Aug 24, 2018

The Swim Team Jock and the Ridiculous Name

After 40 years, I'm still fuming about the American history class I took during my sophomore year of high school, in spring of 1976, when Mr. Manary told us that sometimes pollsters make up names on
survey questions, to see if respondents are answering honestly.

Shortly thereafter, he gave us the names of some potential candidates in the upcoming presidential election, and asked which one we favored.

One was Birch Bayh.

"Birch Bay?" I exclaimed.  "What a stupid name, obviously fake."

Birch "Bye", David, a very cute and bulgeworthy swim team jock, said.

"Yeah, bye-bye, Birch!" I continued.  "No one's going to be fooled by such a stupid name. Birch Bay!"

Birch "Bye," David repeated in frustration.

Guess what?  There really was someone named Birch Bayh (pronounced "bye"), an Indiana senator who really was seeking the Democratic nomination for president that election year, but would drop out after the primary (Jimmy Carter ended up defeating Gerald Ford).

How was I supposed to know that impossibly obscure bit of trivia?  I couldn't even vote yet. And how did a swim team jock know it?

Turns out that everyone in the class EXCEPT ME knew it.  I was usually the smart kid, but now I was the dolt.

And my lack of political savvy summarily ended the possibility of getting with the cute and bulgeworthy swim team jock.

I still think it's stupid for someone with a last name "Bayh" to name their kid Birch.  I suppose if their name was McKinley, they'd name him Mount.

Birch Bay happens to a town and a state park just north of Bellingham, Washington, near the Canadian border.

So who is this jerk named after a bay?

Born in 1928, Birch was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1954, and continued in politics until 1981.  He was a liberal Democrat who favored the Equal Rights Amendment and Title IX.

Birch had two sons, Evan and Christopher.

Christopher is a lawyer in Indianapolis, and Evan is a conservative politician, a Indiana state senator and governor from 1989 to 1997.  He's anti-abortion but pro-capital punishment.  He wants to ban flag burning but not same-sex marriage.

His twin sons, Beau and Nick, are now attending Harvard.

They are rather buffed, but that doesn't excuse some crazy person from naming their kid Birch Bay. Who is the culprit responsible?

Turns out that Birch Bayh is the son of another Birch Bayh (1893-1971),  an Indiana University basketball coach.

The original Birch Bayh grew up in Quincy, Indiana, son of  Fred C. Bayh (1871-1947), a blacksmith and hardware merchant.

So it's Fred's fault that Birch Sr. and Birch Jr. got ridiculous names and tripped me up in American history class.

And that every time I try to do a google search on "Birch Bayh," it says "here are the results for Birch Bath.  You didn't really mean Birch Bayh, did you?  That's ridiculous!"

Aug 23, 2018

The Top 10 Hunks of "Madam Secretary"

I'm not much for political dramas.  You can get more than enough politics by watching the news.   But Madam Secretary (2014-2018), starring Tea Leoni as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, also had drama of the who's-dating-who sort, with lots of powerful men taking their clothes off.

Warning: These are powerful men.  That generally means that, although they were on the Harvard rowing team 30 years ago, they haven't been to a gym lately.

1. Tim Daly as Henry McCord, Elizabeth's husband, a theologian who teaches military ethics.

2. Nadine Tolliver,  her Chief of Staff, dates Glenn (John Pankow, left), head of NASA, and political consultant Mike Barnow (Kevin Rahm), who jeopardized his political career by getting divorced.

3. Sebastian Arcelus (left) as Jay Whitman, Elizabeth's new Chief of Staff.  He's married.

4. Zeljko Ivanek as Russell Jackson, White House Chief of Staff (it's Chiefs of Staff all the way down).  He has a wife and an ex-wife.

5. Press Coordinator Daisy Grant dates speechwriter Matt Mahoney (Geoffrey Arend).

6. Then Kevin (Justin Baldoni), who turns out to be working undercover for the CIA.

5. Stevie, Elizabeth's daughter, dated Arthur Gilroy (Josh Hamilton).

6.  And got engaged to Jareth Glover (Christopher O'Shea).

7. She also is having an affair with Harrison (Jason Ralph).the President's son,

8. Plus she is dating undercover agent Dmitri Petrov (Chris Petrovski).

9. Evan Roe as Jason, Elizabeth's teenage son, who has a long-term girlfriend.

10. The only LGBT person in the cast is Blake (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth's secretary.  He is bisexual, which apparently means "fruity but talks about liking women."

And only dates women.

Uriah Shelton: Former Gay Christian Ally

Speaking of Jimmy Bennett, his costar in Alabama Moon, Uriah Sheldon, made a splash among gay teens in the 2000s, mostly because of his music.  His performances of  "Lifted" and "Come Inside" with Dash Mihok received excellent reviews, and he performed in several music videos.

Many gay kids and teenagers are evangelical Christians, in spite of the homophobia of some evangelical churches, and they appreciated Uriah's ability to express a religious commitment without homophobia or even heterosexism.

For instance, his music video "I Wanna Live Like That" is about his desire to be good, holding doors open for people and being pushed into a pool by his friends, with no heterosexual imaginings.

Gay fans were also Uriah's movies and tv programs, which tend to minimize leering at girls and feature buddy-bonding (as in Alabama Moon) or boys with hunky dads.

1. Eric McCormack of Will and Grace  in Trust Me (2009)

2.Dash Mihok in Lifted (2010).

Or older friends: Matt Passmore in The Glades (2010-)

In The Glades, smart-aleck Chicago cop Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) moves to small-town Florida to "work on his tan" and solve murders.  He pursues married nurse Callie (Kiele Sanchez), whose husband is in prison, and who dislikes cops.

Meanwhile, Callie's son Jeff (Uriah) pursues Jim, and begins tagging along on his cases.  Maybe he's looking for a father figure, maybe he enjoys the excitement, or maybe he's a gay kid experiencing his first crush.

But actors aren't always responsible for their own gay subtexts.  More recently, when Uriah starred in Blue (2012-5), about a single mother who tries to keep her job as a sex worker from her teenage son; and Girl Meets World (2015-2017), the Boy Meets World spin-off,, as Cory's college-age brother, he didn't get along well with his female costars.

Rowan Blanchard, who played his character's crush, disapproved of his anti-feminist attitude, called for fewer scenes together, and finally asked that his character be "ended": "I don't have time for him and his stupidity"

At age 21, he's a trained MMA fighter. In October 2017, he was issued a restraining order for allegedly kicking and punching his ex-girlfriend.

And apparently he's made some homophobic statements.  He made #46 on the list of the Most Homophobic Celebrities (the Orange Goblin is #1).

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