Thursday, August 30, 2007

No, you da ho!

I simply cannot get my dander up about Larry Craig. I mean, if I had to nail down my feelings about the situation and ensuing coverage, I guess it would be similar to my thoughts on Mark Foley last year. But while the Foley situation made me angry, the Craig situation, well, is just damn hilarious.

I mean, to hear Sean Hannity and the like having to talk about foot-tapping in restrooms is reward enough. Pages of editorial cartoons featuring toilet-bound elephant Savion Glovers is icing. Any speech that can juxtapose "Thank you for coming out" with "I am not gay, I never have been gay" easily beats "I am a gay American." And all this took place in a state in which you can't spell the capital without "boi."

Really, what do I care whether the dude resigns? It's not like the governor is going to appoint anyone better...oh, the governor. That's the best part. I didn't realize until today that the governor of Idaho was named Butch Otter. Wow. Two gay slangs for one! Here's a picture of him with either a potato or a very optimistic condom:

Funny thing about Butch Otter is that he appears to be neither.

Idaho. So much more than Ruby Ridge. Who knew?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The end of the eclipse

Holding on to stupid traditions is a habit of mine, but something can't be a tradition unless one does it at least twice. Even so, against my better judgment, I'm once again going to let fate decide my theme song for 2008. For this year, I wound up with a remix of "Total Eclipse of the Heart," so things can only improve from there.

The candidate list is pretty short, as the only time I listened to my iPod on my actual birthday was during a brief morning workout. So, here they are:

"Beautiful" Jessica Molaskey
Well, it's really her version of "Beautiful Dreamer." A bit corny, perhaps, but not a bad choice.

"Crumb by Crumb," Rufus Wainwright
The "Want Two" album is slowly growing on me, and this is a rather lovely song. And I guess New York is a sort of big black forest.

"I Wanna Be a Producer," Matthew Broderick
Well, not really. Actually, I'm not sure why that is still on my iPod. But there are worse choices. I do like to drink champagne until I puke.

"Liebestraume Nocturne No. 3," Franz Lizst
I used to play this on the piano, or try, at least. Another lovely choice.

"Love Me Like a Song," Kimmie Rhodes and Willie Nelson
OK, don't laugh. You have to love Willie.

"Pilate's Dream," David Burt
How did I ever even make it through this workout with all these slooooooooow songs? I've never, consequently, dreamed I've met a Galilean. A most amazing man, perhaps, but I don't think he was a Galilean.

"Toccata and Fugue in D minor," Bach
A little overly dramatic and dark, of course. This would have been a good theme for 2002!

"Tra Le La Le La Triangle," Patsy Cline
Oddly enough, I think this is the most upbeat song on the list. And two lovers? At least it's not zero.

"Pure Imaginations Medley," Krisanthi Pappas
You have lived until you've heard a jazz version of the Oompa Loompa songs. But I'm more interested in getting a golden ticket and/or a golden twinkle in my eye.

All in all, not the most stimulating choices, but overall positive and optimistic messages. If nothing else, I'm taking that as the ruling out of a Duncan Hunter presidential victory!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Teetering over the edge

So, tomorrow is my 29th birthday -- or, as my father would quickly point out, the beginning of my 30th year. Whatever. I mean, I might as well be 30, anyway, because no one ever believes you when you say you're 29.

Still, even though no one really looks forward to birthdays past the age of 21, I at least have a little more reason to appreciate it in adulthood than I did as a kid. The Aug. 25 date meant that although presents were coming, so was school (or, as Texas kept pushing the school start date further and further up in the early 90s, that school had already started). In fact, I had the distinction of being born on the first day of school, giving my youngest sister, who wasn't too thrilled with the aspect of losing her baby-of-the-family status, another reason to hate the day.

Now, however, summer is more of a nuisance than anything else. Sure, it's nice to get out to the beach or a pool for a few days. But mostly, it just means more sweat, more bugs and nightly block parties. Fall and winter bring better fashion choices, more holidays, lower electric bills and marginally fewer tourists.

So, at least now I can be comforted with my birthday by knowing I can box up the fan for another year. Except next year. I plan on being far, far out of the country for that birthday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My lucky roommate

OK, this is one celebrity sighting that I just can't ignore. The other day, my roommate called me in quite a state. While at a video store on 5th Avenue, he saw none other than TBN's Paul Crouch and an attendant shopping! His wife Jan, unfortunately, was nowhere in sight.

My roommate shot this brief video, and we agreed that without a doubt, it had to be him. The Crouches were always an endless sort of fascination to me. Their "Praise the Lord" show is a nonpareil in jaw-dropping gaudiness, money-grubbing audacity and a gathering place for charlatan preachers of every genus. Seeing Crouch is landing quite the Marlin in evangelist-spotting.

I'm also quite looking forward to Christiane Amanpour's piece tomorrow in which she has an interview with Jerry Falwell just days before his death as well as another source of fascination for me: the corpulent, bombastic John Hagee. What a month!

By the way, who the heck gave my Madonna video a one-star rating? It was SUPPOSED to be of terrible quality. Go back to watching videos about shoes and anime sequences set to Chumbawumba music, you crumbum,

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hurricane hysteria

I certainly wrote my share of "watching the hurricane" stories while working on the Texas Gulf Coast, most of which were on storms that never hit anywhere near our coverage area. So, I can only muster half an eyeroll for the overzealous reporting and reacting that comes during hurricane season. I sympathize with the weather forecasters, actually. It's one of their few chances to have the top story for several days in a row.

My mother is another story. She gets so furious with the Houston forecasters, always saying that she suspects they hope the big storm makes a direct hit on the city. So I had to chuckle when she related to me the coverage that accompanied the minimal Tropical Storm Erin when it made landfall last week.

They had plans to go visit my oldest sister in Rockport for my brother-in-law's birthday and to go catch a minor league baseball game. The weather forecasters, predicting the dire rains with Erin, almost made them cancel their trip, but they decided to go, anyway. My youngest sister, seeing the same sort of news reports from her home in New Orleans, called my oldest sister worriedly to make sure my parents made it in all right.

As it turned out, Erin, which quite near Rockport, dropped a whopping 0.09 inches of rain on the city. The minor league baseball game wasn't even delayed by a minute. My oldest sister left a sarcastic message on my youngest sister's answering machine, starting with, "Well, we're all in the hurricane shelter now, but we're doing all right..."

Yes, I know even that minimal storm turned into a major flood event for some other spots. Still, it's no wonder to me that so many people don't evacuate when there really is a dangerous situation occurring. One can only be made frightened by drizzle so many times.

Oh, and here's a nasty bit of inside information. Mom was right. There are indeed a bunch of reporters out there who, in a twisted way, do hope for the big one to hit. It's called building a great clip file. Sounds callous, but it's true. Where do you think Dan Rather would be if he didn't tie himself to a pole during Hurricane Carla?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cold as hell? I'm there.

It's been a while since I've done any theatre writing because, frankly, it's been a pretty slow period, even for the summer. There is, however, one quiet little show I caught Saturday night that merits a brief mention.

"Tom Crean: Antarctic Explorer," now playing at the Irish Repertory Theatre isn't a master class in acting like "The Year of Magical Thinking," nor does it provoke any sort of self-examination like "The Fever." So why is it thoroughly more entertaining than either of those shows, both of which I ultimately liked? Why is it that even though Crean was a good 30 minutes longer (with one well-placed intermission) than either of those shows, my mind didn't wander once, liked it admittedly did during the two others?

Because, although solo star and scribe Aidan Dooley doesn't wield the acting prowess of a Vanessa Redgrave or the writing prowess of a Wallace Shawn, he has found darn good story to tell and does a darn good job of telling it. What Crean went through during his three Antarctic explorations is nothing short of superhuman survival. Sure, the writing feels a little lecture hall at times, but Dooley's convivial delivery style overcomes it.

What really won me over, however, is it proves that a good-for-the-whole-family show doesn't have to be insipid (hear that, Disney?). A kid of about 10 or 11 sat next to me and didn't say one word or squirm during the entire show. He did give me material for my first ever submission for "Overheard in New York" before the show, but that's another story.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Even more answers to reader questions

Thanks to the magic of StatCounter, I'll once again try to answer the queries that have led people to this site:

Did they take their clothes off in 'columbinus'?

Yes. Yes, they did. Actually, they started out in their skivvies and put their clothes on. Missed it? Too bad for you. It was a darn good show, to boot.

The emergency brake on the subway in New York?

My advice: DON'T TOUCH IT. Ever. Period.

Patricia Heaton? Patricia Heaton? Patricia Heaton? Patricia Heaton? Patricia Heaton?

Someone call Ms. Heaton. It appears her macaw has escaped its cage.

Is Dave Ward in Houston gay?

For you non-Houstonians, Dave Ward is the newscaster who has been there since Philo T. Farnsworth's day. And to whomever asked this question, I hope, for your sake, you give your gaydar a serious tune-up. No, no, a thousand times, no.

The ultimate 11 Mames?

Let's see. There was Angela Lansbury. Rosalind Russell. Lucille Ball. Christine Baranski recently. Umm, the real one. Sorry, I can't name any more. Just this many has already charmed the husks off of all my corn. Not Carol Channing, speaking of which.

Raul Esparza hair images?

You mean on his head, I presume. At least you'd better, because that's all there is. So I hear.

Cooper Lowenthal nude?

OK, what's this? People find my blog by looking for other bloggers nude? And not me? I'm insulted! Don't make me pull out more gratuitous...never mind. As for the question, maybe he did a production of "Hair" once. Ohhhh, THAT'S what the last question meant!

Jonathan Groff's mole?

Don't worry. He checked. It's benign. Aaron Neville should really follow his lead, though.

Behead me?

Uh, OK.

Can a Texan live in New York City?

Oh, come now, my friend. Not only is that an emphatic yes, but I'd daresay without Texans, New York City's population would rank somewhere between Virginia Beach and Omaha. This is the new Colorado.

'Weakest Link' drag queen torrent?

I see someone watches the Game Show Network! But you've made a very common mistake. That wasn't a drag queen torrent. That was the special "Celebrities From TBN" edition.

Rhys Meyers fag?

He smokes now? Tsk tsk.

Well, that's it. I'm also proud to say I'm the number one search for "gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now." Number four without quote marks. Hooray for incontinence! Still, no one asks me about Tyler Hanes anymore.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I am officially an old man

No, I'm not talking about a certain birthday coming up soon.

Last night, I did something I had never done before. I called in a noise complaint. And it was these guys, the stars of one of my very early posts on this blog.

Last year, Iglesia Cristiana had only one obnoxious outdoor service. This time, it's been one or two a week for the last three or four weeks. The congregation sets out rows of chairs on the street, the preacher sets up a loudspeaker and the show is on for at least an hour: a screaming preacher and horrid, repetitive songs sung flatly to a shrill keyboard. And it takes over my entire apartment.

Sorry, guys. I'm sure there's a special place in hell for people who report churches to the police. But at least it will be quiet there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Here's some more fun with letters to the editor. Now, usually, the person who stoops to calling their opponent a Nazi is the one losing the argument. But how else do you respond to this (emphasis mine)?

Illegal immigrants should be treated like criminals

Response to Sen. Arlen Specter’s article in the Aug. 8 edition of The Facts:I believe the only new laws needed are those which would punish both employers and landlords who deal with the invaders — spin-doctored to “illegal immigrants” — who are criminals and should be treated as such.

Probably the best deterrent to these criminals would be to have the military pick them up and place them in concentration camps for a sentence of at least a year. There is a sheriff in New Mexico who houses the county prisoners in tents and feeds them on $1.30 a day. If there was a good chance that these invaders would not be able to send money home, they would stay home.

Those who provide lodging and jobs for these criminals should be sent to prison for at least a year and fined to the extent that the business would fold. If there is a need for the product or service they provided, someone would step up and start a new business to fill it.Those prosecuted also should include executive officers, such as the president and CEO.As to the wives and children of these invaders, send them home to Mexico or wherever their spouse comes from as I do not feel that the taxpayer should provide for the families of criminals.

Jerry McKeand, Sweeny

Calling for concentration camps. This is post-Guantanamo America, folks.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Politician thinks inside the belt way

Even non-Brazoria Countians might be familiar with Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley by now, as he made national news earlier this year when he sought a ban on the N-word, followed up by a demand to bring prayer back to school in hopes of converting a few infidels. Well, he's back, and this time, he's after your pants.

Apparently gangs of boxer-flashing youths are terrorizing the city, and throngs of people (which I read as maybe one or two) are begging the town leaders to do something about it. Rather than actually have to confront a child and say "Pull up your pants, please," I guess the natural progression of things is to pass a law.

And leave it to Louisiana to have done it first. Here's their law, which will serve as a model to the tiny burgh of Brazoria:

The two Louisiana cities’ ordinances state. “It shall be unlawful for any person in any public place or in view of the public to be found in a state of nudity, or partial nudity, or in dress not becoming to his or her sex, or in any indecent exposure of his or her person or undergarments, or be guilty of any indecent or lewd behavior.”

Now, I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that "partial nudity" could even cover Joe Bob when he strips down to his too-tight undershirt while using the push mower on one of those 105 heat index days that aren't too uncommon in Brazoria. And "dress not becoming to his or her sex" could cover a whole checkout line at a Wal-Mart on any given day.

At any rate, my nephew gets his drivers license next year -- God, I'm getting old -- and I've seen the way he likes to dress. He'd better hope they get that bypass loop around Brazoria built before then.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More vacation slides

I was going to review the show I saw today, but it was so awful, I don't ever want to think about it again. Instead, I'll show off a few photos from my very brief trip to Mexico City last week (as usual, click to enlarge):

This was in Zocalo, the central square in Mexico City. Although there's quite a lot to see there -- government buildings, a lovely cathedral and a giant flag -- I decided instead to show some guy selling food. I did eat some of that pepper-covered candy that I haven't had since I was a child in Texas, and I'm proud to say, I'm able to finish it, now.

This is a sunstone, or a Mayan calendar, at Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology. My only regret from hearing about these fascinating cultures of Central America is it makes me remember how dull my own ancestors were. I think they caught fish or something.

The quality sucks, but this is from the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. Even after a 6 a.m. flight (meaning a 3 a.m. wake-up, which was actually 2 a.m. Central Time), this managed to keep me captivated. Even more fascinating was that I was even allowed to take this photo, but apparently photography was allowed. The flashbulbs were a bit distracting after a while.

The highlight of the trip to me, however, was visiting Frida Kahlo's house. They recently -- meaning a few years ago -- opened a bathroom that had been locked for decades, a door Frida herself had requested remain shut for a certain period of time. Once opened, it had all sorts of letters, drawings and photographs stored inside. Some bathroom reading! They're still going through and preserving all the documents.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Is Gloria Allred available?

I had a lovely surprise waiting for me in my mailbox today. As it turns out, the owner of my building has gone bankrupt! I particularly loved how the letter started " you probably already know." Yeah, sure. I read it on Drudge.

At any rate, the letter told me little more than to be sure to send my rent checks to the Chapter 11 trustee rather than the property owner. Very well, but that leaves a lot of unanswered questions. What happens to my lease? What about my security deposit -- no small sum, I might add -- and the interest it's accruing? Who takes care of maintenance?

Also funny was the offer that I had the option of hand delivering my rent to the new location rather than mailing it. This new location is on the 57th floor of the Chrysler building. Right. I'll get right on that.

There is tons of info out there for landlords who have tenants declaring bankruptcy, but not much out there for this situation. Whatever it is, I'm sure they're going to find a way to screw my neighbors and me.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Presidential forum a wash

The Human Rights Campaign/Logo presidential candidate forum on gay issues isn't quite over yet -- Hillary Clinton just took the stage -- but even with the worsening streaming video from Logo's Web site, the nut of this event is already pretty clear. Gay rights issues will not be a deciding factor for me in the upcoming Democratic primary.

Every candidate has the same song and dance: No to marriage, yes to civil unions, yes to employment discrimination laws and yes to repealing "don't ask, don't tell." True, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich are to be applauded on being the only ones to supporting full marriage equality, but being realistic is a bitch, isn't it?

Were I grading the individual candidates, John Edwards seemed the most uncomfortable and Clinton as of now seems most at ease, followed closely by Barack Obama. Of course, Clinton's on the friendliest of territories, with the HRC obviously in her corner.

As for the forum itself, I knew it would be -- pardon my French -- a circle jerk, and it didn't disappoint in that regard. Bill Richardson got the toughest questions for his support of DOMA and his use of the word "maricon" on a Don Imus appearance, and he handled them poorly. So why did Edwards and Clinton, both of whom have had some equally dubious moments in this regard, get a free pass? And why the heck was Melissa Etheridge asking Richardson about bark beetles?

Pity the Republican candidates all declined an offer for a similar forum. Now that would have been entertaining.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Happy anniversary to me!

Just under the wire, let me pop the decidedly non-pomegranate virtual champagne, as this little blog is one year old today! Here's my virgin post for proof.

It's kind of fun to read the scatter-brained progression of my first 10 posts: the obligatory introduction, bats in a Brazoria County apartment complex, something stupid Ann Coulter said, my very first theatre review here ("Spring Awakening," when it was still Off-Broadway), another review of a silly musical, griping about press release language, griping even more about not being able to carry liquids on airplanes, getting excited about "Mama's Family" reruns, something about presidential humor and lamenting Constantine's Broadway debut. I'd like to think I've more settled into a niche here now, with mostly personal stuff peppered by an occasional theatre review. I don't do much politics anymore, except when something particularly burns me up. There's plenty of other bloggers out there doing that much better than I could ever do.

At just over 180 posts, I guess that's an average of one every other day, which isn't bad, considering I've never mastered the short form. I've also built something of a respectable readership in that time, somewhere between 50 and 100 on a given day, at least when I'm actually posting (weekends don't count, of course). So thanks to all who stop by semi-regularly and particularly those who comment. And as always, if I don't link to you and you think I should, let me know, as I have a pretty liberal blogrolling policy.

And no more gratuitious shirtless pics. I promise.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Decitification complete

So, I suppose I should throw in a few photos from the Vermont trip, as I leave again this Sunday for yet ANOTHER out-of-town trip. This one will be pure business, but it should be fun. Hint: I'm hoping to be a true tequila expert upon my return. Anyway, here are a few shots from our great green north (click for full size, if you're so inclined):

This very cold waterfall that I can't remember the name of was quite refreshing to wade in, but the rocks were quite pointy and slippery. A sign at the front had the list of everyone who had died while climbing on the waterfall. The most recent one was a few months before I was born. My goal was to not trip, crack my head open on a rock, drown and break an almost 30-year safety record.

Seriously, why don't more towns have pedestrian-only main drags? This is Burlington. Lovely little town, save one pushy girl in the mall. (We were only in there to buy a quick pair of board shorts. Honest.)

I don't know why, but these cover bridges fascinate me. I'm sure Freud could come up with something on that. I never got to drive through one, unfortunately. This shot was particularly hard to get, because cars kept trying to get through.

I didn't shoot much during our day trip to Montreal, but this was the bar -- Le Drugstore -- where we caught happy hour. Very laid back and fun, but one quibble: The drinks came in large glasses, but they still only used one shot with the full glass of mixer! Somewhere among my gallon of cranberry juice, there were a few molecules of vodka, I guess. Oh, this would be, from right to left, Eric from Southern Boy, his boyfriend Brett and my dear friend Kristina from Houston. Kris had hell getting home on Sunday, what with all the canceled flights out of Boston.

But this is why we were really here, right? Notice everyone had abandoned me except for my beloved pomegranate champagne.