Sep 15, 2018

American Horror Story, Apocalypse: Male Models Fully Clothed, Teenage Boy Naked

My favorite season of American Horror Story was Coven, with the New Orleans witches.  It's been all downhill since then.  I keep watching, mostly because of all the hype, but I'm usually disappointed.

We were promised that Cult would be about the 2016 presidential election, with Trump and Clinton involved in some sort of bloody business.  It wasn't. 

We were promised that Apocalypse would be a class reunion, bringing back characters from every season.  

In the first 15 minutes, the bombs fall. I guess some actors from previous seasons are there, getting ready for the end of the world, but that's it.

 Whoever doesn't die instantly is taken out by nuclear winter.  The world is lifeless, except for a few outposts run by the mysterious collective, where some survivors have paid for admission, and others have been chosen thanks to their superior DNA.  

The rest of the episode takes place in Outpost #3, an elite boys' school turned bunker, run by the stern, sinister Miss, I mean Ms. Wilhelmina Venable (Sarah Paulson) and Ms. Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates).  They have divided the survivors into two groups, the gray serving class, who mostly scrub floors and look miserable, and the purple elites, who mostly sit around looking miserable:

1. The uber-wealthy, entitled Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman).

2. Her hairdresser, the bleached-blond Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters, top photo).

3. Gallant's grandmother, famous actress Evie Gallant (Joan Collins, playing a daffy version of her Dynasty persona).

4.-5. Gay couple Stu (Chad James Buchanan, left) and Andre (Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman, below).  

Both are played by fashion models turned actors, and neither take off their clothes.

6. Focus character Timothy Campbell (Kyle Allen), a high school student chosen for his excellent DNA, who does take off his clothes.  Into cute young things, Mr. Director?

7. A girl for Timothy to fall in love with.

There's nothing to do in Outpost #3, no books, movies, or music (except for one song piped in over and over).  In the near future, is everything streaming, so no DVDS or CDs exist?  

Copulation is forbidden.  

They have electricity, but they prefer to use oxygen-consuming candles instead.

There's no food except for small cubes, and human stew for special occasions.  Surely in such a vast space, one which has apparently been in readiness for some time, there's room for whole warehouses of canned goods, and maybe a few chicken coops?

Turns out that they could have better stuff, but  the Collective has gone dark, and in its absence, Ms. Venable and Ms. Mead are having fun torturing their "captives," and occasionally killing one.  They may be vampires.

How do they expect to start civilization over again, if they keep killing survivors?   

The first named character they kill and eat is Stu, leading to the line "The stew is Stu!"

American Horror Story has always been very good with lesbians, but bad with gay men, either killing them or having them say "I'm not gay, but..." over and over.  In this case, they went with the killing.

See also: Kai's Cult.

Sep 14, 2018

How Do You Handle a Hungry Man?

I'm not a big fan of soup, especially that partially coagulated Campbell's stuff.  Besides, they had a stupid logo -- "Mmm, mmm, good," not even words -- and the most cutesy-disgusting advertising icons, Campbell's Soup Kids.  But in the early 1970s, Campbell's redeemed itself with the Manhandlers.

They were a thick, stocky variety of soup introduced in 1968, reputedly in response to housewives' complaints that the wimpy Chicken Noodle  lines didn't fill up their husbands.

The commercial showed a hunky, muscular guy in a plaid shirt  engaged in various farm tasks (not him -- this is Matt Neustadt of reality tv).  I remember him plowing a field, piling concrete blocks atop each other, and mending a barbed wire fence -- while a male voiceover sang the double-entendre laden  "How do you handle a hungry  The Handlers!"

The gay symbolism was obvious, though no doubt unintentional.  Viewers could think of all kinds of ways to handle a hungry man.

 He goes home, bursts into the kitchen, and plops down at the table, where there is a bowl of Manhandlers soup waiting for him.  He thrusts a spoon awkwardly into his fist like he's not used to utensils and begins shoveling the soup in, occasionally making little animal grunts of pleasure.  One expects him to say "Me like soup!  Soup good!"  Oh, right, that's the logo.  The voice over repeats: "The Handlers!"

No ladies were shown in the commercials.  The Man evidently lived alone, or maybe with the man who was singing about a ""

the singer was Frankie Laine, who performed in many genres but specialized in cowboy songs, including "Hanging Tree," "Mule Train," "Riders in the Sky," and the themes for Rawhide and Blazing Saddles.

By 1977, the ravenous cave man had been civilized into a New Sensitive Man.  He even knew how to hold a spoon properly.

Did PJ Make it to West Point, and Other Beefcake-Heavy Questions

This wrestler reminds me of Infinite Chazz, our boy toy in West Hollywood, called "infinite" because he was infinitely attractive to everyone who saw him.  He could get anything he wanted -- an extra dessert from the lunch lady at school, a back stage pass at a concert, sex -- just by flashing his smile.  It was like a superpower.

Infinite Chazz #2 is actually PJ from "Cardinal Newman High School," All-Empire Wrestler of the year, 2014.

According to the article, he's a three-time All American who boxes in his spare time, he wants to be an engineer, and he plans to go to West Point  (and no, this move is not illegal).

Two questions:

1. Where is this All-Empire?

2. Did he make it to West Point?

1. Where is this All-Empire?

There are two Cardinal Newman High Schools in the U.S., in West Palm Beach and Santa Rosa.

Cardinal Newman, West Palm Beach, founded in 1961, has 500 students. Its colors are blue and gold, and its mascot is a Crusader.  Its newspaper is called the Illuminated Manuscript (cleverly Medieval).

This is Blythewood (in bright blue) beating Cardinal Newman (light blue).

Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa, founded in 1914, has 600 students. Its colors are Cardinal red (naturally) and gold.

I don't know why this photo came up when I searched for "Cardinal Newman High School" "Santa Rosa" "wrestling," but I couldn't resist the title:

"Yip Yip Hooray for Jordan Yip," who placed at the Shah Alam Aquatic Centre in Malaysia.   according to the MSSM Akutiaq blog.

Malaysia is a bit far from Santa Rosa, and none of the words are in the article.

Ok, here's a real Cardinal Newman Santa Rosa wrestler.  Notice the red logo?  Similar to PJ's, but not identical. 

Someone named PJ, with his last name (not very common), also attended the Blair Academy in New Jersey.

But someone named Michael, with the same last name, graduated from the Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa in 2015 (shown here hanging out with several shirtless guys).

He was also a wrestler, no doubt a younger brother.

So I'm going with PJ graduating from the Cardinal Newman Santa Rosa.

And All-Empire means Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties, California.

2. Did he make it to West Point?

I don't see any PJ on the rosters of West Point wrestling teams.

But I found a Paul with the same last name wrestling at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, a senior in 2017-2018.

Success!  He was a graduate of Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa, then attended West Point and Holyoke Community College, near Springfield, Massachusetts.

I'm guessing a year at West Point, then a year at Holyoke, and on to Sacred Heart, where he changed from engineering to criminal justice.

The bodybuilding film Stay Hungry was partially filmed at the Gold's Gym in Holyoke.

A long strange trip from Santa Rosa to Holyoke, with a lot of byways and dead ends in between.  But look at all of the beefcake I found on the way!

See also: In Search of the Headless Wrestler.

Sep 13, 2018

A Date from Hell with the Suit Man

West Hollywood, May 1994

I've always been attracted to men in business suits, probably because I saw so few growing up.  All of my friends' fathers worked in factories and wore coveralls, except to church on Sundays, where they put on the Ritz.

The preacher wore a suit (no Satanic clerical collars for Nazarenes!).  I spent countless hours watching him as he paced and yelled and pounded the pulpit in outrage, until his tight bulldog body was slick with sweat and his bulge was very blatantly shifting about..


So when Morris (not his real name) showed up one day at the Metropolitan Community Church, I was enthralled.

He was in his 40s,  but distinctly old fashioned -- wearing a gray flannel suit in Los Angeles heat, complete with vest, pinktie, handkerchief in the front pocket and cuff  links instead of buttons.

Thick gold watch, pinky ring, slicked-back black hair, cologne.  Who was this guy, Humphrey Bogart?

The pinky ring and cologne were turn-offs, but not enough for me to avoid him during the after-service "coffee hour," aka the "cruising hour."

We didn't usually discuss our jobs in West Hollywood -- everyone made do on a variety of part-time and temp jobs while pursuing our various goals of acting, modeling, writing, or painting.  But Morris asked first thing, and told us that he was a broker-sales-marketing something or other to do with business.  Yawn.  Other biographical details: he was new in town, transplanted from far-off Connecticut, he had only been out for a few years, and he was a non-practicing Catholic who had never been in a Protestant church before.

In other words, he was not at all assimilated into the gay community.

Well, we could work on that.

"You need the grand tour of West Hollywood," I told him, "The bars, the Different Light, Mrs. Fields' Cookies,West Hollywood Park.  I'm meeting my partner and boy toy for lunch in a bit.  We could..."

"Thanks, but I have a lunch engagement of my own. Another time, perhaps?"

Thoroughly rebuffed, I retreated to the other side of the room and talked to other people until he was gone.  Then I walked down to the French Quarter, and waited for Lane and Infinite Chazz.

In May 1994, I was 33 years old.  Lane was five years older, shorter than me, buffed, bearded.  Our boy toy, called Infinite Chazz because he was infinitely attractive to everyone who saw him, was in college in Orange County, but visited most weekends.

It was very crowded, and the French Quarter was set up with mostly tables-for-two, so we had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated -- at a table only 20 feet from Morris!

"That's the guy I cruised at church," I told them.

"Whoa, bummer!" Infinite Chazz exclaimed.  "I mean, he's hot and all, but look who he's with!"

The rest of the story, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Barney Hill: Alien Abduction or Sexual Assault?

There haven't been a lot of alien abduction stories recently, but for about ten years, they were all the rage.

People having weird "missing time" experiences or strange screen memories, going to a therapist, and uncovering years of abductions, painful medical procedures, and forced sexual acts orchestrated by groups of greys, praying-mantis beings, and humans.

Contrary to popular myth, the average abductee is a well-educated, wealthy young woman trying to deal with a history of traumatic abuse.

Unfortunately, the accounts try to heterosexualize the abductees whenever possible, reducing gay hints to "two women on a camping trip" or "two men sitting in their car."

The first well-publicized alien abduction case involved Betty and Barney Hill (left: James Earl Jones, who played Barney in a tv movie. Or at least, when I searched for "James Earl Jones" on google images, this is what it showed me).

  They were a middle-aged, middle-class couple, well educated, and active in politics: the local civil rights committee, the Unitarian Church and the NAACP.  They were interracial in the racist 1960s, but if you were careful, you could avoid most of the prejudice.  They got occasional stares, and some of their relatives wouldn't talk to them, but they had never been assaulted, yelled at, or turned away from a hotel.

On the night of September 19, 1961, they were driving home to Portsmouth, New Hampshire after a delayed honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls and Montreal.  Around 10:30 pm, they saw a bright light on the road ahead.  It got closer and closer, until they saw that it was a gigantic flying object about 60 feet across.  They could see beings through a row of windows: short humanoids wearing shiny black suits with matching caps and weird snake insignias.

One gave Barney a coquettish, over-the-shoulder smile, so intense that it frightened him.

A suggestion of sexual desire?

The next thing they remembered was arriving at home, two hours later than expected.  They showered extensively, feeling unclean.  Their clothes were ruined, as if they had been torn off.

Later Betty began having vivid dreams, and under hypnosis she and Barney both recalled stopping for a road block, being taken from their car and brought aboard the spaceship, and being subjected to medical procedures.

 Betty had extensive conversations with her captors, one of whom spoke English (or used telepathy). They showed her a star map, and offered to give her a book (but the offer was rescinded later).

Barney didn't interact with them, and mostly kept his eyes closed, but he said that the aliens moved "with the cold precision of German soldiers."  In another session, he elaborated: "He looks like a German Nazi.  He's a Nazi."

The alien who smiled at him looked like "a redheaded Irishman," which made Barney nervous, due to his past experiences with racist Irishmen.

 Barney had a long tube inserted up his rectum, and a device placed over his penis to extract semen (but, he said, he experienced no arousal).

(Left: Barney's bulge).

The case was written up in Look magazine, then in a bestselling book, The Interrupted Journey (1966).  Barney died in 1969, but Betty became a lifelong advocate of the alien abduction phenomenon, dismissing other explanations, insisting that they encountered beings from another world that night.

What other explanations have been suggested of the Hills' experience?  Other than fatigue and leading questions by the hypotherapist, the most cogent is an encounter with a motorcycle gang -- the bright lights, the uniforms -- who stopped them, questioned them, and subjected Barney but not Betty to a sexual assault: something over his penis, something inserted into his butt.

They both felt unclean afterwards, and showered and wanted to burn their clothes, but Barney seemed more traumatized.

But why would your mind transform a sexual assault into an alien abduction which was just as traumatic, but would subject you to scorn and derision for the rest of your life? 

Maybe, for some guys in 1961, an alien abduction was easier to accept than being anally entered and having "semen extracted" by men.

I read The Interrupted Journey around the end of grade school or the beginning of junior high, and I was fascinated.  Not only by the abduction:

1. You never saw black men and white women together on tv, in movies, or in real life.  I didn't know that interracial relationships existed.  If they were possible, what other desires were erased, hidden from view?

2. This was the first time I read the word "penis," anywhere.  It felt liberating and rather naughty to be thinking of Barney's penis.

3. Barney's experience, however much he denied it, was obviously sexual.  And it occurred at the hands of men, or male beings.  If same sex acts could occur in an alien abduction, certainly they could occur in real life!

Sep 10, 2018

10 Problems with High School/College Powerlifting

Muscular guys with their shirts off straining at 300-pound barbells.  What's not to like?  It would seem that high school/college weightlifting, aka powerlifting, would be an ideal sport for physique-watching. 

But unfortunately, the ideal is far different from the reality.

1. It's not a very common sport.  Only a few high schools and colleges offer it.

2. Both boys and girls participate.  Sometimes it seems to be mostly girls.

3. The athletes don't compete shirtless, or in tight singlets.  Loose-fitting t-shirts and shorts are more common.

4. Weightlifting is not bodybuilding.  Muscle size and definition are irrelevant.  Being a little chunky is an asset.

5. And since they are evaluated in weight classes, many of the athletes are a bit skinny.

More after the break.

Sep 9, 2018

Grown-Ish: Black-ish Goes to College, and Meets Bisexuals

The sitcom Grown-ish (2018-) a spinoff of Black-ish, sends Zoe (Yara Shahidi) off to the mostly black-ish Cal University (shades of A Different World), where she makes an ethnically diverse group of friends, or as she calls them, "six losers who I normally never would have even spoke to."

1. The "woke" Aaron Jackson (Trevor Jackson)

2. The bisexual Jewish Nomi.

3. The Gujarati drug-dealing hunk-ish Vivek (Jordan Buhat)

4. The femme-ish stoner Luca (Luka Sabbat).

5-6. Sky and Jazz, twin track stars.

Zoe also bonds with her roommate, a conservative-ish Republican Catholic (but not homophobic) who feels harassed on the liberal campus and wants a "safe space" like the gays get.

There are plenty of other hunks around, like Diggy Simmons as Jazz's boyfriend.

And Deon Cole (left) as a business-ish professor of drones.

Episodes involve the standard classes, career aspirations, and romantic entanglements of the main characters, and of course especially Zoey, who juggles several guys before finally trying to decide between Aaron and Luca.

No gay characters, but an interesting story arc deals with biphobia, Nomi is with a female date when Big Dave (Barrett Carnahan) approaches to act flirt-ish with her.  She rebuffs him, but tells her date that she is bisexual, whereupon the woman becomes angry-ish, says she is not interested in being an "experiment," and tells her to call when she is over her "bisexual phase."

Nomi points out that it's not a phase, but the date still storms off in anger.

Cut to the righteous indignation. Nomi and her friends decide to hang out with Big Dave after all.

He states it's no big deal.  He's fooled around with guys, but that doesn't make him gay, right?

Um..double-takes.  Shock.

"I'm bi," he concludes.  Shock.  Everyone is uncomfortable-ish.  Even Nomi.

They get that bisexuality is not a phase -- with women.  But bisexual men?  Aren't they just fooling themselves?  Aren't they really

Nomi starts to date him anyway, but by the next episode they've broken up.  She couldn't take it.  "I can't help feel it's different for guys and girls."

Even bisexuals can be biphobic-ish.

The Penises of Fine Art

Heterosexuals, especially heterosexual men, have an intense fear of the penis.  They don't want to see it, they don't want to think about it.  They design costumes that hide it as much as possible, and when that's impossible, they pretend desperately not to notice it.

So frontal nudity in a tv program or movie gets it a "mature audiences only" rating, and public nudity will get you registered as a sex offender for life.

There is an exception, however, for artistic depictions, paintings, drawings, and statues.  Some blue noses still complain, but in general a depiction of a nude male is fine.

T.S. Eliot used one for the cover of one of his books.

And Maurice Sendak, for his illustration of Melville.  This guy looks like a grown-up version of Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

"The Source of Power," by German sculptor Arthur Lange, about naked men holding hands.

Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen displayed full frontal nudity in many of his statues, such as Adonis.

Even Thomas Hart Benton, the great muralist of the Jazz Age, presented an outline of a penis.

If your art is too naturalistic, so it looks like a photograph, you'd still be wise to throw in a fig leaf.

And arousal is strictly forbidden.
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