Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dolly Parton; Author Scams; James Strauss; Limbaugh Attacks Don Lemon

Dolly Parton on Gay Marriage

Singer, entertainer, and in some cases gay icon, Dolly Parton, came out with a few strong statements about gay marriage recently.

"I didn’t know any gay people in my childhood. I do have a lot of gays in my family now, but some will never come out," the singer, who was one of 12 children in a Pentecostal family living in Locust Ridge, Tenn., told Britain's Event magazine, per an article featured on the Daily Mail's website.

"I think everyone should be with who they love," Parton, 68, continued. "I don’t want to be controversial or stir up a bunch of trouble but people are going to love who they are going to love. I think gay couples should be allowed to marry. They should suffer just like us heterosexuals. Ha ha ha!"

I would bet that if you ask most gay men who Fred Karger is and how hard he's fought for gay marriage they wouldn't have a clue. But I can hear the sighs of relief from one end of the rainbow to the other with this one statement from Dolly Parton. Don't get me wrong. I love Dolly, too.

You can read more here.

Author Scams; James Strauss

A writer with a fairly high profile in some circles who has been asked to speak at "cons" and offers to teach courses for a fee has allegedly been lying about his publishing credits and past publishing work experience. In this case, from what I can gather, this one really took a few strong chances that may or may not be legal. Even more interesting, chances that could be researched with just a few simple clicks and taps.

James gets gigs teaching screenwriting courses based on his experience writing episodes on the TV shows HOUSE, DEADWOOD, SAVING GRACE and ENTOURAGE. The problem is, according to the Writers Guild of America and writer/producers on those shows, James Strauss never worked as a writer on any of those series. So beware. If you run across any conference or seminar programs where he’s fraudulently claiming those credits in his biography, please alert the organizers and have them contact Lesley McCambridge in the WGA West credits department. Okay, so here’s the April 2013 post that tells how I first encountered this fake, James Strauss:

You can read more here. It gets much more involved. Side note: these "cons" make a lot of people a lot of money. So the next time you decide to spend your hard earned money on any publishing "con" please take that into consideration...and take into consideration that by going to a "con" the odds are you won't get any further along in publishing than if you remained at home and worked a little harder.

The web site where I read all this is interesting, too. Lee Goldberg is like a sort of vampire hunter but he's chasing scammers instead of vampires. Bravo. We need more like him.

And here's a link to a commentary about author scams in general. It's insightful from a legal POV. Among other things, it talks about the author to whom I fell victim a few weeks ago who cried bully, and it mentions a trend where certain authors are associating themselves with well known celebrities in order to gain attention and sell more books. There's an interesting mention about using celebrity images without permission. I've seen authors do this, too, without taking into consideration they may be violating someone's rights. A few times I've tried to warn these authors and they've ignored me completely. Remember my post about how Sarah Palin's S PAC got sued for using a photo without permission? It's the same thing.

In any event, it's a commentary post about frustration. Unfortunately, unless there are a few examples made about stealing likeness, illegal contests, and all those good things we see we're not going to stop this any time soon.

Limbaugh Attacks Don Lemon

Good old Rush Limbaugh is at it again. The wealthy conservative pundit who will say or do anything for attention (and money) responded to a comment made about him on CNN.

Limbaugh recently went after CNN's Don Lemon for being gay.

"Well, over at CNN, they interpreted that to mean that I was defending Sterling!" he said on Tuesday. "How did they get there? I don't know how they get there. Erin Burnett played the sound bite and then went to Mr. Black Hole himself, Don Lemon—who sleeps with men, proudly—for comment."

My only comment, again, is that I hope people know all this is about as real as a sideshow at the circus. Or Joan Rivers' reality show. You don't really think Melissa is dating that hot British guy, do you? Or as Melissa would say, "SRSLY, Mom!!"

More here.








Straight Men Cuddling; Zachary Quinto Shirtless; Gay Activist Slams Obama; Chase of a Holy Ghost

Straight Men Cuddling

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WNBR-riders-London.jpg


Update Below

When my author friend, Jon Michaelsen, sent me this link yesterday I have to admit that I found it more than interesting. The article talks about how it's not as uncommon as we think it might be for straight men to cuddle in bed and show affection with each other in ways that have always been considered taboo. In fact, a study states that nine out of ten straight young men have spooned with each other in bed.

They believe as straight guys become less homophobic, they are happier to be more intimate with their friends.

‘We’re always cuddling, my lot,’ Jarrett, one of the young men who was interviewed, said.

‘We’re all comfortable with each other.’

Max, another survey participant, described how he and his friends would nurse their hangovers together at university.

Following a night out, he said he’s happy to watch TV, play video games, and frequently cuddle with friends.

‘If your mate has a headache you can like massage his head, or you just lie there together holding each other and laughing about how awful you feel,’ he said.

I could joke about this and make a comment or two. But I actually do find it interesting because I think straight men...and gay men...are always so highly underestimated because we've been socially conditioned not to show affection toward each other. It's always been fine to see two women dancing together, but not two men.

There's more here.

Update: I polled twenty straight men I know about this earlier today and not one said they've ever spooned or cuddled in bed with another straight man. They have no reason to lie to me. I swore it was off the record and I would not mention names. And these are guys who have confided with me on personal things in the past. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Zachary Quinto Shirtless

Openly gay actor, Zachary Quinto, didn't get a Tony nomination this year, but he is out there promoting the role he's playing for an upcoming Agent 47 film with his body. He makes it clear he's not an exhibitionist for fun...just for work.

The openly gay star of the Star Trek movies (Mr. Spock) would be the clear winner in a 'Shirtless Selfie of the Day' contest.

Quinto posted this shot of himself onto his Instagram account and explained that his exhibitionism has a professional purpose: he is busy preparing for his next movie role.

'Back to work(ing out). Agent 47. Home stretch.'

You can see the photo here. I pity the young male actor out there who is not "working it" with his body these days.

Gay Activist Slams Obama

A Malaysian gay activist, Pang Khee Teik, wrote what I think is one of those open letters to President Obama stating that he doesn't want Obama to use gays as political pawns.

While I appreciate the call for Obama to support the activism on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, I find myself confused by the intended outcome of such a support. How can they help, really? And who are they helping, really? (And no, I wasn't invited to meet Obama. But with my cynicism, could you blame them, really?)

On one hand, Obama's visit seems premised on securing better international relations. And better international relations are often the stepping stone for better trade agreements. Better for the signers of agreements, naturally. Most notoriously, the USA has recently been trying to promote the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement), which has terms favorable to USA's corporations and their economic interests, as well as the interests of ruling elites locally, at the expense of local communities and rights. A possible outcome of TPPA is the protection of the interests of pharmaceutical firms, thereby increasing the prices of HIV drugs and making effective cancer treatment less accessible for Malaysians.

You can read the rest here. It's an angry commentary that hops from one point to another, and I'm still not sure what this activist is complaining about. But it's an interesting read and some points do hit close to home for me.

What I would have liked is for USA to admit to its past discriminatory policies and bad laws targeted at LGBTs, and how some are still being enacted as we speak. Some states have recently signed into law the right of people to refuse services to LGBTs based on religious convictions. Really, USA, WTF?

And some states, like Pennsylvania where I live, have yet to recognize same sex marriage.

Chase of a Holy Ghost

I'm working on a new book in the Chase of a Lifetime series, Chase of a Holy Ghost, and here's a short excerpt. This will be the fourth book in the series and it should run about 80,000 words. I'm 99% finished and I'll post more about a release date.


By that time Jim could see he was friendly; just a little scared. He didn’t growl or snarl once. He seemed to be a Chihuahua with one of the most docile personalities Jim had ever seen. So he poured more water into his hand and the dog continued to drink until there was nothing left in Jim’s bottle.

            Jim reached out to pet him and the dog stood up and wagged his tail. “There you go, buddy,” Jim said. “Now we’re going to find out who has been neglecting you and get you some dinner.” Maybe he’d run away and he’d just returned?

            Jim had reached the point where he didn’t give a damn anymore about getting caught, not when a poor little starving dog was involved.

            With both hands, he reached out to pick the dog up. The dog wagged his tail and didn’t put up any resistance. Jim had a feeling that if this dog could talk he would have begged Jim to take him away from there.

            Once he was in Jim’s arms, Jim patted his back and checked his collar for identification. He remembered Hal shouting a dog’s name a few times while they’d spoken on the phone, but couldn’t remember the name. At least not until he saw the scratched tag on the dog’s thin black collar: “Jax,” was all it read. That was the name Hal had screamed during those phone conversations. Jim remembered it now. This had to be Hal’s dog.

            Although Jim’s first instinct was to get back to the car and take Jax home, he had to at least try the door to see if Vince Robertson was there. Maybe Vince didn’t even know about the dog. Hal’s housekeeper or the police might have let it out by mistake and didn’t realize. It would have been presumptuous of Jim to assume anything under the circumstances and he didn’t want to irritate Vince and ruin the sale of the business.






Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Giovanni's Room Shuttering for Good; Larry Kramer's AIDS Comments

Giovanni's Room Shuttering for Good

It's believed to be the oldest LGBTI bookstore in the US, and this May Giovanni's Room will be Shuttering its doors forever. I've been shopping there myself for a long time and it was the first LGBTI bookstore I ever visited. The owner, Ed Hermance, had planned to sell the business but the buyer couldn't come up with the funds. Hermance also said the money he's lost made it impossible to keep the bookstore open any longer.

He blamed retailers such as Amazon for the tough environment independent bookstores are currently facing.

“The government is allowing Amazon to tighten their fingers around the throats of the publishers and drive their retail competitors out of the business by clearly monopolistic methods,” he said.

Hermance said there is a possibility that Giovanni’s Room could be resurrected in some form, but said ideas would have to change in order for it to be successful.

“Whatever it is that they do, it will have to be something different than what we are doing now. If won’t survive if it isn’t different,” he said.


Read more:
PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News. Phila gay news. philly news - PGN exclusive Giovanni s Room to close next month

There's a press conference tonight, and if there's anything worth repeating I'll follow up on it tomorrow.

While I find it a shame to see GR close, because it's really the end of an era in many ways. I don't believe Amazon or other online retailers made it a tough environment alone, nor do I think anyone has their fingers around the throats of publishers. In the past decade never before in the history of publishing have there been as many LGBTI books published and self-published. Never before have writers had the opportunity to make even a slight living by writing LGBTI books. But most important, never before have readers had so many choices when buying LGBTI books. If anything, the old publishing system had its fingers around the throats of writers, and gatekeepers, including bookstore owners, only gave a select few the opportunity to be heard.  

The fact is that life has changed, reading habits have changed, and we've been moving toward a new era for at least the past five years. And I'm only talking about publishing now, not everything in retail.

You can read more here.

Larry Kramer's AIDS Comments

With the date to air The Normal Heart film adaptation in May approaching fast, Larry Kramer has been on a major public relations binge that's only going to increase in the next few weeks. In this article he talks about how making this film is a highly charged personal political statement, and he makes a few good points and a few I'm not sure I understand. You see that's because I was there, and I lived through those times, too. I was very young, but missed nothing. And my own experiences with AIDS didn't just stop in the 1980's, and I've never made a dime from those experiences.

Kramer says in a new promo video released by HBO: 'How do you get attention when the mayor (Ed Koch) doesn't care? When the president (Ronald Reagan) doesn't care? When the commissioner of health doesn't care? When the gay world doesn't care? The gay world did not want to know about this illness.'

I do recall the silence with both Mayor Koch and President Reagan. All politicians went dead silent. It's almost the same kind of silence we've seen with politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton with gay marriage up until recently. They weren't very vocal about it either. This is what politicians do in all things too controversial.

However, I don't recall the same silence Kramer mentions within the gay community, at least not within my circles. We knew what was happening, we wanted to know what was happening, and many of us took precautions because of what was happening. I can recall a time when gay men would go to a bar and order straight alcohol instead of a mixed drink thinking that the straight alcohol would kill AIDS germs. It sounds ridiculous now, but that's because we really didn't know all the facts about AIDS back then. No one really did. As we learned more, all that changed.

So while I'm sure certain people within the gay community didn't want to know about AIDS, I can state from personal experience that many did want to know about it and they cared about what was happening. I have one of the first works of fiction I ever wrote for an AIDS organization in Philadelphia in my files waiting to be re-released. I only have it in hard copy but I'm going to scan it eventually and publish it here on the blog...for free.

I've also had my own personal devastating experiences with people I know who have had AIDS. I can tell you everything you need to know, from PCP to IRIS. So Larry Kramer doesn't know all there is about AIDS or what happened back then. I'm not trying to diminish his personal experiences, but I don't like it when other gay men speak for me, or about me. There are many of us who know as much, if not more, only we haven't tried to make money on it. Most of us have been trying to make money FOR AIDS. I've always thought it uncouth for me to write about my personal experiences with AIDS, as intense as they have been. But I'm starting to rethink that, especially when I listen to Larry Kramer promote his experiences.

You can read more here.

Royal Marines Go Commando; Kissing Straight Guys; Lady Bunny Political Correctness

Royal Marines Go Commando

I think the beefcake calendar trend is starting early this year. Last year I didn't see anything until the end of summer. And this time it's the Royal Marines taking it off for charity.

The black-and-white photo shoot by prize-winning photographer Emily Nolan presents the uniformly ripped soldiers in various states of undress for a charity calendar celebrating 350 years of the Royal Marines.

There's more here, with photos and purchase links. But I think this one is tame, at least from the photos at the link. From what I gather they are far from going commando.

Kissing Straight Guys

This article talks about whether or not straight guys are getting more comfortable about kissing guys on the lips.

But not every straight guy gets outraged when another man kisses them on the lips, and that's where our entertaining list could be seen as a sign of how comfortable hetero men are becoming about being around gay guys. Some of the GIFs on our list show straight guys whose only reaction to a surprise lip-lock was a shoulder shrug, and in one case, to kiss back! If GIFs had been around ten years ago, I seriously doubt we'd see that kind of nonchalance.

You can read more here.

I wonder if there's a study out about how gay guys feel about kissing straight guys on the lips. Contrary to popular belief many gay guys would prefer to kiss other gay guys on the lips, not straight guys. Just thought I'd point that out :)

Lady Bunny Political Correctness

Lady Bunny is a well known drag performer who was recently interviewed. And I think there's an interesting section about political correctness, which is something we're all dealing with these days.

I was also very dismayed when the gay community pounced on Alec Baldwin for his transgression – can I even say “trans” anything anymore? You know, calling a paparazzi photographer a "faggot" the day after he won a two year stalker case and the paparazzi almost hit his baby in the head with the lens. I mean, Alec Baldwin is a progressive liberal! That’s the only group that supports gay rights across the board. He got mad. He said something people don’t like. Here’s my other thing: you’re going to get offended in life! If you decide to come out of the closet, there’s a lot of people that hate gays! If you decide to transition into a woman, there’s a lot of people who hate trans people. That comes with the territory! You’re going to get offended. GLAAD has included on its list of taboo words the term “gender bender.” David Bowie was a gender bender! There’s no derogatory term in there! I don’t think anyone’s ever bashed a drag queen or a trans person and said “You fucking gender bender!” You know? The thing with RuPaul and the "she-mail" controversy really riled me up because first of all, there are people who would bash your head in a dark ally if you’re gay, drag or trans. Are you going to focus on some silly game on a reality show? There are well-funded organizations who seek to deny gay and trans people equal opportunities and housing. Are those your real enemies? Or is it someone doing a "shemale versus female" thing? I just really feel like it’s kind of crazy to attack RuPaul and it just seems like word police. I looked at some graphic the other day called the "Transgender Umbrella" and it included everything -- drag queen, transvestite, transgender pre-op, post-op, two spirit, berdache, questioning -- and I fall under that umbrella. So if I want to use the word "tranny," which I’ve always seen as an affectionate abbreviation for someone who is a transvestite or transsexual, that is my right.

You can read the entire interview here. Once again, only civil comments will be published. I know how strongly some of you feel and I encourage you to respond to this (and everything), but in a civil manner.

I'm on the fence about some of Lady Bunny's comments. I think words matter and I don't think it's ever too politically correct to care about offending someone.





Monday, April 28, 2014

Beverly Hills Hotel Protest; US Catholics on Gay Marriage

Beverly Hills Hotel Protest

The Beverly Hills Hotel, a setting I once used in one of my books without knowing this, is owned by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei. The Sultanate of Brunei wants "homosexuality" declared a crime punishable by stoning. As a result many are calling for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the entire chain.

US actress Beth Grant, who is currently appearing on series The Mindy Project, supported the protest.

 ‘Hollywood spends a lot of money at the Beverly Hills Hotel and I don't want it to end up in the hands of that person’ she said.

‘We just want in a loving and compassionate way to put an end to it.’

The Beverly Hills Hotel responded this way:

‘We continue to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind’ a spokesperson said.

‘The laws that exist in other countries outside of where Dorchester Collection operates do not affect the policies that govern how we run our hotels."

Interesting. So I guess they're telling us that we should not mind the fact that gay people will be getting stoned for being gay in another country as long as we're all fine here in the US. That doesn't work for me in Russia and it doesn't work for me in this case either. I'd rather spend the night in my car than in any of their hotels.

You can read more here.

US Catholics on Gay Marriage

According to this link, US Catholics are more liberal about gay marriage than white evangelical Protestants.

Work done by the Public Religion Research Institute, released on 24 April, showed less than half of US Catholics, 49%, saw gay sex between two adults as 'morally wrong.'

An overwhelming majority, 78%, of white evangelical Protestants consider sexual relations between same gender adults as morally suspect.

When it comes to marriage equality, only 37% of US Catholics oppose it; 69% of white evangelical Protestants are also against same sex marriage.

This is no surprise to me. I grew up Catholic and know many Catholics and none of them oppose gays or same sex marriage...at least none that I know. The article mentions nothing about African American Protestants, and I'd be curious to see where those figures come in. I have read studies where most reformed Jewish people are pro-equality and very liberal. But I don't have any links to prove it.

You can read more here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Neil Partick Harris Responds; Gay Activist Leeches; Clay Aiken Running for Office

Neil Patrick Harris Responds

I've never even seen one episode of How I Met Your Mother, but the finale seems to have created a firestorm. And Neil Patrick Harris recently responded to critics on David Letterman.

Harris defended the show's finale on "Late Show," saying he was a "big proponent of it" and that he supported the show taking a more serious tone as it went on. In response to some of the backlash on his character in particular, Harris explained that some people don't necessarily "grow up."

"You want Barney to be the guy you bring your mom home to, but Barney is the guy that wants to bang your mom," said Harris.

There's more here, with a clip. It's hard to please everyone.

Gay Activist Leeches

The American Family Association's Brian Fischer thinks that gay activists are like leeches. This isn't the first time he's made anti-gay comments, and won't be the last.

"The point here is that with the homosexual lobby, you cannot ever give them enough. Don't even try," Fischer said in a radio broadcast. "There's no point in offering them some kind of appeasement in the hopes that they will leave you alone, that they will leave you in peace. It won't work."

Earlier this month, Fischer slammed the ABC series "Modern Family" as "poison" because of its portrayal of same-sex relationships.

All activists have to be like leeches to a certain extent otherwise they'd never get anything accomplished. So by making a moot point like this Brian Fischer either doesn't understand what activists do, or he just so filled with hate he decided to single out gay activists. Either way, I think his fear of becoming extinct overpowers his sense of logic.

You can read more here.

Clay Aiken Running for Office

American Idol's Clay Aiken is running for office in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District. But he's going to be fighting hard to win.

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers has represented the district for two terms and would like to make it three. The tea party favorite has a good shot at doing so.

The GOP-controlled state legislature gave Republicans the advantage when they redrew congressional districts in 2011. A veteran House Democrat who barely survived in 2012 opted to retire at the end of his term, while others in President Barack Obama's party face an uphill battle — even a well-known personality like Aiken.

When it comes to politics, I'm actually very positive about odds like this. I don't think it always depends on statistics. I think it depends more on good strategy and how you play the game. Previous recent elections in the US have proven that even with all the odds stacked against you there's still that proverbial glimmer of hope...if you're shifty enough and you know which asses to kiss. We all claim we want honest politicians, but always vote for the best sales pitch, from president right on down to the mayor of the smallest US town.

I would like to see Aiken win this.

You can read more here.



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Japan Digital Books; Berenstain Bears' App; Self-pubbed Bestseller DBW

Japan Digital Books

The other night while watching an installment of HGTV's House Hunters I saw a young professional woman who works as a mortgage broker looking for a small apartment in Manhattan. When she entered one apartment and saw vast walls of built-in bookcases she said the bookcases would be the first thing she took down if she bought the place. Her reason was, "Who reads print books anymore? Didn't these people ever hear of e-books or Kindle?" And this article about how e-books are moving forward in Japan is interesting because it seems to go along with the way reading habits are changing...not to mention the significance of e-books.

The Diet enacted a bill Friday to revise the copyright law to recognize publishing rights for electronic books. Under the revised law, which is set to take effect in January 2015, rights holders will be able to file suits to stop pirated digital books from being distributed on the Internet. Copyright holders of books and other publications have already been allowed to file such suits over electronic versions. The revised law is also designed to promote the distribution of digital books, whose market is growing due mainly to wider smartphone use.

You can read more about it here.

Berenstain Bears' App

For those who have followed my Chase of a Lifetime series the Berenstain Bears are a favorite with Jim and Len's son. The author of the children's books also came from Solebury, PA, which is where I live (New Hope is the main post office for everyone.) And now there's a BB app for Mother's Day.

We Love Our Mom! is designed for 4-8 year olds. The interactive app includes tools to help teach vocabulary, as well as a feature that lets readers record their own narration.

It's interesting to me mostly because I once read on a literary agent's blog that technology and children in publishing would never come together. What that agent failed to understand is that most children between the ages of 4 and 8 can run circles around her when it comes to technology.

You can read more here.

Self-pubbed Bestseller DBW

Divergent has been holding its own on the DBW bestseller list, but it recently slipped in the ranks thanks to a self-published digital book.

Divergent is this year’s runaway top best-selling ebook in the U.S. — but it’s not the best-selling ebook this week. (In the UK, at the London Book Fair, the buzz around HarperCollins is about why Divergent is selling comparatively well abroad.)

The juggernaut has been stopped and sits at No. 2 on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list, making way for Fixed Trilogy Bundle, a collection of titles by self-published author Laurelin Paige.

It kind of has a Fifty Shades look to it, but I don't know much about it. I just hope it didn't reach this bestseller point due to more gaming. I don't mind a little author/publisher subterfuge, within reason. I don't think anyone selling anything commercial can claim sainthood. But I'm not fond of the all out vicious race we've been reading about and hearing about recently.

More here.

Trans Teacher in Texas; Fist of Awesome Gay Bear; Johnny Weir Again

Trans Teacher in Texas

Last week a posted about a trans substitute teacher in Texas who was fired because a parent complained about her. This article mentions she's been allowed back, but with a few very discriminatory stipulations, one of which is they won't allow her around children.

She agreed this week to accept a full-time position outside the classroom that will last through the end of the school year.

'I said I’m willing to do whatever because I really need a paycheck,' Klug tells Lone Star Q. 'It doesn’t make me very happy, but I think it should placate them [the parents] somewhat.'

You can't blame her for taking the job. She needs the money. At least I can never fault anyone for doing whatever they have to do to make a living, especially in times like this where most people are making barely enough to survive and people like Hillary Clinton are making two hundred thousand dollars plus for each speech they give on the topic of income inequality.

In any event, you can read more here. It's very disturbing.

Fist of Awesome Bay Bear

I don't play video games much, but the title of the game, "Fist of Awesome," sounds so familiar to me. But I just can't place it. In any event, there's a video game out called "Fist of Awesome" and the creator of the game says that he intended the main character in the game to be a gay bear. And he did this for some very important reasons.

‘When I started making Fist of Awesome I always intended for the main character, Tim Burr, to be gay,’ Hunt said.

‘It wasn't something that affects the gameplay in anyway, it was just something the player would discover at the very end of the game. For a game that sells itself pretty hard on the whole beards and bears thing, ending the game with the understanding that Tim was a 'bear' all along somehow seemed appropriate.’

You can read more here.

He also says it's his way of creating equality in games. Bravo!!


Johnny Weir Again

The divorce battle continues with Johnny Weir and husband, Victor Voronov. And this time Voronov is talking about Weir's behavior...trust me, you won't be shocked.

'What he’d done to me is unforgiveable. Morally irrepressible,' he says. 'The most conniving behavior I’ve ever seen anybody do. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love him.'

Ugh!!

You can read more here if your stomach can take it. And here are a few previous posts about Weir and why he thought it was more important to support the Russian Olympics than it was to support equality.

These people never seem to go away.

Friday, April 25, 2014

"Palcohol"; Oprah's Stepmom's Ridiculous Rant

Palcohol

I'd heard about Palcohol earlier this week and when I saw this article to which I'm linking below I thought I'd post something about it because so many still don't know what Palcohol is. In short, it's a powdered version of alcohol, or alcohol in tablet form. (You can read more about it below at the Palcohol web site.) It's been a subject of controversy with regard to approval labels. And the reasons why there's controversy might surprise you...or might not.

But the TTB’s primary concern in regulating the sale of alcohol is not public safety. Rather, it is the collection of excise taxes. Therefore, any alcohol in excess of amount stated on the label is lost tax revenue.

“The Bureau is obsessive about collecting every tax dollar due to them, including spillage, leakage…strictly from a financial standpoint,” says J. Peter Clark, a food engineering expert and who has consulted for companies dealing with the TTB.

So the rash of news about Palcohol having passed TTB muster, and the subsequent revocation of that approval has exactly nothing to do with the powdered alcohol being declared safe. It was only deemed taxable. Essentially TTB approval means that the agency has side “sure, we’ll tax this, and here’s how.”

You can read more here.

Side note: Palcohol is so new I couldn't even find a definition on Urban Dictionary.

But here's a link to the Palcohol website with all the details you'll want to know, including how they claim it's been misrepresented by the media.

After seeing countless stories on Palcohol, it's amazing how many news outlets have so many facts wrong about Palcohol. "News" organizations seem to copy what another organization reports. The first stories about Palcohol didn't get the facts right...and then almost all succeeding stories, "copied" from the first ones got the facts wrong also. Some mistakes were:  That we were surprised that we didn't know Palcohol was approved and quickly changed the wording on our website (we knew it was approved) or that a package has 65% alcohol by volume (it has 10-12%) and many more mistakes. And most organizations are quoting things out of context just to make the story sound more sensational.

Oprah's Stepmom's Ridiculous Rant

I have to disclose that I've never been part of the Oprah fandom crowd. I like her. I think she's worked hard for what she has. But I've never been one to read about her personal life...or care about it. However, this article is interesting because some of the allegations are so ridiculous even if you don't know much about Oprah you will find yourself wondering what kind of a person this ex-wife of Oprah's father is.

Let me set this up so it's clear, at least from what I can put together from this article. Oprah's father was married to this woman for about fourteen years and he recently divorced her. The woman and Oprah's father, from what I gather, were living in a million dollar plus home that Oprah bought and owned. In other words, Oprah worked to pay for that home, not the father or the father's wife...who is nothing to Oprah other than a woman her father married and then divorced. And now the woman is talking openly about how Oprah asked her to vacate the house when the father decided to divorce her. 

Barbara Winfrey can pinpoint exactly when her divorce turned more ugly than she had ever thought possible. 

It was Friday 2 November 2012, her sixty-fourth birthday, and the day she received the telephone call that turned the implosion of her marriage into an 18-month legal battle with one of the most powerful celebrities on the planet – her stepdaughter, Oprah Winfrey.

Barbara listened as Oprah delivered her thunderous ultimatum: ‘You say I never talk to you?
I want to talk to you now. You have until Monday to get out of MY house.’

Earlier this month Barbara was finally served with an eviction notice. She has until 29 May to vacate the $1.4million house just south of Nashville that was home throughout her 14-year union to Oprah’s father, Vernon Winfrey.
Frankly, I think Oprah was being kind. And as far as I know there is no law anywhere that states you have to like the woman your father married and divorced or that you are obligated legally or morally to allow her to live in a home you own after your father divorces her. So the tone of this article really interests me. Should we feel bad for the ex-wife? Should Oprah be required to give her a home post divorce...or even keep an established relationship with her?

You can read more of the rant here. By the time I finished the article I found myself wishing Oprah had kicked her out sooner and told her to go buy her own home.





Thursday, April 24, 2014

Truth About Penis Size; Penis Englargement Products; Thickest Penis Ever


Truth About Penis Size
 
 
I'm out of the office Thursday and Friday this week, but I've written posts ahead of time that will go up automatically. So instead of the usual Friday excerpt, this week I decided to focus on all things Penis. It's an age old topic, the truth about penis size. Some think it doesn't matter and others will stand firmly in the belief that anything too large or too small ruins it for them.

 
Here's why sexologists say size doesn't matter. Any size penis can provide great pleasure for the man it's attached to. An estimated 95 percent of penises are average size (3 to 5 inches flaccid, 5 to 7 inches erect). Very few are significantly larger or smaller. When women have been surveyed about what they want in a lover, they consistently mention attractiveness, kindness, caring, listening, sense of humor, and shared interests and values. Very few mention penis size. Finally, sex therapists report that women clients almost never complain about their partner's size. As a result, most sexologists say size doesn't matter.

 
There have been many articles written on this topic and I've never seen a solid conclusion drawn. Unfortunately, you won't find one in this article either. But there is some interesting information.

 
You can read more here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201101/the-rare-truth-about-penis-size

 
Penis Enlargement Products

 
This article is from the Mayo Clinic. If you're like me and you spend even a small amount of time online daily you'll come across many advertorials that sound like real articles but in reality they're only hawking a product, and it's usually a questionable product at that...something you don't need and will never need. The truth is there are no penis enlargement products out there with any substantial back up to prove them effective. In other words, don't buy magic beans.

 
However, there's very little scientific support for any nonsurgical methods to enlarge the penis. And no reputable medical organization endorses penis surgery for purely cosmetic reasons. Most of the techniques you see advertised are ineffective, and some can damage your penis. So think twice before trying any of them.

 
You can read more here. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/sexual-health/in-depth/penis/art-20045363

 
Thickest Penis Ever

 

So much is mentioned about penis length I always think we get it wrong and more of the focus should be on girth...just saying. According to this next link, there's a dude five inches in girth. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_thickest_penis_on_record#slide=2&article=What_is_the_thickest_penis_on_record

 

And here's a link to one of those Yahoo threads that actually discusses thick penis in detail. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100520090433AAAMrrV

 

And finally, this forum talks about a penis 13 inches round. http://www.thundersplace.org/penis-enlargement/largest-girth-on-medical-record.html

 

Free Friday excerpt will return next week.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Worried For the Queen; Louisiana and the Bible; Pat Sajak Comes Out As Straight

Worried For the Queen
 
I often like to post several items that are not directly related but all fall into one category, and in this case the category would be: you've got to be joking.

The President of Zimbabwe is worried for Queen Elizabeth because he thinks she's been forced to support gays.

What has happened to Britain? They have grown small in mind. That wisdom which the likes of Churchill had, where is it? You can’t see it in people now with gay habits – shame on them.'
 
He went on, 'I pity the one lady I admire, the Queen, that she is in these circumstances, I’m sure down deep she must be groaning [at] the loss of values in Britain. They’ve gone to the dogs. Countries don’t respect Britain any more. Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the world. Which world? [David] Cameron ... doesn’t talk much, but he acts in the same way as [George W] Bush.'

You can read more here. I'm posting from an iPad and it's hard to get the links right, so I'm just adding them raw this way. http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/zimbabwes-mugabe-i-pity-queen-over-britains-gay-habits200414

Louisiana and the Bible

This article talks about Louisiana making the Bible the state book.

There was some debate about which version of the Bible should be endorsed. Some wanted the oldest edition of the Holy Bible in the Louisiana State Museum system to get the nod.

Others preferred the King James version, but this was nixed because Catholics do not use that volume.
Eventually the bill's text was changed to simply say 'Holy Bible.'

So much for the separation of church and state.

You can read more here. http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/louisiana-considering-making-bible-us-states-official-book200414

Pat Sajak Comes Out As Straight

This is interesting to me because I've seen this before with distant family members on facebook...straight guys coming out as gay as a joke...or whatever the intention. And I'm never sure how to take it. In one case, I just took it as someone who doesn't know any better. But you have to wonder if there is an underlying message? And I'm not the only one who feels this way, because when Pat Sajak recently joked around about coming as "straight" he received a lot of interesting replies.

'Seriously, mocking gay people? Is that all you got?' wrote one.

Another reacted by tweeting: 'Because I have a lot of gay friends that got dumped by their families and lost jobs when they came out. Just not funny.'

Others were supportive of the politically conservative Sajak.

'If Gays think they have to wear their sexuality on their sleeve.. why can't Straights? Be proud of who you are,' tweeted one follower.

Frankly, I will never be as close to that particular distant family member I saw doing this on facebook again. How far can you take the concept of stupid when you have gay cousins and you know...or should know...how important gay marriage is to them?

You can read the rest here. http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/longtime-wheel-fortune-host-pat-sajak-comes-out-twitter-straight210414-0
 

Valerie Harper Cancer Miracle; Matt Bomer Married; Shakespeare Gay?; Anti-Gay Words

Valerie Harper Cancer Miracle

I think almost everyone I know over thirty has had to deal with cancer in one form or another, from personal experience to dealing with family or friends who've been diagnosed. Tony and I will be at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York  all day tomorrow and Friday while a family member has a third round of cancer surgery, and then helping out another family member over the weekend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. So when I see articles like this one about Valerie Harper and how hard she fights I think it's important to point them out.

When I read and reviewed Harper's book in 2013 I also posted about her cancer diagnosis.

After being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, Valerie Harper was told by doctors that she could have as little as three months to live. That was 13 months ago. Now, Valerie is talking about her miraculous treatment with ET.

"There's so much more I want to do and you are right there with me, ET," said Valerie, 74. "I am not suffering. I am not in pain, so I'm really blessed."

Valerie's type of cancer is difficult to treat but fortunately she's reacted positively to her medicine.
"I just had a great response to a certain drug," Valerie explained. "I was supposed to be dead by Easter [2013]."

You can read more here. I think she's another example of pure inspiration.

Matt Bomer Married

I actually just assumed this was the case, and that Bomer was married to his longtime partner/husband, Simon Halls. But it wasn't officially announced until recently that Bomer and Halls were married in 2011 before Bomer came out.

The star of TV's White Collar and of the upcoming HBO movie The Normal Heart has revealed that he and longtime partner Simon Halls have been married since 2011 to Details magazine.

The couple are raising three sons: an eight-year-old and six-year-old twins.

The fact that he didn't disclose this sooner doesn't surprise me either. Even though we wound up in a marriage documentary with Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson marrying us, that was all an accident. Tony and I wanted to keep it all very quiet and simple. We've been together for twenty-one years and after all that time it becomes a very personal experience.

There's more here.

Shakespeare Gay?

I remember hearing these things back in college...maybe even high school when I took British lit. And I think we'll always speculate on whether or not Shakespeare was gay or bi-sexual. This article lists twelve possible reasons that might prove he was.

What can we know about Shakespeare’s relationship to Anne Hathaway, an older woman, who he married and had three children with? Well, very little.

The two married when Shakespeare was 18, she was 26 and already pregnant with their first child Susanna. Most famously, when he died, Shakespeare gave her only one thing - the second best bed.

This is viewed by many as a slight and a claim of how he had come to dislike her, viewing the marriage as a trap away from his free life in London.

To be frank, none of the points mentioned seem very strong to me. But they're still interesting to read.

Anti-Gay Words

I have posted about the word "tranny" often, as it relates as both a familiar term within a segment of the LGBT community and also an offensive term in other segments of the LGBT community. The debate continues. (I don't use it.)And this next link talks about what words are appropriate or inappropriate nowadays. I saw a new romance novel out with "queen" in the title and even though I know it's a word many gay men use when referring to each other I'm not sure I would ever title a book with the word "queen." If I were to use it in a book I would explain that this is only how some gay men speak, not all. It's not that I find it offensive. I just think it's had its day.

The interesting thing is that with almost all of these words and terms there are two sides to the story.

 In last month’s New York Time’s article The Decline of the ‘H’ Word Jeremy Peters wrote that while the word ‘homosexual’ for the most part is ‘inoffensive,’ ‘outdated,’ and perhaps ‘innocuous,’ the word nonetheless is viewed by many in our LGBTI community as a pejorative term.

According to George P Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the UC, Berkeley, because many still associate the word ‘homosexual’ with sexual deviance, the preferred terms are ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’.

I find it hard to use the word "homosexual" in blog posts or even in books. In fact, I don't think I've used it more than once in over 100 novels. I really do find it hard to use because it does have negative associations for me, and it's also somewhat clinical...a term straight people use when they don't know what else to say because the word "gay" makes them feel uncomfortable.

In any event, you can read more here. There are several important points, and all come with a certain amount of controversy.





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mean Girls Gay; US Anti-Sodomy Laws

Mean Girls Gay

The actor who played a gay part in the classic Mean Girls film, Daniel Franzese,  recently came out in real life. Mean Girls is having a tenth anniversary this year and he wrote an open letter to his character. I kind of like that. Not the mean girls. The movie was great, but mean girls suck. I like that he came out in his own way, on his own terms, and in a way in which he felt comfortable.

He wrote in a letter published by IndieWire: 'You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might've been easier to be gay growing up.'

That's powerful. Most gay men can identify with that. I recently was informed by a middle aged gay man still in the closet (married with kids) that he can't e-mail me for a while because he's afraid someone might find out he's gay through e-mails. The paranoia and denial always sets in sooner or later. He contacted me as a reader about two years ago and ever since then we've shared harmless e-mails about life, family, gardening, weather, and all kinds of things. I get e-mails from a lot of closeted gay men who aren't sure what to do, but I don't always get friendly with them. I'll miss this guy's e-mails. But I can't push him to come out and I can't fault him for not coming out. The best I can do is offer support.

You can read more here.

US Anti-Sodomy Laws

I would think most people are like me and they didn't know this. It's been 10 years since SCOTUS ruled that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, and yet 12 states still have them. I sincerely hope this does NOT portend the future of gay marriage in some states. Tony and I have talked about it at length and if PA doesn't legalize gay marriage within the next year or two we're listing the house and moving one mile away to New Jersey where it is legal.

Of 14 states that had anti-sodomy laws, only Montana and Virginia have repealed theirs since the Supreme Court ruling, said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization.

Warbelow says that in addition to Louisiana, anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

I hope all my gay friends down in gay mecca Wilton Manors have heard about this. I would hate to think anyone I know is breaking the law :)

On a more serious note, the article discusses sodomy and homophobia in a few sections. But I can't help wondering about all those straight couples who use the back door, too. Seriously.

You can read more here.

Loud Sex; Gays Arrested for Kiss; Noah Berlatsky on Romance

Loud Sex

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wassily_kandinsky,_testardo,_1929.JPG


When I saw this article titled Do Not Apologize for Having Loud Sex, I earmarked it for a blog post because it's interesting, and because in many ways it contains a few teachable theories that can be applied to anyone who reads or writes erotic romance of any kind. In other words, you don't have to apologize for reading or writing about loud sex either.

Of course this article talks about actually having loud sex. But I think it applies to romantic fiction, too.

Because if adults can’t have noisy sex in their own homes, with the doors and windows shut, then where can noisy sex occur? Galanes and Yoffe both recommend the sex-havers simply cease to be noisy — but this strikes me as a horrible injustice. The whole point of being a wage-earning, home-owning (or -renting) adult is that you can do whatever you want to do in the privacy of your home. And noisy sex is fun.

Exactly. It is fun. Dirty talk is fun sometimes, too. And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise they don't know much about sex...or they don't get it very often.

I can't tell you how much I love it when I find an article like this because I often add little comments to fiction during sex scenes that the characters are both consenting adults who are either married or in a long term relationship and they say and do things during sex that people who have been together for a long time know well. They've reached that point where nothing is unapproachable, for the most part, and when I write sex scenes with dialogue I take that into consideration.

And yet I've had people who aren't familiar with long term relationships comment on this kind of loud sex...or sex talk...in reviews and I never quite get it. But I think most people "get" it. They might not admit it. But they get it.

In any event, you can read more here.

Gays Arrested for Kiss

A gay couple was arrested for kissing in public. It happened in La Paz, Mexico, on April 20th.

The couple claims an officer approached them, called them a homophobic slur, and ordered them to come with him to a police station.

When they refused, the policeman allegedly ‘violently’ forced them into a van and held them at the station for a few hours.

You can read more here. I would bet this kind of thing happens more often than not and most don't talk about it in public. And not just in Mexico, everywhere.

Noah Berlatsky on Romance

Someone named Noah Berlatsky who thinks it's a novelty that men enjoy reading romance novels wrote another one of those highly subjective pieces for Salon that the rest of us are supposed to take seriously. I know it's an op-ed piece and I respect that, but I also think it's important to comment on some things...just for fun and games.

But it always seemed to me that books in the vein of “Pride and Prejudice” had to be out there somewhere, written by somebody less dead than Jane or Anthony.

He loves Jane Austen books. That's fine. Many people do. But some of us who love romance as a genre find Jane Austen boring and we can't relate to her novels. That doesn't make us any less intelligent, educated, or sophisticated. Most of us who don't like Jane have gone to good universities and we know where the bread plate is located at a formal dinner party.

Jane Austen showed up consistently, as did “Gone With the Wind,” but there was nothing that gave me a sense that certain books were clearly central, or respected, or worth reading. The genre is so culturally maligned that there has been no concerted effort to codify it. There is, in short, no romance canon.

Not all of us are Gone With the Wind fans either, which could be why there is no canon. I know that might sound blasphemous to some people, but I prefer cutting, sharp abstract art hanging in my home instead of fluffy melodramatic landscapes. Lace doilies make me gag. I prefer sleek minimalist sofas instead of shabby chic chipped drek with lace and frills. And I prefer my modern romance books to be *designed* the same way. Simple, thought provoking, sexy minimalist love stories with happy endings written by romance authors who know the meaning of word economy. The genre isn't culturally maligned. People who say that are culturally maligned.

As I say, I was at a loss for years — but, eventually, I ended up doing what I think most romance readers do. I got some recommendations. Janine Ballard, who writes for dearauthor.com, in particular, has led me to Cecilia Grant, Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale and a bunch of other wonderful authors.

He does make a valid point here. Recommendations are important. However, it's also important to understand the source from which those recommendations came. In other words, if you're looking for romance novels with the kind of narrative and laughable dialogue (he mumbled, grumbled and stumbled...or better, "She barked at him") don't trust the sources Noah named above. I doubt Noah or his sources would know Kandinsky from Loeb if their lives depended on it.

You can read the entire piece here.





Monday, April 21, 2014

Mark Ruffalo The Normal Heart; Colin Firth On Rupert Everett; Matt Bomer Too Beautiful for Normal Heart

Mark Ruffalo The Normal Heart

Mark Ruffalo who is straight playing gay, talks about why he did The Normal Heart, and how he feels about it.

"I was growing up during the AIDS epidemic, and I saw how cruel and how insensitive people were to these people suffering. It sort of has been forgotten in our culture what happened during those times."

Many of the pioneering HIV/AIDS activists depicted in the film, he added, "brought us to the point today...gay marriage is as common almost as marriage right now."

"That was an important story that needed to be told, and I was honored to tell it with the folks that I got to tell it with, and having Larry Kramer's words to convey it," he noted.

I'm looking forward to The Normal Heart. I grew up gay during that time, too. But I think this is what happens sometimes when straight actors play gay roles. It's not that they can't play the parts. It's just that when it comes time for publicity they say things that often make me wonder. Matt Damon did the same thing after the Liberace HBO movie and I commented in a post about that in March 2013. (And I thought Damon was wonderful in the film.) I think if Ruffalo were gay he would have said a few different things. First, the comment about marriage. Tony and I are legally married in only a few states, not in PA where we live and pay taxes. One mile away in New Jersey we are legally married. Gay marriage outside New York and other metropolitan areas is far from being as common as "marriage" right now. But more than that, marriage is marriage. Period. 

And please don't tell me I'm scrutinizing this too much. No one dares to say that to Whoopi Goldberg or Oprah Winfrey if they know what's good for them. I want the same respect.

You can read more here.

Colin Firth On Rupert Everett

This bit of news won't change the world. But what the hell. Sometimes it takes a while for actors to open up, and when they do it can be interesting. This time it's Colin Firth talking about working with Rupert Everett years ago when most of us were still kids.

'We started off as friends, then it went horribly wrong about two weeks in,' Firth recalled. 'He was incredibly unpleasant.
 
He described me as a "ghastly guitar-playing socialist." I did not have a guitar.'
 
But the two managed to patch things up and work together again - most notably in Shakespeare in Love. Says Firth: 'We're great friends now.'

There's more here. Best buds forever.

Matt Bomer Too Beautiful for Normal Heart

No one can promote anything better than Larry Kramer, so there will be more than a few posts and links until The Normal Heart airs on HBO this May. When it comes to self-promotion Kramer makes one pushy gay male m/m romance author I know look tame in comparison. (Sorry, no names.) This time the link is to an article where Larry Kramer thought Matt Bomer was too beautiful to play this part in the film but Ryan Murphy didn't agree.

To convince Kramer, Murphy arranged for the two men to meet and the 36-year-old Bomer admits that going in, he was 'starstruck' because he had first read The Normal Heart as a 14 year old.

'It was like meeting one of the Beatles,' Bomer tells the magazine.

'He was so central to my understanding and development. We talked for a really long time.' Kramer, who has waited nearly 30 years for his acclaimed play about the early days of the AIDS crisis to be turned into a movie, sent Murphy an email immediately after his meeting with Bomer which simply stated: 'He’s the one.'

Frankly, I'm still not over the fact that Matt Bomer isn't going to be Christian Grey.  But I'm glad he snagged The Normal Heart role.

You can read more here.


Duck Dynasty Dropped; Dogbert and Tito; Tom Daley Art; The Word "Tranny"

Duck Dynasty Dropped

If you recall, reality TV show Duck Dynasty was associated with gay slurs not too long ago. I posted about it here. And now, according to this piece, it seems a Duck Dynasty concert was canceled due to lack of sales.

The planned musical extravaganza from the stars of reality show Duck Dynasty has been canceled because of low ticket sales.

The Robertson family was to bring a concert, called Faith, Family & Ducks, to Springfield, Missouri (a midwestern US state).

The presentation was to be a mixture of songs, and speeches, on how the family lives the American dream and keeps 'family values.'

You can read more here.

I don't want to speculate on why ticket sales were so low, but I'd like to think it could be because most people realize it's a stupid show, there's nothing "real" about it, and it's geared to make some people a great deal of money by sensationalizing topics like gay issues and portraying southerners with bad stereotypes.

Tom Daley Gay Slur Art

When Tom Daley came out he suffered a great deal of abuse, in public. An artist has taken all of this anti-gay abuse and turned it into an interesting form of art. In other words, he turned it around.

Collins revealed the finished portrait on his Twitter account this week (17 April).

‘My finished portrait of @TomDaley1994 made out of the homophobic tweets sent to him when he came out. #art’ he said.

The artwork shows Daley, and his signature six-pack, against a backdrop of the British flag.

 You can read more about that here, with a link to all of the anti-gay slurs Daley received. Once it's online, it is there forever.

Dogbert and Tito

Here's a video of Dogbert and Tito. This is Dogbert and Tito's Facebook page. I follow them on social media through Trevor Donovan who once played a gay role on 90210, and will be part of the cast in upcoming episodes of  mini-series, Texas Rising.  (DVR alert for m/m romance western fans.) I see a lot of animal posts and videos and photos, but there's something about Dogbert and Tito that's highly amusing. I did have an issue watching the youtube version on my iPad, but this link to vimeo worked well on iPad and everything else.



The Word "Tranny"

I've posted about the controversy over the word "tranny," here, many times. For the record, I don't use it and never have. I understand the power of words and never take that for granted. However, there have been many interesting discussions about all this, especially with respect to gay culture and intent, and I'm passing along some of the most interesting I've seen.

Personally, I've always regarded being called a "tranny" not as a slur but as a term of endearment. Growing up in Philadelphia, close to the origin of the ball and house scenes, it wasn't that strange to hear words like "tranny," "she-male," and "he-she" being used in that way within the queer community of color. It was especially popular with the predominantly black and Latino kids at the Attic Youth Center. You could also hear it from the older trans matrons who worked the community tables at Outfest and Pridefest, and even occasionally from the trans sex workers you'd pass while walking home from the Gayborhood. Out of all the lingo, it's "tranny" that I remember most vividly. It wasn't just a word but a cultural moniker celebrating a certain type of effeminacy. Though I never sought it, I wore it as a badge of pride. It was coded speech between queer people of color that few white LGBT people noticed or even understood at the time. It was part of an underground language that also included words like "shade" and "reading," which have since gone mainstream.

You can read more here.

Important note: anyone is free to comment an offer and opinion on this topic (or any topic like it) as often and as long as they want. You can comment anonymously or with a name. I don't even mind pen names. However, keep it civil. I respect everyone's opinion and right to free speech and will publish it, as long as it is civil. This is a not for profit blog and unlike publications like Huff Po that are multi-million dollar operations that make Arianna Huffington a very wealthy woman by taking free content from writers I don't have to deal with incivility. And I won't. Plain and simple.

You can't say anything that would offend me at this point in my life. You can't even think of one slur or word that I haven't already experienced twice. But I don't want my readers offended.







Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spanking on Easter; Vintage Easter Photos: 10 Weird Easter Traditions

Vintage Easter Photos

It's often hard to post on religious holidays nowadays because I know so many who don't celebrate for various reasons. So I try to keep it neutral. Not because I'm trying too hard to be PC, just because I try to keep a balance of sorts.

This link leads to a groups of vintage Easter photos I think everyone can enjoy.

10 Weird Easter Traditions

Some of these are so interesting you might wind up reading them twice. I never knew this was a German tradition.

Christmas tree hanging around in the corner of your living room? Make like a German, who burn their old Christmas trees on the eve of Easter Sunday. This tradition dates back to pagan times when it was believed that any home or field touched by the light of the fire would be lucky and healthy in the coming year.

I knew a couple in the US who still hadn't taken down the Christmas tree by April. They wound up in divorce court by August.

There are more here, including some from the US. 


More Strange and Interesting

This next one I'm linking to about unusual Easter traditions is from a web site I've never seen before, All Women Stalk. What that means I'm not sure and I'm too lazy to find out. But it is interesting at a glance.


For many of us Easter is a time of cute bunnies and chicks and a ton of chocolate and candy and for others it’s a festival of incredibly important religious significance that actually starts 40 days before Good Friday on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It’s not surprising that many people give up chocolate for Lent knowing they are going to gorge themselves sick over the Easter weekend. Abstinence followed by abundance is a well known secular practice but here are 7 strange Easter traditions from around the world.

You cane read them here. 

This one is very entertaining.

Do you want to know how to maintain your health and beauty throughout the next year? Well if you live in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and some parts of Hungary it’s easy. On Easter Monday you just wait your turn for the men to throw water at you and spank you with a handmade whip of willow decorated with ribbons. “Pomlazka” is also meant to get rid of the ugly and bad things of winter. Many countries with an Orthodox population celebrate this in some form or another but in most cases it is just the water throwing. It is known in variable connotations of Dyngus Day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bryan Singer Accused of Rape; The Normal Heart; Asking Out Same Sex

Bryan Singer Accused of Rape

Given a post I wrote about an unnamed TV personality in the UK who was mentioned in a story about a nineteen year old guy who committed suicide, this article is interesting because they don't seem to be holding anything back.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who claims he was sexually abused by "X-Men" franchise director Bryan Singer said Thursday that he reported the molestation to authorities at the time, and he does not know why charges were never pursued.

With his voice occasionally wavering, Michael Egan III described abuse he said began when he was 15 years old at the hands of Singer and others. He told of being plied with drugs and promises of Hollywood fame while also enduring threats and sexual abuse in Hawaii and Los Angeles over several years.

And here's another article that talks about why the accuser decided to wait so long to file a lawsuit.

 
I can't comment on this in-depth. But everything he says seems to back up what all people who have experienced abuse at young ages say.

 


 
The Normal Heart

As the date for the TV premiere of The Normal Heart draws nearer, we'll be seeing more of these clips with Matt Bomer. 

Directed by Ryan Murphy, "Heart" features an all-star cast, including Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons, and is based on Kramer's acclaimed 1985 play about the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York.


 
It should be interesting to see how it's done.

 

Asking Out Same Sex

I guess this was meant to be amusing, but I'm not so sure given the potential for misunderstanding and possible backlash. A man and woman asked people of their same sex for phone numbers, aggressively coming on to them, and filmed the responses.

In these two videos that are making their rounds on the Internet, a man and a woman individually approach different people of their same sex asking for their numbers and insinuating that they'd like to take them on a date. Oftentimes awkward, the differences between the responses of the men and women are perhaps the most interesting part of these videos.


It's not something I would do.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gay Easter Parade; Obama Picks Gay Bishop; White House Easter Egg Roll

Gay Easter Parade



This is one of the reasons why when Tony and I "discuss" moving to a warmer climate I'm usually all for the west coast or New Orleans. He's usually for Florida, and that's never going to happen. I like being near a large city with a little culture. I'm very close to New York here. On the west coast I would have LA or San Francisco, depending. New Orleans is filled with culture and I'd love it.

In any event, this is about the Gay Easter Parade in New Orleans.

The final fundraiser for this year's 15th Gay Easter Parade is up next. The parade minus expenses benefits the reason for the Easter Season, Food For Friends program of the NO/AIDS Task Force. Sponsored by Ambush Mag, the parade has raised over $171,101 for charity the past 12 years.

You can read more here. There's a lot to go over.

 Obama Picks Gay Bishop

This year President Obama chose a gay Episcopal bishop to close the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson was just as surprised as everyone else when he found out.

The bishop, 66, retired from his New Hampshire diocese in 2013. He now spends time helping out the Washington Center for American Progress on gay rights issues, Newsmax reported.

Even though he’s gay, Mr. Robinson once thought marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, Newsmax said. But he later changed his mind and began an open gay relationship with Peace Corps worker, Mark Andrew. The two made it legal in a civil union ceremony in 2008, Newsmax reported.

You can read more here.

White House Easter Egg Roll

In keeping with all things Easter related, this next article talks about a gay Florida couple with a child who were invited to this year's Easter Egg Roll at the White House. They are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Florida's ban on gay marriage. 

“Melanie and I have worked so hard to build and protect our family, but nothing can come close to matching the protections that marriage provides," Vanessa Alenier said in a statement distributed by Equality Florida. "Our family is in need of those protections just like other families. We want our son to understand that his family is secure and just as respected as any other family part of our community here in Florida.”

More here.

Photo of Gay Easter Parade is here.