Aug 25, 2018

My Terrible, Horrible, Harrowing Walk Home from the Gym

Plains, August 2018

This morning I went to the gym with Bob, but had to walk home because he needed the car to work.  I couldn't run because I was fully clothed.  It's only 2.3 miles, but it was a harrowing experience.

It was a very gray, cloudy day, very humid but not hot, with that weirdly oppressive feeling you get sometimes when things are a little off.

1.  About .4 miles down a very busy street, with cars zooming past at breakneck speed, then cutting around a Kwick-Trip.  Except there was a husky guy in black, with long hair and multiple tattoos, blocking the sidewalk, glaring at me in a threatening fashion, and occasionally hitting himself in the head.

I crossed the street to get away from him, and he watched, glaring and hitting himself, as I walked the long way around.

2. About .4 miles down a no man's land street with a mental health center, a food bank, a decrepit pizza place, a vacuum cleaner place, a laundromat, and some houses. All deserted and ominous, like the world after an apocalypse.

A muscular guy wearing only short black pants was walking in big circles on the sidewalk and street outside the vacuum cleaner place, talking angrily to himself.

"Not another one!" I thought.  "Is there a wacko convention in town?"

When he saw me, he started yelling -- I couldn't make out the words.

3. I ducked into the used bookstore to get away from him, browsed around the sorry collection of worn paperbacks from the 1970s, and finally bought a history of ancient Egypt that wasn't too dismal.

4. About .5 miles through the "bar" neighborhood of downtown, with saloons, taverns, bars, and gin joints on every block, plus the post office, some banks, the Masonic Temple, and a ladies' strip club.

 I always find the bar neighborhood disturbing, but there's something eerie about it when you realize that all of the buildings are empty.

A car stopped right next to me, and a heavily tattooed guy jumped out.  No place to turn off, so I just walked faster.  I heard him talking behind me.  At the end of the block, I finally managed to turned  off.

5. About .4 miles through a residential neighborhood, older houses (this was a fashionable neighborhood 100 years ago) with the woods that lead up to a convent in back. 

A tall figure wearing a long black robe and black hood was standing in a yard next to the woods.

It didn't seem to notice me, but still, that was enough.

6.  I ran to the gay-friendly coffee house, where I figured there would at least be people.

There was one.

A heavily tattooed man --even his fingers were tattooed -- sitting at one of the tables, eating a breakfast burrito.  He looked up and glared at me. I left.

7. About .3 miles down a busy street, past closed antique shops, a store that sells only olive oil, a comic book store, a bakery, a bicycle shop.  There was someone leaned against the front of the Eagle Lodge across the street, leg drawn up like a flamingo. Just standing there.

8.   I stopped at the gas station/convenience store for a banana.  There was a woman in the parking lot picking up bits of paper. I thought she was an employee tidying up, but she wasn't wearing a uniform, and wouldn't you use a broom for that?

9. Only .3 more miles to home, across a busy street and up a hill.  The streets in that neighborhood have square stone planters with trees growing in them.  I guess it's supposed to be scenic, but it's difficult to negotiate when there's a crowd, or even two people coming in different directions: one has to wait, or step out into the street.

I saw a guy heading in my direction, and knew that we would both reach the planter at the same time, but I was in no mood to wait.  He wasn't either.  We turned to face each other as we squeezed past: he was my height, thick biceps, square hands black curly hair, black eyes.   Our chests scraped against each other.   He smiled and said "Excuse me."  Middle Eastern accent.

Did I say terrible, horrible, and harrowing?  I meant fantastic.  A walk full of hot guys, one shirtless, another who brushed his chest against me. Plus a book on ancient Egypt and a banana.

I decided to go back to the coffee shop and talk to the heavily tattooed guy eating the breakfast burrito.

This post with nude photos is on Tales of West Hollywood

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).

Aug 19, 2018

"The Package": A Sausage Fest with a Closeted Gay Guy

I'm sorry, but I'm definitely going to watch a movie about a penis, regardless of how bad it is.

Netflix's The Package (2018) is bad.

The premise: three high school buds go on a "bud only" bonding retreat in the mountains:

1. Wimpy Everyman Sean (Daniel Doheny, who played the gay guy in Alex Strangelove.  I didn't watch it due to the homophobia of the title).

2. Ginger chick magnet Donnie (Luke Spencer Roberts, who you may remember from Fear the Walking Dead).

3. Jeremy (Eduardo Franco, who has starred in American Vandal and Adam Ruins Everything), who has long hair, a soft voice, and an online girlfriend that he intends to meet someday, and they'll totally have sex.  Until then he'll live vicariously through the psychic bond with his twin sister -- whenever she has sex with a guy, he feels it.

Got it?  He's gay but doesn't realize it yet.

Sean and Donnie are upset when Jeremy invites two girls along on their retreat, especially because they are Sarah, Donnie's ex-girlfriend, and Becky, Sean's crush.

You know what's going to happen, right?  Some bickering, then hetero-romance will blossom.

But on the way, Jeremy's sausage is accidentally severed!

Jeremy is airlifted to the hospital.  The friends find the penis in the woods (a 6-inch long dildo) and go on a madcap adventure to get it to him within 24 hours, the timeline for reattaching.

It is possible to reattach a severed penis, under very precise conditions.  The cut has to be clean, the penis has to be kept clean, it has to be kept on ice, and you have 4-6 hours to do the job.  This penis goes through so much travail  -- including being bitten by a snake -- that it just wouldn't work, and 24 hours is ridiculous.

I kept murmuring "That can't happen...that's way that would work." 

They end up going to the wrong hospital and attaching the penis to the wrong guy, a redneck whose girlfriend cut his off.

Can't happen.

But the girlfriend cuts it off again, so they rush to the right hospital and get it connected to Jeremy just in time.

Can't happen.

We never hear anything else from Jeremy; one gets the impression that he was just a maguffin, and the real plot is hetero-romance.  Fade out to boys and girls kissing.

I liked the lack of homophobia in the characters' interactions, a nice change of pace from the blathering of most young adult comedies: "Touching another man is sick!  Disgusting!  I'd rather die!"

And none of the "I am no longer a man"  nonsense.  Jeremy obviously wants his junk back, but he doesn't think he has somehow become a woman.

But no beefcake, no actual, open gay characters, and heteronormativity everywhere you look.  Plus a disbelief that's impossible to suspend.

And sorry, it's a nitpick,but it's been bugging me: these are minors.  Why didn't anyone notify Jeremy's parents?

Can't happen.
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