Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Afternoon

Sorry I've been mostly M.I.A. today. At the crack of dawn this morning -- 10:45 a.m., thanks a lot -- I had my appointment with the retina specialist on Madison Avenue. Telling the story now it was all kind of hilarious, in a "Three's Company" sort of way. But living it was pretty awful. First off, they put all these different drops in my VERY SENSITIVE eyes, which not only dilated my pupils (leaving me quasi-blind for five hours), but also burned like crazy. Then this doctor-in-training did all of these tests and examinations on me with all sorts of machines and VERY BRIGHT lights. When she was finally done, she said she was going to go over her findings with the specialist and he'd come in to discuss them with me.

So I'm sitting there playing with my cell phone when I suddenly realized -- a la Jack Tripper -- I could hear them talking in the next room. She spoke very quietly, but then I hear a male voice say, "On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being a definite brain tumor, where would you put him?" My heart started beating SO FAST that I seriously thought it was going to burst out of my chest. I've never been so scared in my life. She said something that I couldn't hear, then he said, "So you'd say a 4?" At this point I'm already calculating the odds and thinking, it could be worse. They still don't know for sure. A 4 is WAY BETTER than a 1 or a 2 or a 3. There's STILL a chance I'm not dying. This goes on for another minute or so and then suddenly the door swings open and this man puts out his hand and introduces himself while saying, "How are you today?" There was no disguising my fear and I just blurted out, "NOT GOOD. I hear you talking about a brain tumor." He quickly told me that they were talking about someone else and that I was perfectly fine. (What the other doctor saw was drusen, some type of calcium concretions on my optic nerve that he says I was born with and are not an issue and probably never will be.)

Now I realize in an actual 23-minute episode, Janet would have been the one who overheard the "results" and would have started treating me EXTRA NICE when I could home (fluffing my pillow and rubbing my feet on the sofa). But let me tell you, two minutes was more than long enough for this misunderstanding.

So I'm alive and well, but was mostly useless throughout the day. My vision is just now getting back to normal, but I was encouraged to see that TheInsider.com has removed those sickening polls about Rihanna and Chris Brown from its site, even if they haven't acknowledged how tone-deaf they were in the first place.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Why Does 'The Insider' Hate Women?

My friend Matt has already done a great job excoriating all of the celebrities who are "withholding judgment" of Chris Brown until they hear "both sides of the story" ("Who Am I Not to Judge?") ("[S]ome of the reaction to the case has been disgusting ... many have suggested, either intentionally or not, that perhaps it is excusable to beat up your girlfriend. ... This is more than an oopsy, and any relationship that leads to one person beaten and bloodied and abandoned in the street is a relationship that needs to be worked out with one person moving on and the other moving into prison for a stretch.") And having never heard of the singer until he beat the crap out of his girlfriend, Rihanna, I really haven't felt too compelled to say much about it myself, other than the fact that he's obviously a pathetic coward who deserves to be held accountable for his grievous actions.

But after stumbling upon this "poll" yesterday -- BETWEEN CHRIS BROWN AND RIHANNA, WHO DO YOU THINK IS IN THE RIGHT? -- I instantly felt outraged and compelled to speak out against its creators, the entertainment television show "The Insider."


While something so insensitive and misogynistic from an outfit that derives its name from the boorish Pat "hire a hooker and get some coke" O'Brien shouldn't really come as a surprise, it's still hard to believe CBS Television, which also distributes "The Oprah Winfrey Show," would allow something so reprehensible to be on its site, one that is frequented by millions of young people. (I don't watch the show, but Michael says they are running similar on television, too.)

I later went back to the site and realized the polls rotate periodically. But the follow-up -- DO YOU THINK CHRIS BROWN'S NAME WILL BE CLEARED, with the first response choice being, YES -- I'M SURE THIS IS ALL JUST A MISUNDERSTANDING. CHRIS BROWN ISN'T ALL BAD! -- is equally callous and tells me that the people at "The Insider" just do not get that making light of domestic violence is both unconscionable and morally wrong. A victim of domestic abuse is NEVER WRONG, and a MISUNDERSTANDING is when the kid at Baskin-Robbins thought you said you wanted chocolate chip and you got mint chocolate chip. Bashing someone in the face repeatedly is not a misunderstanding.

If you agree that violence against women is not something that should be treated as a celebrity WHO WORE IT BETTER? showdown, please take a minute to let the people at CBS Television Distribution know.

Shoot an e-mail to
Lisa Summers Haas
Vice President, Communications
"Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider"
E-mail: Lisa.SummersHaas@cbs.com
or call her at (818) 655-4928

The show's executive producer, Linda Bell Blue, is certainly not above sensationalism having been recently involved in the bogus "Angelina Jolie gave birth to twins early" story. But surely she recognizes that exploiting domestic violence is not helpful to anyone.

Page 1 Consider (02/27)

  • A Fine Bromance: Male bonding films are so 2007. But Paul Rudd's "character" in a yellow Speedo may be the just the way to get my ass into the theater to see his latest, "I Love You, Man." In it, Rudd plays a friendless groom-to-be whose fiance (Rashida Jones of "The Office") pushes him to go on "man dates" so he will have a best man at their wedding. (PeterKlaven)

  • Obama Swings Gay: President Barack Obama has selected a senior researcher from Georgetown University to direct his Office of National AIDS Policy, the White House announced Thursday. Jeffrey S. Crowley, who is gay, will lead an office tasked with coordinating government efforts to reduce HIV infection in the U.S. and leading treatment of Americans with HIV/AIDS. (AP)

  • Touchdown! Tom Brady and Gisele B√ľndchen quietly got married in a small, private ceremony in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday. (People)

  • Grand Old Party: Gail Collins hits the nail on the head with the GOP (non) strategy for the next four years: The Republicans can’t try to convince the country their ideas are better because of that intellectual bankruptcy problem. All they can do is make Barack Obama’s programs look feckless, plunging everyone into so much despair that by next summer the public will be ready to go live in caves and eat squirrel stew. (NYT)

  • Liar, Liar: Despite what Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller may be trying to tell you, President Obama did NOT support Proposition 8. (MediaMatters)

  • It's Hard Out There for a Sophomore: A 15-year-old schoolgirl makes nearly $150K a year as high-class hooker. (NYDN)

  • Marriage Equality: Kate Kendell and Eva Jefferson Paterson write as we seek to overturn Prop 8, we have the broadest array of support ever seen on an LGBT issue before any California Court. (365Gay)

  • Me and Mrs. O.: At home with Michelle Obama, already my favorite first lady since Jackie Kennedy, who is as frugal as she is fashionable. (People)
  • Morning Wood

    Sure beats that "Just Hang in There" cat poster I used to have ...

    Datebook

    Click to enlarge

    Learn how to get involved to help stop hate crimes in your community.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Irish? Yes. Cursed? Definitely Not

    So you remember the hunky model who showed off his ample derriere in today's Style section of The New York Times? Well, it seems his name is Aaron O'Connell and he's got an ample, er, front side to match.

    Click HERE for the indisputable sexy proof.

    Oh-No-He-Didn't!

    What gay doesn't love him some Anderson Cooper? But if he's gonna stay silent about his sexuality and then get into a war of words with a Village People look-alike pol from the Bronx, he might want to refrain from invoking the M-word.

    The silver fox CNN host ridiculed veteran Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel on Tuesday night for staking out a choice aisle seat 12-1/2 hours in advance for President Obama's address to Congress.

    Anderson hissed: "It's like waiting for, like, Madonna tickets or something. It was ... kind of pathetic." (Like, SNAP!!!)

    Engel, a perennial early arrival for presidential speeches to Congress who has a beard to match that 'stache, lashed back.

    "What's really pathetic is that Anderson Cooper apparently doesn't share my enthusiasm for participating in such a historic and wonderful celebration of American democracy," the 10-term congressman told the Daily News. "I am sorry he is so jaded."

    I can hardly wait for the 360 retort. Nobody calls a queen jaded and expects to come away from it unscathed ...

    Horror on the Streets of New York

    THIS is one of the most brazen and disgusting crimes I've read about in years.

    Baby Got Back

    Thursday Styles has a lengthy article about how fashion designers are changing the way they cut trousers to accommodate men with worked-out asses (blah, blah, blah). But as you can see, a picture is worth a thousand words (and an equal number of squats). See 'em all HERE.

    UPDATE: It seems baby got FRONT, too.

    'Bare' Essentials

    I'm not sure if it's because I spent many nights of my youth in the famed but now-defunct Southeast Washington strip joints he writes about (La Cage, Wet, the Follies), but stripper-turned-novelist Craig Seymour's new book, "All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.," sure sounds tip-worthy to me. I hope he's still got his socks on ...

    Listen to Craig read the first chapter, below, and you'll see what I mean:

    Thursday Ad Watch

    If wearing a brand I haven't thought of since 1987 can make me look like this, then I GUESS I'll consider it

    I wonder if Jonathan Rhys Meyer smells as good as he looks

    A bearded hunk for Tommy Hilfiger is almost as good as '90s supermodel Mark Vanderloo for DKNY
    "Battlestar Galactica" hunk Jamie Bamber bares all for bears in the latest ad for PETA

    Very hot in -- and halfway out -- of Perry Ellis

    Australian underwear and sportswear brand, teamm8, continues to up the ante. See what I mean HERE.

    Justus Boyz is torso-riffic; this other ad is hot, but I don't think "masculine" underwear accurately describes grown men wit ho bods in Underoos

    Rafael Nadal brings us the sweet smell of success

    This week's eye-catching advertisements

  • See all Ad Watch posts HERE.
  • History Starts Now

    Join the LGBT community and allies at the National Equality Rally at Independence Hall on Sunday, May 3, in Philadelphia. Make your voice heard and make history! For more information, click HERE.



    Page 1 Consider (02/26)

  • The New Adventures of Old Christine: When L.A. Times sports writer Mike Penner announced to the world in April 2007 that he was now Christine Daniels, he became the most celebrated transsexual since Renee Richards made a splash on the women's tennis circuit in 1977. But about a year and a half later, he went back to work as Mike Penner, and hasn't discussed his experience since. A new article looks at the phenomenon of "transgender regret." "It's unfortunate and it's relatively uncommon but certainly not unheard of," says Denise Leclair, executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education, a Waltham, Mass.-based transgender advocacy group. "The simplest way to think about it is being trans is something that never goes away. ... There's just a fairly constant social pressure to just go back. You don't have to be a genius to understand that society doesn't really accept this." When I met Christine at the NLGJA conference in San Diego that year, she certainly wasn't at a loss for words. Would love to hear more. (USA Today)

  • Geek Harassment: A woman says she was banned from XBOX Live for identifying herself as lesbian, and a man says his "gamer tag" was banned because it had "gay" in in it. His name is Richard Gaywood. (Consumerist)

  • Speaking of Lesbians: After her disastrous variety show outing, Rosie O'Donnell is slated to return to television in a new Lifetime movie called "America" about the foster-care system in this country. (AP)

  • Oscar Censorship: Gay Asians voiced indignation Wednesday after television broadcasts of the Academy Awards in their region censored the words “gay” and “lesbian” in speeches that called for equal rights. (AP)

  • It Adds Up: Despite what you may have read, calories still determine weight-loss success. (USA Today) Need help deciding which foods to eat in the mall food court? Well, stay AWAY from the Panda Express orange chicken and click HERE.

  • Mr. Whipple Meets Mr. Gore: Apparently we all need to start wiping our asses with sandpaper to be more "green." (NYT)

  • YSL: Two rare bronze sculptures that disappeared from China nearly 150 years ago — and were demanded back by Beijing — sold for millions Wednesday as an auction of art works owned by the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent concluded with dazzling sales of nearly $500 million. (AP)

  • RIP: Bobby Jindal's political aspirations. (NYDN)
  • Sporting Goods: Cole Hamels

    The gangly World Series hero may be a thorn in the Mets' side, but he looks awfully good on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.

    And he's nearly shirtless AFTER THE JUMP. ----->

    Datebook

    For details about the Miracle House Broadway Benefit, click HERE.

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Poor Michelle

    Saw this one at the supermarket checkout this afternoon:

    President Barack Obama is caught up in a new gay sex and drug scandal -- and his loving wife is heartbroken, sources tell GLOBE in a blockbuster world exclusive. Find out all the details of the letter Michelle Obama received from the MAN who claims to be her husband's lover -- and how America's devastated First Lady is fighting back against a shocking new tell-all book. It's must reading!

    I wonder if this is the same "new" gay sex and drug scandal that surfaced over a year ago when limo driver Larry Sinclair came "forward" to say he blew Obama while O was snorting cocaine back in his state Senate days (so coordinated, that new president of ours!). I guess I'll have to pick up a copy to see if it mentions Sinclair's insistence on taking a polygraph, which he failed miserably. Still, as patently false as this Globe item obviously is, you can't help but wonder if there was a hint of truth in all of those "Laura Bush in Agony as George Falls Off the Wagon Again" stories over the years ...

    Bumper Kitties


    If you thought the Larry look-alike who was riding around on a Roomba was cute, wait'll you see a litter of kittens (including several Larry clones) take the robotic vacuum for a spin!

    Afternoon Delight

    Just waiting on a friend ...

    Music Box: Gender ReasSONGment

    With the release of "War Child presents Heroes," a new album of cover songs to benefit children affected by war that features Duffy doing the Wings classic "Live and Let Die," it got me thinking of some of my all-time favorite gender-bending covers. While I understand why some people think covers are an cop out, I've always felt there's something magical about a transgender cover, the way the new point of view always makes me hear the song as if it were completely new. (How often do you get to fall in a love with the same thing twice?) Occasionally, I will know the "new" version first -- as in the case of Blondie's "Tide Is High" -- and will enjoy discovering it in reverse (an equally thrilling proposition).

    Off the top of my head, I came up with this list of winning gender-reassigned cover tunes. While I prefer female vocalists, there are a few FTM songs that might surprise you. Now tell me some of yours.


    "Crimson and Clover" (Tommy James and the Shondells)
    Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
    Arguably the greatest cover song of all time.

    "Tougher Than the Rest" (Bruce Springsteen)
    Everything But the Girl
    My favorite song from my favorite Bruce album, "Tunnel of Love."

    "All I Want" (Lightning Seeds)
    Susanna Hoffs


    "The Tide Is High" (The Paragons)
    Blondie
    This clip uses the original 1965 Paragons version and sets it to the 1980 video of Debbie Harry & Co.

    "(They Long to Be) Close to You" (Carpenters)
    Paul Weller

    "Don't Worry Baby" (Beach Boys)
    Ronnie Spector
    Brian Wilson apparently wrote this song for Ronnie, but Phil Spector wouldn't allow her to record it (so the Beach Boys did). She finally got to do it as a solo artist many years later.


    "If Not for You" (Bob Dylan)
    Olivia Newton-John
    Hard core Dylan fans make fun of this, but I still say it's the definitive version of this masterpiece.

    "You've Got a Friend" (Carole King)
    James Taylor


    "When You Were Mine" (Prince)
    Cyndi Lauper
    Watch the unusual one at her peak during the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards.


    "Baby, I Love You" (Ronettes)
    Andy Kim
    Thought of as a one-hit wonder for the 1974 No. 1 smash "Rock Me Gently," the Montreal-born Andy Kim actually had a Top 10 hit with this rollicking cover of the Ronettes' "Baby, I Love You," making the song all his.

    "Stormtrooper in Drag" (Gary Numan)
    Saint Etienne

    "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" (Beatles)
    Rosanne Cash


    "September Gurls" (Big Star)
    Bangles
    How the girls could let Michael Steele sing lead on this pop gem but REMOVE the line "I was your butch"(!) is one of the great mysteries of pop music.

    "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" (Smiths)
    Kirsty MacColl

    "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" (REM)
    Natalie Merchant


    "I Want You" (Marvin Gaye)
    Madonna
    Working with the incredible Massive Attack, Madonna was never more sensual.

    "The Scientist" (Coldplay)
    Aimee Mann

    "Out of Control" (Rolling Stones)
    Pal Shazar (download HERE)

    "For What It's Worth" (Buffalo Springfield)
    Holly Beth Vincent

    "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (Cat Stevens)
    Sheryl Crow


    "My Guy" (Madness)
    Tracey Ullman
    Turning a girl into a guy, Tracey Ullman rode this Madness favorite to No. 23 on the U.K. charts back in 1984.

    "Femme Fatale" (Velvet Underground)
    Tracey Thorn

    "I'll Keep It With Mine" (Bob Dylan)
    Susanna Hoffs

    "These Days" (Jackson Browne)
    Nico


    "Long Train Running" (Doobie Brothers)
    Bananarama
    I was never a fan of Doobie Brothers music, but after hearing this Youth-produced track by the Nanas, I sure was.


  • View all Music Box posts HERE.

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  • Page 1 Consider (02/25)

  • Leisure Suits, Etc.: The costumes from the Oscar-winning film “Milk” will be on display at Universal Studios Hollywood. Now if only James Franco were available for mustache rides. (ETonline)

  • The Audacity of Hope: Could President Obama be just what we need to save the newspaper industry? (Frederick News-Post)

  • Along for the Ride: Is Sean Combs trying to pimp Xzibit's hide? (HipHopRX)

  • Vote Needed: For the last decade, members of the Rhode Island State Legislature have regularly proposed bills to allow the state's same-sex couples to marry, only to see the issue die in committee without coming to a vote. The Times editorial page urges proponents there to redouble their efforts, since a favorable vote could help raise the issue in the national consciousness. (NYT)

  • A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage: In Sunday's Opinion pages, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch argue that a federal compromise on gay marriage could satisfy both sides in the short run. (NYT)

  • So Sorry, He Said: After much hemming and hawing, Rupert Murdoch apologized Tuesday for a cartoon in his New York Post that critics said likened a violent chimpanzee shot dead by police to President Obama. (NYT)

  • Dance With a Stranger: In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Alex Witchel profiles Rupert Everett: turning 50, with no regrets about being out -- and about to star on Broadway. Would being an out gay star make living in Chelsea out of the question? “No, they’re very standoffish, queens. They’re so busy worrying about how we’re looking at them, they wouldn’t notice if Jesus came down the street.” (NYT)

  • Milk Toast: Sewell Chan writes in the City Room blog that the film "Milk" has evoked strong memories for Harvey Milk's East Coast relatives. (CityRoom)

  • Record Sales: Despite the global economic crisis, a lot of money seems to be left over. On Monday, the private collection of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner became the most expensive one ever sold at auction, bringing in more than $264 million on the first night alone. (NYT)

  • RIP: Howard Zieff, the commercial director and ad photographer who stuffed an actor with spicy meatballs in a memorable Alka-Seltzer spot and used an American Indian in print ads to convince people “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye,” then went on to direct movie comedies, including "Private Benjamin," died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 81 and lived in Los Angeles. (NYT)
  • Kenneth in the (202) / (301)

    Michael and I had a great time visiting my old stomping grounds over the weekend. It was a twofer trip, first in Washington to help celebrate my friend Ken's mid-century birthday, then to see my brother Terence, who recently relocated to Frederick, Maryland, for a new job.

    The birthday party was a beautiful affair held at Ken's friend and downstairs neighbor Jim's apartment and lots of Ken's friends from his past and present were there, along with his two fun sisters from Charleston, S.C.

    The birthday boy is flanked by his sisters Terry and Beth. Who's the oldest? I'll never tell

    Kenny gets a little Headley lovin'

    Winding down: The birthday boy with friends Tory, Dave and yours truly; Tory is a dermatologist and without warning began examining my forehead thinking I had a HUGE cyst on the right side. He wasn't the least bit embarrassed when he figured out it was just my misshapen noggin, but I sure was.

    OK, I'm still scratching my head about this one. The waiter said potatoes weren't included with the breakfast, so I ordered them separately. Later, I realized I was billed for making a substitution -- of something that wasn't included in the first place!!!

    Then it was on to Frederick. Terence had actually lived there from around 1995-2000 -- which overlapped with some time I lived in D.C. -- so it was interesting going back and seeing how things had changed.


    His apartment is downtown on Market Street, and while things are still happening around there (lots of bars, restaurants and shops), the major change I learned about was that rents have gone through the roof. Frederick is quaint and all (about 50 miles from D.C.), but it's not exactly a metropolis. I was really quite stunned. I was equally stunned by how wonderful everything was at Firestone's, the place Terence took us out for dinner. I'd forgotten that while New York City is a great place for dining, there's nothing better than steaks and crab cakes from where the stuff is really from. Dee-lish!

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