Friday, December 30, 2005

Hello, Columbus?

New Year's Eve in Ohio? What am I, fucking retarded? (to quote former Hawks coach Hubie Brown)

No, just desperate for some debauchery, compliments of my former L.A. sidekicks (or was I their sidekick?) Regardless, a good time will be had by all. Precedent dictates.

Anyway, I doubt I'll be diatribing any while in the heartland. If not, see ya in '06.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sad for them, but what about my bridal shower?

I'm not arrogant enough to list my top five or 10 posts of the year. Actually, I am, but I'm spent right now.

I'll keep the indulgence to a minimum, re-issuing, what I feel, was my best diatribe of the year. Is there anything as fulfilling as righteous indignation?


With few exceptions, I find myself at odds with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, particularly when they organize an awards show celebrating the very thing they are supposed to be aligned against. I recently watched that contradiction on the new LOGO cable channel, otherwise known as Lifetime for Gays (beware any creation that bears the MTV stamp).

Forgive the digression, but I'm so glad to see GLAAD stand up to the James Dobsons of the world and reaffirm our constitutional right to hold an awards show! Following that tone, minus the sarcasm, was Alan Cumming (writer and co-star "The Anniversary Party," a monument to cinematic self-importance), who sent my gag reflex into overdrive as I watched him bloviate against the "fascism" of the Bush adminstration upon recepit of an award for artistic courage, or lifetime achievement, or "Most Likely to Play the Great Gazoo" in the next "Flintstones" movie.

I watched Cumming employ the latest trend in artistic defiance, ignoring his alloted speech time (damn you, band conductor, I have something to say! Something so damn important it can only be said on an awards show!!) to berate the usual, predictable suspects in the usual, overstated style favored by many of today's "Access Hollywood" activists. (You know, just like Gandhi used to do!)

According to the alarmingly self-absorbed Mister Cumming, the world's biggest human rights struggle is underway --- not in Sudan or Syria --- but right here in the U.S. Beheadings are one thing, but when the government wont't grant you a piece of paper acknowledging your romance, then, well, it's time to fight, even if it means pissing off some unsuspecting awards show producer! (While in favor of across the board equality, I could really care less whether the government calls it domestic partnerships or marriage. I don't need a bureaucrat to confirm whether I'm in love. Conversely, I don't want to be punished for it, but there are far bigger fascists to fry).

In Iran, two teen boys accused of the "crime" of homosexuality were recently the featured attraction at a well-attended public hanging, intended to remind the citizenry that those 72 virgins awaiting young Muslim fundamentalists in the afterlife are indeed heterosexual. Of course, such events are commonplace in the Middle East, but lest we forget that Elton John can't get married in Utah.

Fortunately, Alan Cumming didn't let trivial matters such as ritual torture overshadow the bigger issue of our right to blow a bunch of money on an antiquated religious ceremony. What's the point of living if there's no hope of a bridal shower in your future?

Again, I'm certainly not opposed to gay marriage, although I always thought the restrictions against matriomny were one of the unintended benefits of homosexuality. Never having to pay alimony can't be all bad.

Regardless, all this goes to prove that the allegedly enlightened left is just as shortsighted and insulated as the caricatures on the right. We have no problem comparing Jerry Falwell to Hitler, but we're strangely silent on the sanctioned execution of homosexuals worldwide by alleged "mainstream" Muslim governments. Islam may not be our enemy, but, sadly, most of its practioners seem to be opposed to even the slightest of minority freedoms.

Gays and women should be leading the charge against the moral equivalency now popular on the left. (Instead, our lemming tendencies lead us to applaud when an "Evening at the Improv" luminary like Margaret Cho declares women are just as oppressed here as they are in Afghanistan. Her point: those "evil" corporations reinforce the beauty myth that thin is everything, and voluntary eating disorders are in fact a conspiracy just as diabolical as anything the Taliban might conjure up).

I'm reminded of George Carlin's take on anorexia, bulimia and what not: "Rich bitch don't want to eat ... Fuck 'em." Sorry, but my sensitivities and sympathies are elsewhere these days.

Likewise, to finish my meandering point, I offer Bill Maher's "defense" of Christian fundamentalism, in comparison with their Muslim counterparts: "Pat Robertson has never suggested we behead Richard Simmons."

But haven't context and perspective become irritating deterrents to our increasingly one-track minds, a thought process that requires thoughtless adherence to ideologies driven by well-funded interest groups? Might I suggest Alan Cumming take "Cabaret" on the road, with stops in Tehran, Cairo and all those other thriving cultural hot spots in the Middle East? And take Margaret Cho along, too, provided she can find a Lane Bryant that sells burkas. Seems that eating disorder didn't take.

There is a world outside of Hollywood, and it's a helluva lot more brutal and intolerant than anything John Ashcroft advocates. While there's no debating that the religious right in this country have organized to elevate Old Testament morality to issues of national consequence, that doesn't mean we, too, must lose all sense of context and perspective. Unfortunately, it seems the gay movement already has.

***Orignally posted 09/06/05

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

On second thought, screw you, Ted!

I foolishly gave Ted Turner a pass in a recent post for dismissing the brutal conditions within North Korea. I shouldn't let my soft spot for kooks overcome common sense.

CNN re-aired its fascinating, and deeply troubling, documentary last night about life in Kim Jong-Il's hell on Earth, where the citizenry is starved, where old people lie dead in the streets and where those who even dare take a picture of graffiti critical of the country's fascist regime are put to death. (The video was taken by members of the country's political underground).

In one particularly stark scene, two young teen boys are filmed savoring a piece of chewing gum, their first sustenance in weeks. They smile as if they've just digested lobster.

George W. received a lot of flak for his "axis of evil" comments a few years back, and I can't understand why. (Granted, Iran, Iraq and N. Korea don't exactly form an "axis," but the prez has never been much on details).

Critics say we should be engaging North Korea's dictator, but any "leader" who ritually kills his own people can never be counted on to rationally negotiate. Kim Jong-Il is beyond human, cut from the same netherworldly cloth as Hitler and Pol Pot. And that may even be an understatement.

As the always astute Christoper Hitchens pointed out in a recent article, North Korea is a concentration camp. Innocent civilians are killed for sport. Dissenters dare not show their face, lest they face unspeakable torture.

More and more North Koreans have taken the dangerous step of crossing the border, escaping to China (where they're often forcibly repatriated back home, to certain death). When China becomes the land of milk and honey ... well, doesn't that speak volumes?

And where's the UN? From Darfur to Pyongyang, the world community remains largely silent. Criticize Bush all you want (God knows I have), but at least someone is willing to call evil by its name.

Can we at least agree on that? Oh, I forgot. Who are we to enforce our values on other countries?

Open your eyes, Ted, and shut your mouth. Your ignorance is as apalling as the world's inaction.

Amazingly fantastic and terrificially fabulous

There are many reasons I'm perpetually single. The biggest: I'm perpetually picky. Questionable taste in movies? Next. Too comfortable with bodily functions? Shudder. Too friendly with hyperbole? Sorry.

Of course, our whole culture is mired in exaggeration. Politically, George W. is considered either A.) The best president since Lincoln or B.) The worst human since Hitler. God knows the entertainment media is rife with false advertising: Apparently, Kanye West is, in fact, Jesus Christ.

I once briefly dated an artist in Los Angeles who found wonder in everything. Made me sick. He kept it somewhat under wraps our first time together but it began creeping into succeesive phone conversations. As our second date approached, that familiar feeling of dread began to overwhelm my body.

Being well-practiced in avoidance, I turned to an old ally: my tricky stomach. While my belly does in fact give me trouble sometimes, I've found that it can also get me out of unwanted situations fairly cleanly, if given fair warning. So, when the artist arrived at my apartment and effusively complimented my door mat, I went into bad actor mode (although I did play Oberon in a high school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." And no, I didn't realize the irony inherent in portraying the "King of the Fairies," not at the time, anyway).

Actually, I try to be fairly subtle with the "cramping." Just some occasional wincing and soft groaning: "You feeling okay?" "Yeah, just my stomach ... I'll be all right."

Then, said date came out of the bathroom at the restaurant where we dined (staying in "character," I ordered soup). "Oh my God, you have to check out the light fixtures in there. They are so a-maaaay-zing!" That did it.

"Ooooh, God. Oh damn. Man I'm sorry. I'm just not feeling well."

By then, he had dropped the word "amazing" more than two dozen times. Now I really was ill.

Point being, not everything is wonderful. Or terrible. Some things just are. You know: context and perspective.

When I live my dream

As a yute, I had one predominant role model: Mary Tyler Moore. I dreamed of living alone and working in a newsroom. Done ... though I've yet to turn anyone on with my smile. My legs aren't up to par, either.

Using some of my Christmas stash to buy the Season 2 DVD of the "MTM" show, I had this epiphanny that I've achieved my modest childhood aspirations. So I should be content, right?

Somewhere along the way, however, I decided I'd rather be Hunter S. Thompson, minus the suicide. Still, looks as if I've made it, after all.

Speaking of Mary, why isn't she a bigger gay icon? Compared to Streisand, Midler, Madonna, Cher ... no contest. Give me MTM and Maude, any day, and keep your half-baked, overrated divas in the closet, please.

Still, I prefer Krispy Kreme

Admit it, you hadn't thought about the "time to make the donuts" guy in a long time until I posted his pic the other day. Frankly, I hadn't, either. Now he's dead, at age 83.

No worries, however. Ralph lives.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Captain Outrageous

My beloved Braves are for sale, and there's great hope that Ted Turner will buy them back from Time Warner. Atlantans are quite provincial over Turner: sure, he's crazy, but he's our nut, and Atlanta as we know it wouldn't exist without him. The Braves could've very well moved out of town before he bought them, along with the Hawks, for that matter. There'd be no CNN, and there'd be no stories like the following, taken from "We Could've Finished Last Without You," a seriocomic diary by former Braves publicity director Bob Hope about his time with the organization, and Ted.

"When asked at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast what he was going to do about the crime problems in the stadium parking lot, he said he would run buses from the stadium to the north side of town during games, let the thieves steal from the more affluent neighborhoods, then get them back on the buses and head back home after the games. That way the stadium would be safe.

"He spoke at the Braves' Boosters Club annual banquet, giving a thousand of Atlanta's most avid baseball fans their first chance to see him. He told them he had Mafia friends in the North and would resort to roughing up other players around the league if necessary to win. He said he was serious about winning; the Braves slogan for the year would be 'Victory or Death.'

"He took a break during his speech to ask why the candles on the right side of the podium were burning faster than the ones on the left side. No one had noticed, but it was an interesting, if unrelated point. The crowd was bewildered. No one knew what to think of the new team owner."

Ted also had a unique way of making amends. One time, after angering Jews with one of his patented insensitive remarks, Ted responded with a seemingly heartfelt, three-page letter of apology. All was kosher, until he signed it, "Yours in Christ." Forgive me for finding that funny as hell.

There's dozens of other great stories about Ted's early days with the Braves in Hope's book, all of which seem to prove that the "Mouth from the South" is truly insane, completely guileless, brilliant and, somehow, likable.

Of course, the Ted of those days and the Ted of today aren't the same. I saw him recently on CNN telling Wolf Blitzer things weren't that bad in North Korea.

Yeah, Kim Jong-Il is misunderstood. Ted should watch the network he founded, which recently aired a harrowing documentary on life inside a country that's devolved into little more than a national gulag.

Only Ted can get away with such an indefensible defense. Barely. He's pushing most rational boundaries these days, but you get considerable leeway when everyone acknowledges you're certifiable.

High Cotten

The holidays have been kind to me: I got a Nano, a helluva electric toothbrush and great TV timing, having just caught a couple of my favorite movies featuring the big screen's most underrated leading man, Joseph Cotten.

From the psychotic uncle in "Shadow of a Doubt" to the overmatched writer in "The Third Man," Cotten displays plenty of range, with a good measure of sophistication. No wonder that he was a frequent muse of both Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock.

When you compare the likes of Cotten and William Holden to today's leading men (a collection of pretty boys and head cases, mostly), it's no wonder why one of America's great institutions is crumbling, at least in the mainstream. Carrying a film ain't easy, even though Cotten made it look that way.

Again, I'm having trouble with this whole evolution thing: from Joe Cotten, to Ben Affleck? I think that would be de-evolution.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

He should know

"Cheese is the new cool." That's from former "American Idol" contestant Constantine Maroulis. I don't know anything about the guy ... I try not to follow any show that features Paula Abdul as a judge of talent.

No surprise that the entertainment media has run with this assertion from a reality show flunkie. It's a good tag line, and it allows people with no talent a chance to say that taste is in the eye of the beholder.

Wrong. There is such thing as bad taste, regardless of the cultural party line. Cheese can be fun, but let's not allow the fawning press to convince us that Mariah Carey is cool. Or Mr. Britney Spears. Or a talent show featuring a bunch of wannabe Mariahs and "K-Feds."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mirror, father, mirror, father ...

As I watch "Ghost World" for the 26th time, I'm reminded of one of my all-time fave movie lines:

"What look was he going for? Gay tennis player from the 40s??"
---Enid Coleslaw to Rebecca

Going nowhere

To my fellow hipsters ... check out Cut Copy's latest CD, "Bright Like Neon Love." Quite groovy.


That was one of the less affectionate nicknames my Aunt Babs had for me. Babs is legendary within my inner circle: one of my prized photos is a blown-up portrait of Aunt Babs, sitting in a lawn chair, massive thighs exposed, cigarette in hand.

There are three Babs anecdotes that remain in heavy rotation. The first involves a chance meeting with the late owner of the Atlanta Falcons, Rankin Smith. Rankin was a good 'ol boy ... a rich, good 'ol boy. Local wags dubbed his family, "The Clampetts." Anyway, Rankin was friendly with a good pal of my mother's, and he was a frequent presence during my childhood.

Rankin despised pretense. Aunt Babs, of course, has none. So he was delighted when, after being introduced as the owner of the Falcons, Babs responded: "I don't give a shit what he owns. What am I supposed to, kiss his feet?" The duo ended up in our suburban backyard that night --- after downing copius amounts of booze --- shooting off firecrackers. It was not the Fourth of July.

Then there was Babs' first visit to our neighborhood swimming pool. She was wearing her Van Halen t-shirt, along with a pair of white Lycra shorts. We assumed, wrongly, there was a bathing suit underneath. My mother, aware of the visuals that accompany wet Lycra shorts, informed her sister that the neighbors might not be very enthralled with full-frontal nudity. "I don't give a shit what these country club assholes think," Babs replied as she jumped into the pool, cigarette in hand.

Cigarettes played an integral part of one of Babs' proudest moments. A devoted bingo player, she was enraged when her local VFW banned smoking during the parlor game. Babs led a walk-out, nearly emptying the hall. Soon after, the smoking ban was lifted.

Aunt Babs, the hero.

Pass the rolls

The Malcontent's Christmases aren't what they used to be. Our extended family has shrunk considerably, partly due to death and partly to avoidance.

There's my step-gradfather, Ralph, a dead ringer for the guy from the old Dunkin' Donuts commercials ("time to make the donuts.") Ralph wasn't big on subtlety, or honesty. He once worked for Jerry Falwell ("the Rev. Farwell," as he called him), who apparently had a bad habit of "goosing" Ralph whenever he bent over. Ralph claimed to have lunched with Colin Powell and Dan Quayle over the years, fairly impressive company for a glorified TV repairman.

He had two different stories for why the Playboy channel was included as part of his cable package: "I called that cable company and told them to take that filth off my television but they said it came with the basic cable." Or: "Rev. Farwell wants me to monitor that channel to see what kind of filth people are watching these days."


Ralph is a member of the hairy back club, so much so that my grandfather, on my dad's side, once astutely observed that, when shirtless, Ralph resembled "a burnt bale of cotton." We don't know much about his youth, save for his tales of racing boats on the Chesapeake River: "I was the prince of Baltee-more."

Ralph had considerable disdain for the South, bashing our collective intelligece when, for example, he couldn't locate a Mobil gas station: "Typical stupid Southerners." Hey, we asked for Mobil stations during Reconstruction, but the North was stingy.

I could write pages of Ralph stories, but here's a good capper. He claimed to have found a diet fueled by the following: a block of cheese, slathered in catsup and sprinkled with FiberCon, chased by a series of rum and Cokes.

***STAY TUNED for more family tales. Next, a closer look at my Aunt Babs, a retired forklift driver recently married for the fifth time. I can still recall her words of wisdom: "Wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which one fills up first."

Home for the holidays

I'm posting, with permission, an e-mail received from a good pal of mine out in L.A., who, by the way, has some particularly twisted Richard Simmons anecdotes from her days as a ghostwriter (Richard really, really likes Mammy from "Gone with the Wind" ... if only I could share more on that topic). As is the case with most of the Malcontent's "inner circle," Linda finds humor in even the most tragic of circumstances. All the best, L.P.:

Just got back from my sister's death and funeral. Not fun. But we did have a family-circle-prayer moment with the hospice nurse in her bright, red Budweiser jacket and my niece's beagle, in the circle, jumping up and barking at the preacher as he implored the Devil to leave my sister's body. Ah, Boonville, Indiana. What a trip.

What about the cut of his gib?

"Everyone could learn to like the things I like if only they tried hard enough."

---Aspiring bon vivant Wm. Stowe Richards, a.k.a. Reginald van Osteen

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Season's greetings from Frogtown

Another mountain dispatch from Candice Dyer ...

The other day, while eating sushi in Gainesville (a dumb idea from the get-go), the young, earnest, eager-to-please chef was hovering over me as I ate. After each bite, he'd ask, "Good, dear?" and bow deferentially. I'd nod and smile as I chewed. I had to force myself not to retch when I realized that the yellowtail had gone bad. I didn't want to risk a night of food poisoning, but I also didn't want to hurt his feelings. He turned his head for just a nanosecond, so I whisked all of the sushi into my purse to avoid eating it.

Then I proceeded to forget about it, only to discover the next evening, as I reached into the abyss for lipstick, that everything was covered in oily, spoiled, putrified fish gunk. Everything including my stash of Lortabs, which had spilled out. Did Liza Minelli have days like this?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Insensitive asshole of the year

Could Tom DeLay be an even easier mark than Scientology and Pat O'Brien?

"Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" --House Majority Leader DeLay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005.

Scary man of the year

I'm going with the "doctor" who founded, Neil Clark Warren.

He's the overly ebullient white-haired guy you see on the commericals for the Internet mate line. There's something frighteningly Stepford about this man.

Fraud of the year

For all those who dream of looking like a fat, middle-aged, bald charlatan, there is finally hope: the Dr. Phil diet book, a bestseller in '05.

Strange that the guy on the left is the one writing about weight loss.

Sleaze of the year

My end-of-the-year lists come sporadically, typically when I can't think of anything else to write.

There's really no need to name a sleaze of the year, since it never changes. Could you not fry bacon off of TV infotainer Pat O'Brien? Has there ever been a more repellent personality??

I thought this before the sex and coke scandal that almost sabotaged his career this past year. But Pat went on "Dr. Phil" and cried and everything was okay. Now he's back on TV, scaring children, old people and me.

There's a Scientology bunker in New Mexico

Sounds like a a great punchline ...

But there are actually crop circles in New Mexico forming the logo of the Church of Scientology.

According to the Washington Post: "The archiving project, which the church has acknowledged, includes engraving Hubbard's writings on stainless steel tablets and encasing them in titanium capsules. It is overseen by a Scientology corporation called the Church of Spiritual Technology."

Naturally, Scientology tried to quash the story, originally broadcast by an Albuquerque TV station.

So what are the crop circles meant to convey? "Former Scientologists familiar with Hubbard's teachings on reincarnation say the symbol marks a 'return point' so loyal staff members know where they can find the founder's works when they travel here in the future from other places in the universe.

'As a lifetime staff member, you sign a billion-year contract. It's not just symbolic,' said Bruce Hines of Denver, who spent 30 years in Scientology but is now critical of it. 'You know you are coming back and you will defend the movement no matter what. . . . The fact that they would etch this into the desert to be seen from space, it fits into the whole ideology.'

Recall if you will that Scientology traces most of mankind's woes to an evil alien lord named Xenu, a galactic holocaust perpetrated 75 million years ago, and, uh, the field of psychiatry. (The latter is a particular concern, as all of America now knows, of movie star Tom Cruise.)

The church maintains two other vaults in California to preserve Hubbard's materials and words, according to Hines and another longtime staff member who also quit a couple of years ago, Chuck Beatty of Pittsburgh.

'The whole purpose of putting these teachings in the underground vaults was expressly so that in the event that everything gets wiped out somehow, someone would be willing to locate them and they would still be there,' said Beatty, who spent 28 years in Scientology. Some loyalists are tasked specifically with the 'super-duper confidential' job of coming back to Earth in the far-off future, he added.

Is there an easier target?

What about dangerously true believer Jenna Elfman, whom you probably don't remember as the really annoying blonde from that show that used to be on TV for years but no one ever watched, "Dharma and Greg?" Here's some choice rantings from the latest issue of "Celebrity" magazine, a Scientology publication.

Not a damn ounce of subtlety in those people!

Boycott Georgia!

If you're following the lead of Alabama and Arkansas, well, you know where that's going to end. "50th in education" ... oh, that's us. The proud state of Georgia, the latest to join the "Boycott Aruba" campaign.

Our governor, Sonny Perdue (go ahead, laugh), doesn't do much, but when he does choose proactivity, it's usually a bust. Like when he canceled school during the post-Katrina gasonline "crisis." No buses, no gas, he figured, forgetting the fact all the parents will be driving those state-sponsored delinquents to the movies, the mall, etc. And when you trail Mississippi in anything, it's best not to be canceling school.

But that's our Sonny: "This boycott is necessary because Aruban authorities have failed to conduct a serious investigation" of the teen's disappearance. We have no quarrel with good citizens of Aruba, but the actions of their leaders cannot be taken lightly."

Sonny has apparently forgotten the 68 children reported missing in Georgia. Hell, by this Aruba logic, we should still be feeling the economic pain inspired by the unsolved "Atlanta Child Murders"(30 missing and/or murdered children and young adults from 1979-81).

Now if those 30 kids had been white and blond, everyone would know what I was talking about. Nothing but Godspeed to the family of the young woman murdered in Aruba, and no surprise that politicians would exploit their tragedy.

So stay out of Georgia, whatever you do. And Alabama. And Arkansas.

I know, tall order!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Back ... Back I say ... Back to New Jersey!

It's hard to disqualify "Have You Forgotten" --- the countrified, mindless anthem to patriotism --- as the worst in recording history.

"Some people say, fergit about Bin Laden" ... Now who's saying that? Not even Michael Moore has gone there.

But there is a worse song, which strangely came up in conversation between a friend and I this morning. A song so bad, it must be remembered.

When it comes to Marconi's lowest moment, this is it.

Or, have you forgotten, this 1998 hit by the Orlando-based (the birthplace of evil) boy band LFO, "Summer Girls?": (I've boldfaced some of the more ridiculous lines)

Yeah...I like it when the girls stop by.. In the summer
Do you remember, Do you remember?
...when we met..That summer??


New Kids On The block,had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick
And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer,for the summer
I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch,
I'd take her if I had one wish,
But she's been gone since that summer..
Since that summer

[Verse 1]

Hip Hop Marmalade spic And span,
Met you one summer and it all began
Your the best girl that I ever did see,
The great Larry Bird Jersey 33
When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespere wrote a whole bunch of sonnets
Call me Willy Whistle cause I can't speak baby
Sumthin in your eyes went and drove me crazy
Now I can't forget you and it makes me mad,
Left one day and never came back
Stayed all summer then went back home,
Macauly Culkin wasn't Home Alone
Fell deep in love,but now we ain't speakin
Michael J Fox was Alex P Keaton
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch


New Kids On The block,had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick.
And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer,for the summer
I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch,
I'd take her if I had one wish,
But she's been gone since that summer..
Since that summer

[Verse 2]

Cherry Pez,cold crush,rock star boogie
Used to hate school so I had to play hookie,
Always been hip to the B-boY Style
Known to act wild and make girls smile,
Love New Edition and the Candy Girl

Remind me of you because you rock my world
You come from Georgia where the peaches grow
They drink lemonade and speak real slow

You love hip hop and rock n roll
Dad took off when you were 4 years old
There was a good man named Paul Revere
I feel much better baby when you're near
You love fun dip and cherry Coke,
I like the way you laugh when I tell a joke
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch

[Repeat Chorus]

Bridge In the summertime girls got it goin on,
Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song
Summertime girls are the kind I like,
I'll steal your honey like I stole your bike

[Verse 3]

Bugaloo shrimp and pogo sticks
My mind takes me back there oh so quick
Let you off the hook like my man Mr. Lipit
Think about that summer and I bug,cause I miss it
Like the color purple,macaroni and cheese,
Ruby red slippers and a bunch of trees
Call you up but whats the use
I like Kevin Bacon,but I hate Footloose

Came in the door I said it before,I think I'm over you
but I'm really not sure
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch
repeat Chorus


In the summer girls come and summer girls go
Some are worth while and some are so so,
Summer girls come and summer girls go
Some are worth while and some are so so,
Summertime girls got it goin on
Shake and wiggle to a hip hop song
Summertime girls are the kind I like
I'll steal your honey like I stole your bike

[Repeat Chorus]

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On metaphors and Christmas

Remember after 9/11, when various pundits chided themselves over and again for their callous insertion of militaristic terminology into the everyday vernacular? No more war metaphors when discussing political disputes, or football games, for that matter. That was the company line.

Which dissolved within a matter of months, just as irony made its comeback. (Take that, Graydon Carter!) Now we're told, mainly by authors of books on the subject, that there is a war on Christmas.

I'll agree, to an extent. Political correctness seems to have finally overwhelmed the culture, and it's good to see the citizenry respond against societal speech codes. However, the biggest purveyors of sensitizing cordialness are those dreaded big corporations. Why do they have their greeters say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas?" Because that's the least likely to offend non-Christian fellow consumers who shop there, not that many gave a damn.

Now that Christians are offended, these large corporations don't know want to do, stuck in the same kind of moral volley the Ford Motor Co. currently finds itself in. (Ford caved into religious right protests about advertisiting in queer publications, then caved again when barraged by gay activists. Maybe Ford should've responded: Who gives a fuck? It's just advertising!)

So the department stores dither. It is "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays?" Could "Season's Greetings" make a comeback, via compromise? Meanwhile, the James Dobsons of the world sense a moneymaking opportunity when they see one.

It's familiar line: Christians are being persecuted. No, Christians in China are being persecuted. Christians in America are just not getting their way.

Of course, the larger problem, the commercialization of Christmas, is totally lost. Not that it was ever an issue with the Dobsons of the world. How can you run a commerical enterprise and decry commercialism?

Then again, hypocrisy never stood in their way.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Between civilization and chaos

It's a thin thread, one held together partly by adherence to the Golden Rule. The assault on manners knows no bounds, with some even excusing it as "the way things are."

I can be as big an asshole as the next guy (or lady), but that doesn't excuse it. There is, however, a way to fuse the two, one that will safeguard our threadbare civilization by deputizing the citizenry to enforce good manners. I've done it, and rarely felt better.

A friend invited me to watch a golf tournament about a year ago, and I must've really been bored. I despise golf. I despise those who play it (generally). I despise those who talk about it. Frankly, I don't like Tiger Woods much, either. (How is he considered charismatic, anyway? Talk about your cold fish.)

Anyway, after enduring a few hours of tedium, said friend and I were waiting in a hour-long line to board a bus that would take us back to my car. As we neared the front of the line, two young women decided lines weren't their thing and busted in front. I was immediately emboldened. (Thank you, Mr. Heineken).

When challeneged, they barely blanched. I continued the verbal assault (unfortunately joined by some chauvinistic lunkhead behind me). Their gender had nothing to do with it; I was targeting their rudeness. Some in line started to think I was the rude one, but the point had to be made.

When we reached the bus, a security guard approached the women and pulled them aside, informing them they'd have to return to the back of the line. As I boarded the bus, grinning, they complained to the officer that I was harassing them. But I had witnesses, not to mention plenty of support, as the throngs waiting on the bus greeted me with applause.

So, when you see someone violating the Golden Rule, challenge them. Loudly. Aggressively. You're right, they're wrong. And maybe, for once, justice will prevail.

Or just avoid golf courses altogether. Your choice.

***Pictured: Judith Martin, otherwise known as Miss Manners.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tommy Boy

Even though half of the very conservative voters of Texas now have an unfavorable opinion of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, George W.
remains supportive.

In a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred interview with Fox News (pause for laughter), Bush says DeLay is innocent of criminal charges recently leveled against him and hopes he will return to his leadership post, this despite the fact many House Republicans now want to keep DeLay in the shadows.

"I hope that he will, cause I like him, and plus, when he's over there, we get our votes through the House," the president says. (It should be noted that VP Lon Cheney recently attended a fundraiser for DeLay).

Meanwhile, the increasingly cranky Donald Rumsfeld has done a "heck of a good job," Bush says (recycling the same compliment given to embatted former FEMA director Michael Brown).

That does it. I'm applying for a job in the Bush White House, where it's apparently impossible to do wrong. And if somehow singled out for incompetence, I'll use their own techniques against them.

"I'm doing a good job. Things are fine. Change is bad." Then I'll repeat, ad nauseum, until the bonuses start flowing in.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Right on, Maude!

I've turned my back on every one of the so-called icons I'm supposed to worship. Cher, Madonna, Barbra, Bette ... couldn't be less interested. However, I will cop to idolizing one of the lesser stars in the gay universe.

As a grade schooler, I watched "Maude" reruns nightly. There was something captivating about Bea Arthur and her flowing mumus, and no one in sitcom history has done the slow burn better. It didn't take long for me to adopt Maudey's catchphrase, finding ways to include "God will get you for that" in just about every conversation possible.

Unfortunately, I didn't consider the consequences, as my impression of a liberal, middle-aged, upstate New Yorker didn't go over too well in my home, or at the bus stop.

Oh, grow up!

If I had been in a bad mood, then I would've said what I wanted to say to the woman in the airport reading the "Harry Potter" book (don't ask me which one).

"Have you read this?" she queried. No, I responded. Here's what I wanted to say: "No ... I'm an adult. I'm not really interested in teenage wizards anymore."

Adults who proudly read children's books worry me, but they're not alone. We're being overrun by overgrown kids, like the 40-year-old on the plane who couldn't take his eyes off a video game. Now I half expect to see grown-ups reading Highlights magazine in the dentist's office.

American cheeseball

I may not be qualified to reach this conclusion, but why in the hell is Hugh Hefner celebrated as a man of taste and sophistication?

Would the same be said of Charles Nelson Reilly if he hung out in some mansion with a bunch of Playgirl models?

I have no problem with Hef's lifestyle, but as for his taste ...

Clearly big plastic tits aren't my thing, but these gals are so synthetic I don't see how they're attractive to the man with an allegedly discriminating eye. Must be some fascinating conversations they have, particularly when James Caan and Jan Michael-Vincent join in (the Playboy Mansion also serves as a haven for washed-up actors).

Hey, is that Lyle Waggoner hanging out in the grotto?

Best of all, Harvey Fierstein's not in it

I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, but I've enjoyed some of Ang Lee's earlier films, and I can only assume all of the accolades heaped upon the film aren't just some conspiracy of patronage. I'm hopeful, not just because a gay love story is getting mainstream exposure, but that it's seen within a quality piece of work.

The queer film genre has typically consisted of nothing more than B-movie melodrama, and rarely has anything of artistic merit emerged. Just annoying bromides and tirades, with plenty of overwrought self-pity thrown in.

"Brokeback," meanwhile, features characters not born of stereotype, or so I assume. God help Jake Gyllenhaal if he breaks out in a show tune while sitting around the campfire.

Speaking of Hollywood's newest "it boy," I've spent time at his home before. Seriously. He was only about 17 or 18...

Regrettably, there's nothing lurid to report. His mother, Naomi Foner (who wrote the screenplay for the River Phoenix movie "Running on Empty,") was one of my instructors at USC, and she liked to have classes meet at her house.

And I thought she was the one I needed to impress.

*** Syriana comes highly recommended from this quarter. Not that it's especially entertaining, but it's very smart, meticuoulsly researched and professionally done, on all counts. Regardless of what you think about George Clooney and his politics, he deserves considerable credit for choosing substance over style in mapping out his career. What other leading man can you say that about these days? (Johnny Depp, perhaps, though his recent choices are suspect).

Lonesome, 'onry and mean

Country music was once an American art form, populated by iconic (and I don't overuse that word) figures like John Cash, Waylon, Willie, Loretta, Tammy, et al. It's been a long time coming, but country's gone pussy, or, at the very least, it's become annoyingly irrelevant.

From the moment Garth Brooks latched a wire onto his fat ass and started swinging above his audiences, I knew country music was dead. Imagine Waylon pulling that kind of stunt (how would he hold onto his Jack Daniels)? Of course, Garth is a probably a Miller Lite man ... much like the rest of his choir boy contemporaries. Nothing but lite-weights.

It used to be that country music was for everyone, though now it seems tailored towards the Wal-Mart shopping, family values crowd. It took a while for a music snob like me to appreciate the richness of, say, a Billy Joe Shaver song, but once I did I was hooked for life.

These days you've got washboard-ab'd pretty boys like Kenny Chesney writing songs based on an especially treacly line from a Tom Cruise/Cameron Crowe movie. I don't know how long ago this abomination was released, but apparently "You Had Me at Hello" is one of the former Mr. Zellweger's biggest hits. Can you imagine Merle Haggard being inspired by a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie?

May Kenny Boy be run over by a drunken Hank Williams Sr. in some afterlife.

While I'm aware there's some quality country out there (Beachwood Sparks ain't bad), it's only found in the margins, not in the mainstream where listeners once heard lyrics like:

"Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black"

Now, it's come to this:

"Oh, Justice will be served and the battle will rage.
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage
You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A
'Cuz we'll put a boot in your ass
It's the American way."

I never played the game

Here's a post from my blogmate at Rowland's Office, Charles Davidson, a longtime friend and writer with a properly sour take on some current trends:

Howard Cosell
had it right. Sportswriting today is overrun by mediocrities with the worldview of 18-year-olds who think a pop culture reference and a few stats make you Red Smith.

Especially nauseating is the trendy print reference to the hot babe du jour. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Mischa Barton of "The O.C." mentioned in sports columns lately. But of course the most hackneyed are the Paris Hilton and Britney Spears analogies.

Here are a few I ran across in a two-minute search:

"The problem is that unless you're drafting against your dog, your cat and Paris Hilton, you're probably not going to end up with all of those players on your team."

"He is fast and football savvy, but has an attitude problem and he carries more luggage with him than Paris Hilton on a two-week vacation in Europe."

"Ricky's mind wanders like Paris Hilton on a shopping spree."

"What began when Jason Varitek took exception to A-Rod's comments to Bronson Arroyo last July, when Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch everyone but Britney Spears knew wasn't intentional, carried over into the playoffs with more words with Varitek and Curt Schilling."

That’s worse than Jessica Simpson in a aaarrrgggghhh. Just write, for God’s sake.

Better yet, don’t write.

The Malcontent returns

Damn the cold slap of reality. I've been back a week, but slow to renew my bloviating, due to a nagging virus and an overwhelming workload. While the former remains, the latter has subsided and I'm back to dish out my usual complaints.

However, I have none about my time in the Dominican Republic. The weather was tropical and the landscape was picturesque, but it was the people that won me over. Though a good many live in poverty (rice farming is the primary occupation in the town where I stayed: San Francisco de Marcoris), it doesn't affect their generous spirit, buoyed by an uncomplicated life where the names Nick and Jessica and George W. and Howard Dean are barely uttered.

Of course, upon landing at Atlanta's airport, I was greeted with a barrage of periodicals fretting about the future of Brangelina, and other such meaningless people. My usual contempt for our cultural pettiness has only increased, as has my desire to comb the world (preferably via the back road).

I've posted a photoblog/journal of my trip here. (Check my links section, as well).

***That's me in the photo, captured at a San Francisco Gigantes game in the Dominican.