriage that they feel compelled to respect it by staying with the spouse who, mere years before, they did their best to kill or maim.  
   Gays and lesbians eager to marry should take note. 

Crime of the Century (Tears of a Clown Division)

   Give Tampa, Fla., (pop. roughly 303,000) a pass if you like to relax by dressing as a clown while, say, running errands on your day off. It is illegal for an adult over sixteen there to wear a mask or any kind of disguise - even on Halloween.    
   So learned Matthew David Lopez, eighteen, of 7003 Ponderosa Drive, who was jailed Tuesday and charged with wearing a clown mask on a public road, according to a Feb. 24 report in the St. Petersburg Times
   Deputies noticed Lopez and two other people walking on a city street. Quoting an arrest affidavit, the Times reported that "[w]hat caught a deputy's attention was Lopez's masked face with a bright red-and-orange wig." 
   That's not an easy sentence to parse. But if one understands it correctly, Lopez had accessorized a clown mask with an extremely festive wig. This shows great taste. It'd be preferable if deputies arrested people who accessorized their clown masks with, for example, feces wigs, making them Shithead Clowns and therefore candidates for life imprisonment, or politics. 
   Deputies followed Lopez and his cohorts in an unmarked vehicle. When a marked police cruiser presently arrived, Lopez et al. ran away. Neither police nor the Times indicated if Lopez was wearing bright red oversized clown shoes, the kind that make a SLAP!-SLAP!-SLAP! sound. They  would have made escape tricky. 
   It also would have been embarrassing for police, who lost Lopez and Co. To the relief of clown haters the world over, authorities eventually did find the trio, and Lopez was tossed - wig-less and mask-less, one assumes - in the can. 
   One wishes for more creative policing. In a perfect world, when deputies spotted Lopez the Clown they would have swiftly donned fake mustaches and Bobby hats and chased Lopez round and round and round in a circle, tripping over themselves and inadvertently bashing each other in the face with their truncheons. 
   For his part, Lopez appears sanguine. In the picture accompanying the Times article, reproduced here, Lopez has an air of comfortable whimsy about him. (It's in the eyes.) This is good news. Often, clowns are laughing on the outside but crying within. 
Matthew David Lopez was arrested after deputies say they saw him walking down the road wearing a clown mask.
   Incidentally, a 2006 study by the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law noted that 6.1 percent of Tampa residents identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual - one of the highest per capita rates in the U.S. But Tampa gay men of a certain age need not fret: a face made shiny by Botox and filler injections does not, under Tampa law, count as a mask or disguise. 
   However, if such a man accessorizes such a face with a bright red-and-orange wig, he should be arrested for: a.) impersonating Carrot Top and/or b.) being a Fuckhead Clown. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Joys of Holy Matrimony (Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear Division)

   Nathan Lewis, of Lewiston, Idaho, apparently is a charming old-school romantic. 
   The Associated Press reported on Feb. 19 that Lewis, twenty-one, was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in Lewiston on his wedding night. After being released on bail, he returned to his home in Clarskton, Wa., and, being the gentleman that he is, assaulted his wife, allegedly slapping and choking her.   
   Obviously, marriage is a sacred and holy institution taken seriously by those who enter it. No wonder gays and lesbians want to be a part of it.

Crime of the Century (Armed, Spiritual and Drunk Division)

   The God-fearing people of a Kentucky town got the fear of God put into them on Sunday when a man disgruntled by family problems - and, to put it colloquially, drunk as a skunk - rode his horse to church with a gun holstered at his side. 
   The Danville (Ky.) Advocate-Messenger reported yesterday that Donald Howard Goode, forty-three, of 3295 Ky. 78, in Casey County (pop. roughly 16,000), entered the Ellisburg Baptist church bearing a grievance against a congregation member. Pastor Jerry Adams' wife, Cathy, said that the manner in which Goode was talking about his grievance "didn't make any sense. It was real frightening for us as a church." 
   Some men from the church led Goode outside and convinced him to surrender his pistol and a rifle he'd brought. The news report said nothing about the men's tactics, so there is no way to know if they simply spoke with Goode or if they furiously beat him about the head with, say, a stuffed rabbit or, for example, a cucumber. 
   Pastor Adams told Goode he could stay for the service if he behaved. In general terms, this likely meant no vomiting, self-pleasuring or texting. 
   When Casey Sheriff's Deputy Chad Weddle arrived, church members said they didn't want Goode arrested. 
   "He was having some family issues," Weddle said. "He was inside (the church), crying, weeping." 
   Along with Casey County police, state troopers also responded to the call of a man with a gun. 
   "Any time we hear that, obviously that gives us cause for concern," Trooper William Gregory said, sensibly enough. But, he added, Goode "was at church with a gun in a holster at his side, which is not illegal." So there's not much troopers could have done, short of using Goode for target practice if he so much as lifted a pinkie. 
   After Goode left the church, he went to a neighbor's house and created a "disturbance." News reports did not elaborate. We will never know, then, whether the soused Goode was a.) offering an ear-splitting a capella reading of Lady GaGa's "Poker Face;" b.) shooting at non-existent flying monkeys, or c.) alternately pleasuring himself and texting.
   Goode was arrested on a charge of alcohol intoxication. He was released later that evening from the Casey County Jail on his own recognizance, although there's no evidence that he recognized himself at that or any other time. 
   On an amusing side note, when the second Goode-related call came, Weddel, the Casey Sheriff's Deputy, was in a nearby area called Dry Fork Creek. He was attempting to locate a meth lab. Apparently, the good people of Casey County, Ky., really know how to party.

Crime of the Century (Footprints in the Snow Division)

   An Ohio man man has been charged with arson, burglary and other crimes after police apprehended him at the scene of a mobile home fire by following tracks in the snow from the home to his car, which had become stuck in the snow when he'd tried to flee. 
   In a Feb. 22 report in the Beaver County (Pennsylvania) Times, reporter Robert Poole writes that Robert Lee Armstrong, thirty-three, of 608 Oak Knoll Ave. Southeast, Warren, Ohio (small-area newspaper stories still give home addresses, in case you want to send Christmas cards or burn down the house of the person who torched your mobile home), had once rented the trailer, at 1035 State Line Road, in North Beaver Township, from Lloyd Bruce Clevenger, forty-eight, of Cameron, N.C. (Plainly, the charmingly named North Beaver Township is urbane enough to draw people from as far away as the Midwest and the South.)
   Armstrong told police he broke into the trailer to claim items he'd left behind when he moved, and found that some were missing. He said that Clevenger, as Poole of the B.C. Times so succinctly puts it, "had lied to him about the location of those items." 
   Distressed, Armstrong set fire to the curtains in the trailer's bedroom. 
   He then walked to his car, leaving footprints in the unplowed snow. Police found him there when they arrived. 
   Neither police nor the B.C. Times identify the "items" Armstrong was trying to claim. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gay By Suggestion?

p   The Huffington Post has an amusing pictorial story today about TV shows that, long before gay characters became television staples, were gay...ish.   
   Two Dads, anyone? 
   Note: none of the shows mentioned in the HuffPo piece featured Paul Lynde (pictured here) -  a regrettable oversight. Not that he was, you know, gay or anything. (Caftans.)
   The story is here

Crazy Art

   A friend and I saw Crazy Heart last night, and if there is a God, Jeff Bridges will win the Best Actor Oscar.
   Not that those stupid awards mean anything. But still. Bridges, playing an alcoholic country singer, is mesmerizing, and he deserves the nod. A gifted actor with an astonishing range, he is a five-time nominee. He has never won.
   One nomination was for the 1984 film Starman, in which he played an alien come to earth in the form of a young widow's husband. In that film, Bridges' character is a non-human learning to be human. It sounds awful, but the film is touching, and Bridges, as usual, is luminous.
   In Crazy Heart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, another actor with awesome range, serves up a superb performance as a young single mother burned by past relationships. It's markedly different from her witty walk-on in Away We Go, in which she played  a professor and wife/mom cauterized by self-righteous New Age delusions.
   Crazy Heart is not an unusually inventive movie. The story line (which, out of deference to those who've yet to see it, I'll not outline) is predictable. It's the performances by Bridges, Gyllenhaal and, in lesser roles, Robert Duvall and Colin Ferrel that keep the movie from sinking into down-and-out-man-finds-redemption cliches.
   It would be fine to watch it on DVD when it's released later this year. But it's worth seeing in a theater. There's nothing like losing yourself in a Bridges performance, and this is one of his best.

Crime of the Century (Man and Wife Division)

    Michael Patel is a man who thinks fast on his feet.
   Patel, who, with his wife, owns the Ascutney Sunoco convenience store in White River Junction, Vt., was approached by a man who said he had a gun, according to the Associated Press. The man demanded that Patel hand over $200.
   "Let me call my wife," Patel said to the man, who then ran.
   Vermont State Police later apprehended the man, who is twenty-one. He is on bail for a pending charge of, inexcplicably, stealing catalytic converters from cars.
    catalytic converter working diagram

Crime of the Century (Arson Division)

     A Salem, Ore. man is plainly not the hottest log in the fireplace.
     On January 27, the man, twenty, whom the Associated Press declined to name, worked his way into to an abandoned building at a place called the Fairview Training Center. There, he got stoned with a buddy. (A bud buddy?) The pair then set the place on fire, a not unreasonable recreational activity for young men who are completely baked.
     The fire did $50,000 worth of damage to the building, which the property owner had planned to demolish anyway.
     Both men face second-degree arson charges. The first man also ought to be charged with unlawful dimwittedness. He bragged to his hairdresser about setting the fire. The hairdresser tipped police.

Crime of the Century (Scorched Cheeks Division)

   Amon Carter IV has a totally hot butt.
   At least he did on January 8, according to news reports, when the Texas Christian University sophomore had Greek symbols from his fraternity and a sorority branded onto his buttocks. It happened during a frat/sorority party trip to Breckenridge, Colo. (Carter's face and charred assets are shown here. Why is this man smiling?)
   Breckenridge investigators said that no charges will be filed, as Carter willingly participated in the stunt, which was not a fraternity initiation ritual. Carter will require multiple surgeries on the second and third degree burns covering the cheeks in his lower forty.
   Incidentally, and tangentially, Carter is the great-grandson of Amon G. Carter, Sr., who founded the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Carter family is one of the most prominent in Ft. Worth. Carter, Sr., obviously  lived in a simpler time, when branding was reserved for the backsides of cattle, not heirs.

News That Makes Life Worth Living (Better Late than Never Division)

   Barbara Cosgrove, eighty-five, of South Florida, recently found an insurance claim check in her nightstand drawer. The check was dated January 23, 1978, and was in the amount of $17,500. 
    Cosgrove told the Associated Press she'd looked inside the drawer "a thousand times" for other things, and didn't know why she only saw the check now. As it happened, she was looking for a photo of her ex-husband. Ex-husband? Hm. Perhaps the check was God's recompense for whatever she went through with the man.
   Here on earth, the money was recompense for an accident in which a rainwater-filled tarp dropped two hundred feet onto her car, damaging the vehicle. This happened under the Brooklyn Bridge, the forty-third wonder of the world. 
   Alas, the insurance company that issued the check has been declared insolvent and liquidated. 
   Pity. In today's dollars, $17,500 would roughly come to $58,159.85, according to an online inflation calculator posted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That would be enough, certainly, to get Ms. Cosgrove out of South Florida. She could have moved to New York and bought the Brooklyn Bridge, under which she could have filled tarps with rainwater and dropped them onto cars to her heart's (and her bank account's) (but not her insurance company's) delight. 

The Brooklyn Bridge

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Queer Notes From all Over (Elton Thinks Jesus is Gay, Reagan Was a Douche)

    In a recent Parade magazine interview (the link is below), Elton John suggested that Jesus was "... a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems." He added, "Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving.... Try being a gay woman in the Middle East - you're as good as dead." 
   Hm. I am a gay man, so I have upon occasion fallen prey to the desire to claim every awesome figure in human history as One of the Tribe. Some were (Michaelangelo), some may have been (Abraham Lincoln), and some weren't (most of the rest of them). 
   But Jesus? If you took "gay" out of Elton's sentence, it would have made as much sense. So why a "gay man?" 
   If Elton knows, he isn't saying. Yet. (Wait for the backlash - and his inevitable statement addressing it.)
   Elton did say, however, that when he performs "The Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes," a song about Ryan White, a lad who very publicly died of AIDS in the 1980s, "I say that this is a song about a time when people in America started getting AIDS and your president, Ronald Reagan, did nothing about it. I get boos. There's a lot of hate in the world."
   Well, there's a lot of historical denial in the world, too. (Just ask Holocaust survivors and their offspring.) The hagiography around Reagan - his sanctification as an awesome figure in human history (though, one is relieved to note, not One of the Tribe) - is nauseating to anyone who lived through the '80s and lost one or (many) more to AIDS. Reagan's administration did exactly nothing for years; he was well into his second term - in his eighth year as president - before he said the words "AIDS" publicly. 
   The man had blood on his hands. Elton John is right to keep that truth front and center, no matter the revisionist magical thinking of those who boo him. 
   (The Parade article is here.)


CPAC Joy: A Young Republican Stomps Young Gay Republicans. And Others.

   Things went Technicolor (rainbow?) at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., today when Ryan Sorba, of the California Young Americans for Freedom, stood in front of a microphone and trashed CPAC for having invited GOProud, a Republican lesbian and gay group, to the conference. (The video is below. Here is a photo of Sorba, who, a reader suggests in the comment section, has a "gay face." I'm not sure I disagree.) 
     As Sorba ranted, the audience booed and howled. Sorba spread his arms wide. "Bring it," he said. "Bring it. I love it. I love it. I love it."
   The howlers included gay Repubs and members of Young Americans for Liberty, a conservative student and youth group. Sorba dissed them by saying that "the lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do," and called out YAL executive director Jeff Frazee: "YAL is my enemy. Jeff Frazee, guess what, you just made an enemy out of me, buddy. Yeah, you."
   It's nice to see young Republicans preparing for a future in Congress and/or the White House by hewing to key Republican principles: advocating for limited government, ensuring individual liberty, supporting free markets, and eating their own. 
   Bring it (x2). I love it (x3).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gawk This Way

This lovely (?) celebrity lass  (?) was snapped with a fan, sans makeup, at a liquor store recently. Who can it be? Hint: Sure looks like a lady. 

When Well-Spoken Rock Stars Speak

   The brilliant (and unfairly underestimated) British rock guitarist Jeff Beck, who is sixty-five, had this to say about the horrors of the music business, and of celebrity in general, in a 12 Feb. 2010 New York Times interview (link to full story below):

   "It's a diabolical business.... I can't imagine how hellish it must be to be hounded like Amy Winehouse and people like that. I have a little peripheral place on the outskirts of celebrity, when I go to premieres and that sort of stuff, which is as close as I want to get. I cherish my privacy, and woe betide anyone who tries to interfere with that."

   Woe betide? Methinks the gentleman doth know the English language. 
   As it happens, Beck's guitar playing is as eloquent as is his speaking style, whether it's bluesy, gospelish, or covering a classic.
   (The New York Times interview is here.)  

Beck now...       

... and then (the 1960s)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Republican Lawmaker: Male-Male Anal Sex = Penile "Wriggling"

   Anti-gay politicians and "preachers" are always good for a laugh. Back in the Eighties, when gay men were dying of AIDS by the bucketsful, gay-loathing (and attitude-manipulating) lawmakers and religionists talked about AIDS being "God's wrath" against gays.
   One of them was the "preacher" Pat Robertson, who, judging from his comments over the years, appears a beacon of sane humanitarian compassion. 
   On January 13 of this year, on his television show "The 700 Club," Robertson thoughtfully characterized the Haiti earthquake as God's payback for the country having made "a pact with the devil" by booting out the French so very many years ago. He said the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were God's way of expressing dismay at America's moral decay, proof of which existed in the presence of, among other things, feminists, gays and lesbians, and the ACLU. 
   Hurricane Katrina? That, Robertson said, was God showing anger at anti-abortion laws. (Hello?) And, in a 1992 Iowa fundraising letter, Robertson intelligently wrote: "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians," all of which sounds, upon close examination, just dandy. 
   (There is a link, below, to a page full of kooky Robertson quotes.)
   Anyway, back in the day, the fringe religionists cleverly - and, of course, wrongly - linked homosexuality with bestiality, child-molestation, incest, and other enchantments of the irrevocably damaged. They also released videos asserting that gay sex involved, among other sensual delights, "feces play."  
   Indeed, over time it began to appear that the fringe religionists - and their cohorts in lawmaking-ville - had a peculiar fascination with all things anal, which makes sense: isn't it the co-mingling of fear and fetishism that makes sex hot?
   Now, just when one sighs about the good old days being so crazy and funny and, alas, long gone, comes New Hampshire State Rep. Nancy Elliott (left) to stoke the fires of butt-sex-related terror. (Huffington Post story and YouTube clip links are below.) Discussing HB 1590, a bill to repeal same-sex marriage laws, at a recent legislative executive session, Elliott had this to say about the ways in which gay sex is "not normal":
   "We're talking about taking the penis of one man and putting it in the rectum of another man and wriggling it around in excrement. And you know, I have to think, I'm not sure, would I allow that to be done to me? All of us gathered here - would you let that happen to you? Is that normal?"
   She went on: "They are now teaching it in the public school. They are showing our fifth graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex.... They are saying this is something that you, a fifth grader, may want to try."
   You know, I have to think, I'm not sure, but is Ms. Elliott, well, gum-gnashing, toenail-pulling, face-clawing, batshit crazy? Yeah: like a fox. It's best to take the helicopter view of this blather: not to assess whether it makes sense (wriggling it around in excrement?), but to understand why it's propagated. 
   That much is simple. Conservative lawmakers such as Ms. Elliott - who, incidentally, in their oddball convictions remain well outside of what are now mainstream American same-sex-marriage attitudes - use graphic images of gay sex to play on some voters' squeamishness not only with gay sex, but with sex itself. (One wonders what Ms. Elliott has to say about heterosexual couples who enjoy, er, wriggling the man's penis around in the woman's excrement-lined, uh, anal...pipe? Tube? Duct?) 
     These lawmakers and religionists do so because they cannot muster a decent argument against why two people of the same gender should be joined in holy matrimony, excrement-based-penis-wriggling-oriented or not.
     In the end it is best, I think, simply to enjoy the Ms. Elliotts of the world, as they are a dying breed. Not only are they doing us the favor of hilariously echoing bigots who, in most cases, are long-gone, but they are also returning us, for a brief and shining moment, to a time of asymmetrical haircuts, parachute pants, John Hughes movies and Cure singles.
     The Eighties are back!
     (And less bigoted than ever.)

The Huffingpost story is here
The YouTube video clip is here  
A fun link to Pat Robertson Krazy Kwotes is here

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Creator's Creator

"Thy kingdom come..." (from the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:10) 
    Man, being a manifestation or expression of God, has a limitless destiny before him. His work is to express, in definite, concrete form, the ideas that God furnishes him, and in order to do this, he must have creative power. Elsewise, he would merely be a machine through which God worked - an automaton. But man, having the nature of his Father, remains a creator. Notice that the word individual means "undivided." The consciousness of man is not separated from God's consciousness.
     "Thy kingdom come" means that it is our duty to bring more and more of God's ideas into concrete manifestation upon this plane. That is what we are here for. The old saying, "God has a plan for every man, and he has one for you," is quite correct.
     If only you can find out the thing God intends you do do, and will do it, you will find that all doors will open to you, and you will be gloriously happy. There is a true place in life for each one of us where we can bring the Kingdom of God into manifestation, and truly say, "Thy Kingdom cometh." 
--Emmet Fox

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Fresh Start, Of Sorts

     I rented Julie and Julia the other night, and can I say this? Meryl Streep, who plays Julia Child, has to be the single reason for the invention of the DVD remote rewind button. Few are those hardy (and, frankly, dimwitted) souls who can get through a single scene of any one of her movies - even the godawful ones - without reviewing it three or four times to see just how she did that. In a chaotic and oft-frightening world, it's a relief to know that some things never change: the sun shines in the sky, Heidi Montag pursues publicity in increasingly baroque (and face-freezing) ways, and - you should pardon the French - Meryl Streep acts the shit out of any movie she's in. 

     In Julie and Julia, Amy Adams plays a modern woman named Julie Powell. Ms. Powell is so cloyingly annoying that she causes otherwise decent writers to resort to rhyming adverb-adjective descriptives. Her exasperating presence forces the sensible moviegoer eventually to reach, reluctantly but determinedly, for the knitting needles to stab into his own eyes. 
     Ms. Powell writes a food blog, and this gave me an idea: stab the knitting needles into her eyes. Alas, she turned out to be nothing more than a collection of dots on my screen, which nearly shattered when I jabbed the needles into it. Plus, Mrs.Powell kept moving around. One time I nearly sank the needles into her right shoulder, but she skittered sideways at the last moment and I wound up nailing her husband, Eric, played by the not unlikable Chris Messina (who had an excellent walk-on in Away We Go). Eric Powell is a good-natured sort; he'd have to be, to put up with his wife's incessant whining, cooking and blogging, not to mention with Amy Adams' questionable acting chops. 
    Which brings me to my point, if there is one. Watching Adams/Powell write her blog, I thought, I can do that, and I don't have to write about food! I'll just write about everything else under the sun, except perhaps for the continuing, and baffling, pop-culture presence of reality TV stars whose IQs match their waist sizes. 

     Not that there's anything wrong with a non-Mensa IQ - it's genetic, after all - but let me say this: I await the day when we'll see Real Housewives of the WASP Enclaves, in which contestants vie for prizes in such categories as Dinner Party Speed Seating, Getting Your Daughter into Princeton After the Family Money Has Dried Up, and Extreme Jaw-Clenching.
     Anyway, to you, dear reader, welcome. We will try to cover, if not the waterfront, at least a few piers, and we hope to do it peerlessly. You are encouraged to leave comments, with this proviso: courtesy trumps all, and good grammar and spelling are forever.