Nov 20, 2018

The Gay Language of the Philippines

Tagalog has 28 million native speakers and another 45 million second-language speakers in the Philippines, plus 3-4 million in the rest of the world.  It is in the Austronesian family, related to the Pacific island languages of Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, and New Zealand, with strong influence of Spanish from 300 years of colonial rule (days of the week, months of the year,  and most numbers derive from Spanish).

Beki, or Swardspeak, is a Tagalog-English patois that gay Filipino men used to communicate with each other in the old closet days.  Now it's more or less mainstream, used by entertainment folk and anyone aspiring to sound witty and cool.

It's loaded with pop culture references, most with a complicated etymology:

Catch: Julie Andrews
Debt: Oprah Winfrey
Give: Debbie Gibson
Horny: Ella Fitzgerald
Hungry: Tom Jones
Lesbian: Lulu
Old: Thundercats

And modified English words:

Beautiful: Ganders  (you're taking a "gander")
Boyfriend: Bufra
Cheap: Chucky
Hustler: Colbam ("Callboy")
Oral Sex: Hada ("Head")
Penis: Nota

Gay is Uranus, maybe because gay men used to be called Uranians, or maybe because of the connotation with anal sex.

There are also many Tagalog puns, visual images, and mispronunciations that take you awhile to figure out.

Long: Portugal  (it's a long, narrow country).

Masturbate: Nueva Viscaya  (the capital of that province is Bayombong, which sounds like the word for "bounce")

Naked: Oblation (??)

Nothing; Washington DC (a mispronounciationof walang bagay)

Testicles: Werlog (itlog= egg)

Amarillo, Texas: Keep Driving

As you drive on Interstate 40 through the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from the bright lights of civilization, you suddenly hit a big city.  You ease into it gradually, with gas stations and the Big Texas Steak Ranch and a La Quinta Motor Inn bolstered against the flatness, and don't realize that it's actually a city until you've crossed several miles, with banks and Dairy Queens and mattress shops and small square houses where, you think in amazement, people actually wake up every morning, ready for another day in Amarillo.

Amarillo means "yellow" in Spanish, but nothing is really yellow.  It's more a drab, sunbaked dust.

 You pass an Olive Garden, a Red Lobster, a Red Roof Inn, with no indication that this is anywhere in particular. It could be Utah or Ohio or Maine.  There's a mall, a Home Depot, and a Wal-Mart, and then suddenly it's over, you're in the desert again.  You've gone through the whole town, and there was never a "there."

There are six high schools: Palo Duro, Caprock, Amarillo, Tascosa, Randall, and the Richard Milburn Academy; and a community college.

There's also a sculpture consisting of ten cadillacs buried nose-first in the sand.

And a statue called the Second Amendment Cowboy.  (That's the one about the "right to bear arms."

The Museum of Art's current exhibit is called "Burning Ring of Fire: Cast Iron Art from Tucumcari, New Mexico."

The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian features the work of Rev. Thomas E. Mails, a Lutheran minister from Minnesota who published 14 books on Native Americans.

Amarillo is also home to Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, a "Christ-centered" ranch for at risk boys aged 5 to 18.  It's been reeling from allegations from former residents of decades of abuse: dragged behind a horse, 60 lashes with a whip, a ruler to the genitals, forced sexual acts with staff and older boys. The current staff has apologized, but they still named a dorm after one of the worst abusers.

My advice: keep driving.

But just in case you have to stay, let's look for examples of Amarillo beefcake.

1. The Palo Duro Dons cross country team. "Dons" as in the Spanish word for "Mr.," with a mustachioed mascot reminiscent of Zorro.

2. Caprock Wrestling.

3. The Tascosa Rebels swim team.  At least, the one guy on a team full of girls.

4. Amarillo crossfit.

5. Amarillo boy scout.

6. Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week #161: Lance from Amarillo.

I still think I'll keep driving.

Nov 18, 2018

The Beefcake of Science Hill

I would certainly not expect a school to be called Science Hill High in Tennesee, the site of the Scopes Monkey Trial and the Grand Ole Opry.   Especially not in Johnson City, in the Smokey Mountains on the far eastern corner of the state, near North Carolina.  Trip Advisor states that the top things to do in town are:
1. The Yee Haw Brewery
2. The Tweetsie Trail
3. Winged Deer Park
4. The Johnson City Public Library

Or you could just go to one of the many fundamentalist churches in town: Cornerstone Church, Calvary Church, Grace Fellowship, Highlands Fellowship, Redeemer Community Church, Redstone Church

There is a gay bar/drag club called New Beginnings, and in 2018 Johnson City held its first gay pride parade. According to the newspaper, "A heavy police presence was visible at the event. TriPride said threats from protest groups led to the extra security. Law enforcement were on roofs. A swat team stood ready, and THP patrolled the air in a helicopter."

Well, that's better than my first gay rights march in Iowa: the police were there to make sure we didn't rape any of the spectators.

But back to Science Hill, with the logo of a creepy Victorian Frankenstein called the Mad Hatter.  Apparently the team wins games by scaring their opponents into dropping the ball.

It was founded two years after the Civil War as the Science Hill Male and Female Institute, on a hill downtown next to the Public Library.  Every day students had to climb 88 steps to get there.

"Science" meant "knowledge" in those days, not specifically knowledge of the physical world, so it was appropriate for a school. 

I still don't get the creepy Mad Hatter.

It's not really on the cutting edge of academics.  The only world languages are French, Spanish, Latin, and German.  The only history is European and American.  Science includes Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. 

There are clubs for Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Future Investors, Mountain Bikers, and Quidditch Players.  No gay groups.

But they do have a wrestling team.

I don't know why their singlets say "Le..avis" rather than "Science Hill."

The track team.

Another Hilltopper, this one in green.

A swimmer.  He may be the same person as the wrestler, with a change of hair style.

Or not.  Lots of blonds in Johnson City.
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