Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bob Newhart, Dean of Deadpan, Is Dead at 94

It's hard to be bitter when someone lives to the ripe old of age of 94, especially when it's accomplished largely in good health. But I can't not mention just how much Bob Newhart meant to my childhood, and how I deeply it affects me to see him go nonetheless. 

Although I'm certainly not the first person to grow up in a nontraditional family, the dynamic in ours was always a bit strained. When my 40-year-old father suffered a catastrophic brain injury around the same time my 31-year-old mother married my 24-year-old stepfather -- who was just 13 years older than my brother Bill -- the family entered a new chapter. The arrival of my (half) sister a year later at first seemed to unite us. But it didn't take long before my stepdad (immaturely feeling threatened by his new wife's existing obligations) and my two older brothers (resentful of a new male figure in the house) seem to draw lines in the sand, essentially pitting "Us (the brothers)" vs. "Them (the new little family)" with me -- in Best Little Boy in the World mode -- left to run interference between the two camps. 

I felt a deep loyalty to my brothers but was also a(n unrequited?!) mama's boy who loved and adored his new baby sister. This was a lot for a young boy to take on, especially one who was already struggling to figure out his own nontraditional place in this world. 

But the thing I remember most fondly from that time -- my saving grace, along with occasional family bike rides and hot-tub time -- is that every weeknight at 9 p.m. all six of us -- including the recalcitrant older Walsh brothers who were routinely sequestered in their bedrooms -- would gather in front of the television set to watch reruns of "The Bob Newhart Show" on Channel 5. 

As clichรฉ as it sounds, it was the one time I could always count on when all of my family's differences seemed to vanish, as we all sat spread out on the couch and the floor dying laughing over the delightfully ineffectual Dr. Hartley and his “eclectic" stable of patients (Mr. Carlin! Mrs. Bakerman! Mr. Peterson! Mr. Herd! Michelle! And even an early introduction to homosexuality in Howard Hesseman's "Mr. Plager" for me.), marveling at how smart and stylish Emily was, and wishing we all had friends, family and colleagues in our lives like Howard, Jerry, Carol, Ellen, Howie and even The Peeper. (It's no exaggeration to say that with my father out of the picture and my mother largely estranged from her kin, the "Bob Newhart" gang was almost like my substitute extended family.) 

There were few things my family couldn’t bicker about, but we were all in agreement that Bob Newhart was the greatest. Afterward, my family would return to their respective corners. But I went to bed content, knowing that there was always tomorrow's episode. 

I hope future generations continue to appreciate Bob and and his deadpan brand of humor. (His records and "Newhart" only add to his canon of work.) 

I'm agnostic and all. But I'd like to think Bob is now catching up with Carol and Dr. Tupperman in the seventh-floor reception area of the Rimpau Medical Arts Center in the sky, waiting for Emily to drop by to join him for lunch. 

Dr. Hartley may have never actually helped any of his patients. But he worked wonders for this gay boy back on planet Earth. xo

On the Rag, Vol. 817

Johnny be bad; how to travel with pets; Ft. Lauderdale's FlockFest is where the boys are; and more in this week's rag 'n' mag roundup BELOW.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hair-Raising Headlines

The hits keep coming ...

A(nother) sign? ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

It's starting to seem like I HAD IT RIGHT last week.

And this is disturbing on numerous levels. In all my years on this planet I will never understand those whose minds operate this way. 

All I can think is it's a deeply twisted version of this workplace meme, which is a bond that I know firsthand is awfully hard to break. The huge difference is that coworkers actually KNOW each other and form opinions from that -- and it's meant to be kinda tongue-in-cheek. This "mass deportations" mindset is just unbridled hatred and callousness based on nothing but bigotry and xenophobia and is the antithesis of American values, much less the Judeo-Christian beliefs these voters purport to live by. Also: Funny how the outstanding post-pandemic economy suddenly means nothing when there's a Democrat in office. Where's everyone rubbing one out to the jobs numbers and going on and on about their "401(k)s now???? I really pity these people. 

Remains of the Day (07/17)

Broadway World: The West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theatre will close in August, citing finances. The basement performance space, named for the late Broadway talent who was taken by ovarian cancer at just 44, was a cabaret favorite, hosting many memorable gay and LBGT-friendly acts over the years, including the late Joan Rivers. I'm sad to see it go. 

Hot Cat of the Day: This handsome fella knows how to stay cool on a 92-degree day in New York City!

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Message of Lust

Your private life drama, baby, count me in

I took one look at this photo and immediately let my envy of Chrissie Hynde be known. (How do I get into bed with James Walbourne, the 44-year-old current lead guitarist of the Pretenders?) 

Why am I not surprised that this rock 'n' roll mama would approve of my lewd ways?!!!

Meme Spirited


Ha! Another thing I just learned about the famed sitcom: Apparently Natalie Schafer thought the script for "Gilligan's Island" was silly but only did the pilot to get an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii. Later, she was on vacation in Puerto Vallarta when a telegram arrived from the U.S. She read it and burst into tears, leading all of her friends to think her mother (who was ill at the time) had died. In fact, Schafer was crying because the show had been picked up, which meant she had to stay in Los Angeles and would not be able to move back to New York City as she had hoped. 

Additionally, Schafer was a little over 12 years older than Jim Backus, who played hubby Thurston Howell III. You go, Lovey! 

What the Tuck?

The (cute) guy at the cafe tucks the tongs under his armpit while waiting for the food to cook. What do you do?

1. Say something to him, knowing it will not go over well
2. Mention it to the manager, knowing you will be dubbed a Karen
3. Stop eating there
4. Don't worry about it, figuring the area of the tong that touches the food most probably isn't being touched by the pit of his shirt

Tennis Tuesday

Find out if he wears red underwear BELOW.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Remains of the Day (07/15)

PeopleRichard Simmons said "I know people miss me” in emotional final interview two days before his death at 76; I had a special place in my heart for the fitness guru dating back to "General Hospital," and sent him a birthday note on Facebook. I sure hope he really saw it. (And now they're saying he refused medical help after falling the night before he died.)

The AdvocateA gay man's murder haunted a town fueled by hate (disturbing content)

Manspread Monday: "My bicep is up here"

Hot Cat of the Day: Max is a real mama's boy!

Weekend Tennis Roundup


Carlos Alcaraz and Barbora Krejcikova are this year's king and queen of Wimbledon! Full report plus plenty of ATP beef BELOW

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Saturday Suits Me Fine

Had a lovely afternoon in Riverside Park. And now I'm getting ready for bed with visions of 25 majors in my head. (Congrats, Barbora)! 


Well, so much for that. Carlos Alcaraz was just too good, winning his second straight title at the All England Club. Margaret Court fans rejoice! 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Biden’s Point of No Return?

What a difference two days make. It's Thursday and with Nancy Pelosi now hinting that she isn't 100% behind President Biden, it's starting to feel like we've reached a tipping point in the "Should he stay or should he go?" sweepstakes.

Four days ago I scoffed when a friend wrote on Facebook:
Pardon the punditry, but I don't see any way that a national presidential campaign can possibly recover from a week-plus of calls from inside and outside the party for the candidate to step down. What is one more interview, one more town hall, even one more debate going to achieve at this point? The GOP could basically spend from now until November doing nothing but running ads quoting Democrats and liberal pundits saying Biden needs to go, over footage from the debate. 

Even if you think he was a solid and electable candidate before the debate, there is no way to take back anything that's been said and reported since. This is essentially a zombie campaign now, that's the political reality.
Now I give in. But let me tell you why I fear this was a complete miscalculation:

First, I still firmly believe that if Democrats had maintained a united front after the debate -- like Republicans have no matter what their candidate does -- President Biden could have ridden this out and had a good chance to win. (Am I the only one who remembers that the other guy didn't get the most votes in 2016 or 2020 -- and that he cost his party the White House, the House and the Senate?)

Secondly, you don't squander an incumbency. You just don't. Instead, let the infighting and accusations of "coronations" begin.

And last and most troubling, I don't see any clean way for the president to be replaced as the Democratic nominee -- and I'm not at all convinced doing so will increase the chance that the Democrat will win in November. (Do people not remember that Humphrey still lost handily to Nixon when Johnson exited?) Yes, I understand that the vast majority of people don't like either candidate. But if there had been a Democrat that more people like, we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with. So why do people think we can magically produce and coalesce around one now? 

What Democrats forget -- but Republicans know and are salivating about -- is that the other guy is so despised by so many voters that all it took to defeat him was putting him up against a generic white man, because (as unfair as it may be) things don’t stick to them the way they do to others. (“Crooked Joe” didn’t work. "Burisma" didn’t work. "Hunter’s laptop" didn’t work.) Now the other guy is probably going to get another femme foil, which he and far too many white men live (and love) to demonize. (It's like for these guys a vote against Hillary Clinton was a vote against "that b**ch" who dumped them.) The only person I've ever heard people talk about more contemptuously than Hillary and Nancy Pelosi is Kamala Harris. (I'll let you try to figure out why that may be -- wink-wink.) I am aware that the Veep's numbers have marginally improved, but wait’ll she gets “birthered” and “emailed” for months on end. (And now that Democrats have labeled Biden damaged goods, either way is a win-win for Republicans.) Still, since it now seems the well has been poisoned, the sooner the process begins the better.

Democrats have long been their own worst enemies. And refusing to take yes for an answer is how they managed to lose Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016 just weeks after the "Access Hollywood" tape aired and Republicans were calling for their nominee to drop out. (Do Dems even remember that?) So in the interest of not giving these voters another excuse to not show up, go ahead and pick another candidate. Let's call their bluff and pray I am wrong about everything.

And to Joe Biden: Thank you for all you've done. You were the best president in my lifetime (to date). 

UPDATE: Biden -- who was gaffe-prone when he was 4 and called Barack Obama "bright and clean" before getting picked by him to be his running mate --  just introduced Ukrainian President Zelenskyy at a NATO press conference as "President Putin." (After realizing his mistake he went back to the podium to say: "No, we're going to beat Putin.") Meanwhile the other candidate calls Biden "Obama" every other time he opens his mouth, but apparently when Joe does it it's the end of the world. (At this point I’m starting to think we don’t deserve democracy.)

God help us all. 

FRIDAY UPDATE: I'm not sure why, but I didn't see this coming. Again, I always believed Biden had the best chance to win again before the backlash, but it really seemed like the dissension was too much. 

Or was it? 

Maybe the naysayers will start to calm down and things will get back on track. Or maybe there’s yet another twist ahead. I really have zero sense of where this is going. All I am certain of is that Biden won’t walk away unless he’s confident his party has the best possible chance to retain control of the White House in November, and so far it seems he still believes he’s the one. 

On the Rag, Vol. 816


Julian puts the "personal" in personal trainer; the CEO of everything gay; Bianca Leigh is having a moment; and more in this week's rag 'n' mag roundup BELOW.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Remains of the Day (07/10)

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Tennis Tuesday: Daniil Medvedev

I realize we're supposed to think Daniil Medvedev looks ridiculous dressed up as heyday John McEnroe in a Pepperstone ad running during the Wimbledon fortnight. But truthfully I'm finding myself a little tingly in my bathing-suit area seeing the Russian's thighs that are usually hidden under his normal shorts. Watch BELOW.