Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Congratulations, Baby!

"Brokeback Mountain" leads the Oscar pack with 8 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and actors Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams. "Capote" and "TransAmerica" got their much-deserved nods for their leads, too. With Jon Stewart hosting and a slew of good films this year, I think I'll be watching the Oscars for the first time in ages.

  • Read: 'Brokeback Mountain' Gets 8 Oscar Nods (AP)
  • Stein-Wood: Simon Baker

    Over the weekend my co-worker Laura saw the trailer for "Something New" (opening Feb. 3) and suggested this hunky Australian for this morning's wood. Laura's a designer -- and clearly has an eye for the aesthetically pleasing. Thanks, Laura!
    (He kinda has a Hugh Jackman's blond brother thing going on, no?)

    The dirt: A handsome, blondish Australian actor, Simon Baker became a star in his native land on soap operas before breaking into US films as the doomed gay actor Matt Reynolds in the acclaimed modern noir "L.A. Confidential" (1997). As a teen, Baker had been a competitive surfer and water polo player, but he eventually drifted before the cameras with appearances in music videos.
    Next up is "Something New," in which Baker's character complicates romantic matters for Sanaa Lathan, who meets him while pursuing her Ideal Black Man.

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  • What Is It Good For?

    The war in Iraq has cost the American people billions of dollars and thousands of lives. I'm totally OK with this as long as it's only unattractive people who are killed. But the idea that ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff's beautiful face may have been disfigured in any way because of this effort is where I draw the line. First David Bloom and now this. How much more can I possibly be expected to take? Please don't send my Brian Williams over there ...

  • Read: ABC Team Stabilized After Iraq Convoy Hit (Washington Post)
  • Page 1 Consider (01/31)

  • Sorry 'Bout That: A hapless visitor at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, tripped on his shoelace, tumbled down a flight of stairs and crashed into a group of priceless Qing dynasty Chinese vases, smashing them into smithereens. I can hardly wait to hear the voiceover Bob Saget comes up for this one. (Reuters)

  • The dominatrix sleeps (at home) tonight. (AP)

  • Seeing Ay to Ay: Al-Qaida No. 2 (which is apparently the equivlaent of the U.S. bank "vice president") Al-Zawahri Mocks President Bush Over Terrorism War / And we were told that we had nothing in common with Islamic extremists. (AP)

  • I guess it really does cut like a knife. (Monsters & Critics)

  • Heading West: With Hope of Catching, Mike Piazza to Join the San Diego Padres. Sorry, Mr. Champion. (NYT)
  • Monday, January 30, 2006

    Inside Beck's Drawers

    The NY Post ran an article on Sunday that said David Beckham likes to wear vitamin-infused skivvies. Then the British tabloids reported that Becks spends 1000 pounds every fortnight on "pants" (those wacky Brits have their own word for everything) 'cause he only wears them once.

    I don't really care about either of these stories, but it was a good excuse to repost those photos of Becks in his tighty whities and a new one sans undies ...

  • Read: One-A-Day Undies
  • Read: David Beckham's 1,000 pounds monthly underwear bill
  • Get David Beckham wallpaper here, here and here.
  • Bois de Matin: Stephane Rideau

    Art-house movie favorite Stephane Rideau ("Come Undone," "Wild Reeds") of France makes the sticky floors at the Quad worth tolerating ...

  • Click here to see our fine young lad partaking in sodomy sur la plage.
  • 'Mother' and Child Reunion

    We finally saw "TransAmerica" yesterday. We went to see it once before -- and tried not to see it at all before that. Confused yet?

    Well, this is kind of embarrassing, but when I first saw the trailer for it some months ago, I gave my usual YES or NO reaction. "TransAmerica" got a resounding NO from me. Why, you ask? I said to Michael -- this guy they have playing the lead is so ridiculously not a woman that I just felt the whole premise of the film would be flawed. Obviously in the story the character Bree is "passing" in society -- and there's NO WAY the man they have playing her could pass. (Did you get a load of that square jaw and stubble?) Cut to Michael's telling me that "it's that lady from 'Desperate Housewives,' you moron" and my subsequent red face.

    Then three weeks ago we had just sat down in the theater to see it when we got the horrifying phone call that Larry had died. Naturally we left to be with his boyfriend and family.

    So now that we've seen it, I think it would be fair to say that "TransAmerica" was worth the wait. I'm not going to write a long review of the film (there are plenty of them out there), but if Felicity Huffman doesn't walk home with a little gold statue, there is no god (for sure).

    What a brilliant film. So many layers, textures and details to enjoy and absorb. Kevin Zegers is perfect as her "Oops, Didn't Know I Had a" son. Although I feel like a pervert for admitting it, this 1984-born young man is one sexy kid -- and is not shy about showing off his body (sadly, being born in 1984 doesn't actually make him all that young -- and certainly not jailbait).

    But most of all, Felicity Huffman's understated performance will blow you away.

    Lessons From Down Under

  • Roger Federer reminded us -- once again -- why he may be the best ever. (What was up with the waterworks, though?)

  • Marcos Baghdatis dazzled us for two weeks -- and even figured out how to make Federer look clumsy for two sets before succumbing to what has increasingly become the inevitable.

  • Amelie Mauresmo kept her cool and took home the big silver trophy.

  • Martina Hingis showed us she can still do it, and even won a Grand Slam mixed title.

  • Lindsay Davenport pulled a Lindsay Davenport.

  • Kim Clijsters pulled a Lindsay Davenport.

  • Former Great German Hopes Tommy Haas and Nicolas Kiefer played impressively.

  • Tommy Haas and Argentina's Jose Acasuso proved what I've been saying all along: men look hotter with short hair. (Don't grow it back, Roger.)

  • Andy Roddick and Robby Ginepri left American fans wondering "Now what?" -- while the Bryan brothers brought home our only title.

  • Marcos Baghdatis' jailbait French model girlfriend, Camille, is one hot piece of ass (he might want to keep Ivan Lendl away from her).

  • Justine Henin-Hardenne showed the world how classless she truly is. Dick Enberg reported during the men's final that not only did she make it through the trophy presentation and press conference without incident, she was seen carrying two large tennis bags out to a car in the parking lot shortly after the "tummy ache" forced her to go cowering from her French-style ass whipping. A pathetic human being she is.
  • Livin' La Gaza Loco

    When I think about shaking my bon bon, I immediately think Middle East politics:

    The Jewish Defense League picketed Ricky Martin's recent Los Angeles show. They say Martin was in Jordan wearing a scarf that promoted violence against Israel. A representative for Ricky Martin says it's a misunderstanding and that the scarf was merely intended to make his client look "fabulous."

  • Read: Jews Protest Ricky Martin's Scarf
  • Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Sunday Worship: Wally Szczerbiak

    This Long Island man comes via Michael, who's had a crush on Wally Szczerbiak since his days with the University of Miami, Ohio ...

    Wallpaper via Wally-Szczerbiak.com

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    Weekend Wood: Bill Schroeder

    Former NFL wide receiver Bill Schroeder looks good wet.

    Mauresmo Valtrexes Henin-Hardenne

    Last night my gut reaction to the women's Australian Open final was "good for Amelie Mauresmo for finally winning a big one, but I'll bet if she'd been given half a chance she would have choked it all away." But then I thought about it some more and read what others in the tennis world were saying, and then I realized that I had completely missed what was really going on. Patrick McEnroe had Justine figured out precisely: “She just pulled a Roberto Duran. She got sick of getting her butt kicked and said, ‘No mas.'”

    So I stand corrected. Mauresmo kept it all together and was completely blowing the "demented dwarf" off the court -- and Justine just wasn't going to allow Amelie the satisfaction of her big Grand Slam moment.

    As Peter Bodo pointed out, "it's all about Justine" (and to think that I was trying to pinpoint why I hated her so much just a few days ago). Shame on you Justine. She's managed to hit an all-time low by walking off the court without finishing the match. Her "I've never been healthier in two years/my tummy hurts/I mean, my shoulder hurts" routine was the final nail in her herpes-infected coffin. She gives controversy a bad name.

  • Read: Mauresmo breaks Grand Slam title drought (AP)
  • Read: Peter Bodo's Tennis World Blog here.
  • Friday, January 27, 2006

    Oprah Saddles Up

    Oprah had the cast of "Brokeback Mountain" on today. The Malcontent has eight minutes of heavenly highlights (sly Heath "gets in" a good one this time!)
  • Watch Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
  • Morning Wood: Andrew Shue

    Former "Melrose Place" hunk Andrew Shue hasn't changed much since the days of Amanda and Allison (the second set of photos are Then and Now headshots). Thank god he gave up his cringe-inducing brand of acting for charity work. He was always better-suited for soccer -- or modeling.

    (Give me some credit: I resisted Where Are They Now-Wood.)

  • Read: Andrew Shue: From 'Melrose' to Moms (People)
  • Livin' La Vida Mocha

    The four-part PBS series "African American Lives" sounds like it's going to be a rather fascinating:

    The show takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level through moving stories of personal discovery. Using genealogy, oral history, family stories and DNA analysis to trace lineage through American history and back to Africa, the series provides a life-changing journey for a diverse group of highly accomplished African Americans: Dr. Ben Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Mae Jemison, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Chris Tucker and Oprah Winfrey.

    The series works to restore the participants' lineages in reverse chronological order. Starting with the oral histories of the individuals' families, and drawing on photographs, film clips, music and early personal records, Professor Gates begins to trace their family trees back through the 20th century. Noted historians and expert genealogists around America help fill in missing branches, in the process explaining how such major events as Jim Crow segregation and the post-World War I "Great Migration" from the South to the North helped shape African-American families.

    "African American Lives" premieres Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. here in NYC. Check local listings here. (One question: Why no Rodney Allen Rippy?)

    Lunch Special

    Well, it wasn't quite "My Dinner With Andre," but yesterday I had a date that might be worthy of at least an NPR show. You see, my archenemy from 7th grade and I officially "buried the hatchet" over lunch in the famed Conde Nast cafeteria. (Hey, if you're going to wait more than 25 years to do something like this, you might as well have a glam Frank Gehry backdrop.)

    Mike and I actually first ran into each other at a bar here in Manhattan a couple of years ago, but it wasn't until we crossed paths again (outside the Lisa Kudrow film "Happy Endings") and then the 20-year high school reunion e-mails started going around did we plan to get together officially.

    Naturally, once we sat down we couldn't even remember why we hated each other so much back at Rhodes Junior High, but isn't that half the fun of having a nemesis? It must have been 1979 or '80 and I vaguely recall that we were unspoken rivals for the attention of a hunky junior varsity wrestler. Mike swears I'm exaggerating both the hunkiness and the attention that was desired by either of us. I brought along the "memory book" from our 10-year reunion (which he skipped) and the book I'd bought for the 20-year (which we both skipped). We laughed and reminisced about old classmates, and took turns intermittently wishing we hadn't skipped the 20-year in 2005, and then took turns intermittently reminding one another why we didn't go in the first place (we barely knew any of them!). The whole thing was a lot of fun and I e-mailed him later how nice it was hanging out with someone with whom I'd shared a common experience so many years ago. Mike's sharp as tack and I quickly realized I'd missed out by not knowing him all of these years.

    So still perplexed about the feud's origins by the time I got home from work last night, I decided to look through my trunk of old school papers and manuscripts to see if I could dig up even a small hint as to what this was really all about. Much to my surprise, I quickly came across the outline and a sketch of the proposed cover (above) of a book I'd planned to write(!) about the subject, aptly titled "Sweetcheeks." Mike was a tad overweight back then and his perpetual ruddiness really rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. The book's subtitle reads: "When you're in 7th grade, you have friends and enemies: I'd like you all to meet Sweetcheeks." (At age 12, clearly I was in my Judy Blume phase.) ("Sweetcheeks" was to have been the follow-up to my 6th-grade-camp saga, "Don't Forget Your Toothbrush," which I actually did finish back then.)

    So, as if my holding on to this outline (in my tiny Manhattan apartment!) weren't ridiculous enough, I also discovered that in these four handwritten pages of notes, other than the title there is nary a mention of (my new BFF) Mike! (Who knows what I was thinking.)

    So the mystery remains, but our lunch was a hoot. Mike's grown up to be a big success, hasn't aged a bit, and has long since lost his baby fat (wink). I hope we get together again soon. Just between you and me, I'm hoping I can get him to autograph my copy of "Sweetcheeks" ...

    P.S. And it wasn't just me. Todd Bailey -- who was later on Ed McMahon's "Star Search" and slept with my boyfriend Derek behind my back in college -- totally hated him, too.

    Page 1 Consider (01/27)

  • Damn Yankees: Former Mets slugger Mike Piazza still hasn't heard back from the Yankees, but the word on the street is that he should start looking elsewhere. (NYP)

  • Oprah Reality Check: I give credit to Oprah Winfrey for finally taking responsibility for her part in this whole James Frey mess. I guess this is her way of saying that she wouldn't want to be a member of any book club that would allow her to join -- or something. Just when I have my case against you, O, you gotta go and get it right. And now I hear she's saddling up for a full hour with the cast of "Brokeback Mountain" today-- I'll be there, gurl! (Washington Post)
  • Oh, Good: Commonly Used Drug in Heart Surgery May Increase Risk of Death (MedPage)

  • Dumb Waiter: NYT's Frank Bruni goes undercover as a waiter and the results are often hilarious. (NYT)

  • Financial Ties

    Have you seen the tragic slash creepy Meredith Baxter commercial for Garden State Life Insurance?

    Surely there is a less awkward way to get the point across than this winning sales pitch:

    "The love we have for our family is too strong to die, even if we do."

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Mona Wood: Jason Taylor

    6-foot-6 defensive end Jason Taylor has a really nice, uh, smile. I wouldn't mind swimming with this Dolphin ...

    Page 1 Consider (01/26)

  • No Shit, Dumbass: Bush Says Bin Laden Should Be Taken Seriously / Don't tell me four years after Sept. 11 that Bush finally figured this one out. (NYP)

  • Father Knows Best: Prosecutors say that the father of an 8-year-old boy who shot another kiddie taught his son how to work a gun. How much you wanna bet he didn't teach the kid how to read a book or table manners? Lock this jackass up. (Washington Post)

  • Man's Best Friend: I guess it depends on what you mean by friend. (NYT)

  • Whale of a Mystery: Cause of Actor Chris Penn's Death Unknown. / Gee, I can't imagine. He looked so healthy. (AP)

  • Freak-Mart: Michael Jackson Spotted Shopping in Robe and Veil / Could you stop being such a fucking freak for two seconds? (AP)

  • Common Sense Evasion: 'Survivor' Richard Hatch Guilty in Tax Case / Forget about the tax evasion: how sentencing him for being the stupidist person on god's green earth? (AP)
  • Sorry About the Face

    Justine Henin-Hardenne has a beautiful game, yet somehow I just can't stand her. I think my contempt started when she used some unsportsmanlike gamesmanship to beat Serena Williams at the French Open a few year ago. Unlike her countrywoman Kim Clijsters, Henin-Hardenne is decidedly French -- which doesn't do her any favors.

    I've noticed that she doesn't seem to be scoring any major advertising deals here in the U.S.: may I suggest to her agents she get in touch with the makers of Valtrex? Her mouth herpes makes looking at her nearly unbearable, so this could be a win-win situation -- what with an endorsement deal and a cure for this unsightly condition.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Dissenting Opinion ...

    It seems Joel Sherman of the NY Post doesn't share my enthusiasm for Mike Piazza's joining the Yankees.

    Hey, I never said it would be good for the team, I just want him here for the fans ....

  • Read: Pass on Piazza (NYP)
  • Pinstripes for Piazza?

    The tabloids are reporting that there's "50-50" chance that hunky slugger Mike Piazza will be finishing out his career as a Yankee. The team's general manager, Brian Cashman, is supposed to make a decision within the next 48 hours. Mike is a New Yorker now and needs to stay here in NYC. His ending up with the Phillies, Orioles, Blue Jays or Angels (all said to be interested) just wouldn't be right. Although I'd hate for him to shave his sexy facial hair, I'm guessing he'd look awfully hot in those pinstripes ...
  • Read: Piazza drawing mixed signals (Newsday)
  • Page 1 Consider (01/25)

  • How Embarrassing: College student claims Joe Pesci punched him. (AP)
  • Toying With Guns: CNN reported that "an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot a 7-year-old at a day-care center in Maryland" on Tuesday. I was going to make a crack about how ridiculous it was that this distinction would be used (like little children deliberately shoot one another!) but then I remembered that our entire world revolves around how cool it is that Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac got shot by gang posses, and that it's completely normal that someone always gets shot at every one of Diddy's parties. God help us all. (Washington Post)

  • Get Off Me!: Actor Chris Penn was found dead at his Santa Monica residence. Sad news, but I'll bet she's relieved. (AP)

  • Another Mustache Ride?: This is exactly what we don't need. (Hollywood Reporter)

  • Jesus Christ!: Kanye West has caused a lot of controversy by posing as Jesus Christ in the new issue of Rolling Stone. I can see what the protesters are upset about: everyone knows Jesus had talent. (Reuters)

  • Notorious L.O.A.D.: Mr. Britney Spears is shopping around a rap album. Where's that gun-toting 8-year-old when you need him? (AP)

  • Computer Illiterate?

    Yahoo has suddenly and inexplicably decided that I must now pass their security test before I can send about 60 percent of my e-mails. Not only do I think this is ludicrous (I even pay for the non-advertising Yahoo Plus mail), 9 times out of 10 I can't seem to correctly see the fucking letters and numbers they provide thus turning a simple e-mail message into a nine-hour ordeal.

    Am I the only one who finds these things impossible to read?

    FYI: If you're thinking I'm nuts, keep in mind that I recently purchased an Owl Optical Wallet Light.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    A Cautionary (Shirt) Tale

    I know I'm not the first fag to cringe at the sight of Abercrombie & Fitch clothing on gay men who are ... shall we say ... a bit long in the tooth (myself included). But after seeing this photo and reading about A&F's tragic 61-year-old CEO "dude" Mike Jeffries, I will be spending this evening gathering all of mine for the Salvation Army donation counter. (via Queerty and Towleroad)

  • Read: The Man Behind A&F (Salon)
  • Andy's Baby?

    I don't know if the rumors about Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova hooking up are true or not (God knows Bonnie Fuller's dreams would be answered if they were). But has anyone else noticed that Sharapova is wearing maternity tennis dresses at this year's Australian Open? She sure isn't playing well ... or, ugh, moving very well, either.

    And in all truth, Andy did get knocked out of the tournament awfully early -- so it's not like he had anything better to do than to knock her up in return.

  • Read: Are Sharapova and Roddick playing doubles? (ESPN)
  • Brat Pack-Wood: Rob Lowe

    It's been nearly 25 years since I went to see "Class" at the AMC Lakeshore midnight movie and I'm still convinced that Rob Lowe entered into a pact with the Devil to be this gorgeous. I remember a few years later going to see "... About Last Night" in the movie theater repeatedly. The scene where he runs out to get the newspaper in his tighty whities made me long for another paper route -- and his late-night nekkid visit to the refrigerator was enough to make me consider eating. Rob turns 42 in March and is married with kids now -- but he's as handsome as ever.