Jan 18, 2019

The Most Heterosexist, Tone-Deaf, Annoying Song of All Time

For the last three days, every time I've gone to the gym, the local Top 40 radio station has bleated out the most annoying song in history. I remember it from a few months ago, but I thought its moment in the sun was blessedly over.

I should be so lucky.

What's wrong with it?

1. Immensely, intensely, nauseatingly heteronormative.  All the lyrics I can hear are "I met a gi--iii--rrlll.  We fell in lo---ooo---ve"  "kiss me slo---ooo---oww."

Yeah, so you met a girl.  I've met lots of girls.  They're like half the population of the planet, right.  What's the big deal?

So you fell in love.  Don't most people fall in love and kiss? Unless they are celibate, not into romance, or extremely socially awkward.  What's the big deal? 
Surely you're not implying that for boys, meeting a gi---iii---rlll and falling in lo---ooo---ve is the meaning of life?  Heterosexual desire is universal human experience, gay people do not exist?

But that's not the end of the horror.

2.  A simplistic four-four time that they teach you in grade school, plus annoying triplets (three notes shoved into two) that plod in your your head like a hammer, especially if you're on a weight machine.  "I met a gi---clank---iiii---clank----rlll--clank."

3. Sudden change of register to an annoying falsetto high note.  "I met a (normal)...gi...iiii....rllll- falsetto falsetto falsetto..."

4. It goes on forever and ever.  Just when you think there's a reprise, there's more "I met a ...."

Here's the first of the 3000 verses:

I met a gi---iii--rlll, beautiful and swe--eee---eeet
I never knew you were the someone waiting for me-eee-eee
'Cause we were just kids when we fell in loo--ooo--vve

Want to guess who he meets in the third verse?

So I looked up the monstrosity.   It wasn't easy -- the title isn't "I met a gi--iii--rlll," it's "Perfect," sung in an amateurish beat with annoying falsettos by someone named Ed Sheehan.

Must be a squeaky-voiced teenager who got his song to play because his daddy owns the radio station.

Wait -- he has a wikipedia page?

You won't believe this -- there's someone with the same name as the "I met a gi--iii--rrll" Ed Sheehan, a British singer, and he's  famous!  He has sold 38 million albums and 100 million singles, making him one of the highest selling singers in the world.  His debut album, + (pronounced "Plus"), has gone sextuple platinum.

These are the songs of the famous Ed Sheehan:

1. "The A Team," which is not about the tv show, it's about a prostitute addicted to crack.
2. "Lego House," which is not about a lego house, but about a deranged stalker fan.
3. "Sing," which is not about singing, it's about a man trying to convince a woman to have sex
4. "Blood Stream," which is not about blood, it's about a drunk who can't get laid
5. "Shape of You," which is about being attracted to a woman and having sex with her.

6. Gulp. "Perfect," which is about meeting a gi--iii---rll who is perfect.

Wait -- it's the same Ed Sheehan?  But how could someone so famous release something so horrible?

Heterosexist and tone-deaf.  Is he homophobic, too?

In 2009 and 2010, he tweeted a lot of "no homo" statements.

In 2011 he complained about a "gay, faggoty man" in a rap battle with another musician. 

In 2012 he takes the time to tweet: "I am not gay.  Enjoy the music."

 In 2017 he posted a rainbow flag to encourage Australians to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, and waved one live at a show at London's O2 arena.

Ok, just heterosexist and tone-deaf.  What about his physique?

Want to see him with his shirt off?  Are you sure?

Trigger warning: it's gross

After the break

Was Cousin Buster Gay?

When I was growing up in Rock Island, we visited my parents' family in Indiana two or three times a year, and I always wanted to spend the night with my Cousin Buster, who lived in the Trailer in the Deep Woods.

He was a year and a half older than me, and more adventurous, dragging me into mishap after mishap in the peat bog, the old barn, the endless corn fields, and the haunted House on the Hill.

At night we crammed into his narrow twin bed and read comic books until our eyes were bleary and he dozed off, and I could watch his bare chest rising and falling, and if I was very careful, reach over and gently caress him. One of my first stirrings of homoerotic desire, perhaps.

The last time I spent the night was at Christmastime in 1973, when I had just turned thirteen. I was very disappointed that he gave me the couch, although I did catch him masturbating later

As a teenager, my visits to Indiana became sporadic.  I was old enough to stay home, I was very busy with school and clubs, and besides, it was different.  I was disgusted by my family's conservative politics and country-western music, and by Cousin Buster's macho interests in hunting, fishing, working on cars, and girls.

No more comic books.  No more adventures.  No more magic and mystery in life.  Just "I revamped the carburator, and put in a new gasket"  and "she had really big tits."

After high school, my visits became even more sporadic, and Cousin Buster was absent altogether.  His mother made excuses for why he couldn't come to family barbecues and picnics.  Fine with me: seeing him again would be awkward and embarrassing, like running into an ex-lover after a bad breakup.

I heard about him through my mother: working at an auto garage, collecting classic cars, going hunting and fishing with his buddies, dating girls but never settling down with anyone.

In August 1996, at the age of 38, Cousin Buster collapsed at work.  He was taken to the emergency room, then admitted to the hospital.  Two days later he was diagnosed with cancer.  He was moved into a hospice. He died a few days later.

I didn't go to the funeral; I had just visited my parents in Indianapolis and my friend Alan in Norfolk, and I didn't have the money for another expensive plane flight.  Besides, it would be awkward and embarrassing.  He was a stranger.

But recently I began wondering: we had so many plans as kids.  We were going to move into a house together, and have a room for comic books and a room for toys, and sleep in the same bed, cuddling in the night.  It sounds very much like two gay kids who haven't figured it out yet.  Could Cousin Buster have been gay or bi?

The full post, with nude photos and the answer to the question, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jan 16, 2019

Palm Springs: Not Just for Heavily-Tanned 70-Year Olds

Palm Spring is a small, ritzy town in the desert 120 miles east of West Hollywood, too far to go for a day.  Gay men over 50 went there for weekend visits.  Around age 70, they moved there permanently. got a deep tan (who cares about melanoma?), drank a lot, and cruised the cabana boys.

I only visited once, in the company of a Geezer whose name I no longer remember.  It was kind of fun being the youngest guy in the room by at least 20 years, and the hookups were plentiful: once you hit 70, you are no longer concerned about such old-fashioned concepts as marital fidelity.

I had the impression that it consisted entirely of elderly gay men, but in fact only about 10% of the population consists of gay couples, and probably another 20% of single elderly gay men.  There are lots of heterosexuals about, and you can see lots of beefcake (other than heavily tanned 70 year olds).

There are about as many gyms as West Hollywood.

There are three high schools (public, fundamentalist, Catholic).  Strangely, the public school has a water polo team.

Water polo in the middle of the desert?

And of course a wrestling team.  Presumably you have to be 18 to get a job as a cabana boy and get cruised by heavily-tanned 70-year old gay men.

Adjacent Palm Desert has four high schools (two public, two fundamentalist Christian), plus the College of the Desert.  The wrestling teams appear to hold matches in hot desert sun.

And the football team holds meetings in...um...a swimming pool.

Well, I'm in favor of anything that gets cute guys' shirts off. 

Especially if they are not too heavily tanned and under 70.

In Bed with Mason Cook

In Speechless, the sitcom about a nonverbal special needs kid and his crazy family, gay people generally do not exist.  I guess you can have only one Special Thing per series.  The only reference to LGBT identities I have seen is, admittedly, a good one:

In a Halloween episode, operator-in-training Ray (Mason Cook) and his sarcastic younger sister Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) change bodies.

Ray in Dylan's body experiences not a hint of macho panic  ("Gross!  I'm a girl!), nor does he spend his time heterosexualizing ("I can see all the boobs I want).  Instead, he enjoys being brainy and popular, and refuses to switch back.

Dylan in Ray's body doesn't enjoy being considered stupid and an outcast, so she seeks advice from their father:  "What do you do when you're trapped in the wrong body?"

Dad, naturally, assumes that "Ray" is coming out as transgender.  "I don't know enough about this to comment," he says, "But your mother and I will always love you no matter..."

Later he tells his wife "I think I'm woke."

The juxtaposition of the old fashioned "trapped in the wrong body" and the contemporary "woke" is jarring, but otherwise the sequence perfectly avoids all of the homophobic and heterosexist jokes one usually finds in "boy turns into a girl" stories.

Naturally, I wanted to know more about Mason Cook, who plays Ray.

18 years old, born in Oklahoma City although he says he's from Arkansas, acting since age 9.    He played the young Jimmy on Raising Hope and Eddie Munster in the Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane,  guested on a lot of Disney and Nickelodeon teencoms, and had recurring roles on Legends and The Goldbergs.  His movie credits include Spy Kids 4, The Lone Ranger, Spy, and some tv-movie tearjerkers. 

Quite a full resume for someone of his age.

Extremely progressive in his politics, anxious to take back the country from the alt-right.

Quick to call out homophobia.  Didn't go to see The Ender's Game because the author of the original novel, Orson Scott Card, hates gay people.

Uploads lots of selfies to his twitter and instagram accounts.

In this picture, he is in bed.  But it doesn't look like  a selfie -- the arms are positioned wrong. Someone else took it.

I wonder who was in bed with Mason Cook?

See also: Speechless, Season 2


Jan 14, 2019

The Top 10 Hunks of "Once Upon a Time," Season 4

By watching an episode almost every day, we're now near the end of Season 4 of Once Upon a Time.  It's been a wild ride, and rather exhausting, with characters from every fairy tale, legend, and popular novel intermingling, switching from evil to good to back again, switching alliances, and having a previously unmentioned back history with every other character.

So far there have only been 2 gay moments:
1. Mulan expresses a romantic interest in Princess Aurora.
2. Michael and John Darling (Peter Pan) masquerade as a gay couple attempting to adopt a child.

But there are lots of characters who display no heterosexual interest and can therefore be read as gay: Ella, Ursula, Smee (Captain Hook's second in command), Dr. Hopper (Jiminy Cricket in human form).

And the beefcake comes fast and furious, like the romance aisle at the bookstore.

The first half of the season brought in all the characters from Disney's Frozen (except that talking snowman), and had them fighting the Snow Queen, Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell, who played one of the Others on Lost).

1. Scott Michael Foster  (top photo) as a comic-relief Kristoff

2. Tyler Jacob Moore as Prince Hans, who takes over the kingdom of Arendale in the absence of its sister-queens.

3.Marcus Rosner as Jurgen, one of Hans' 12 older brothres.

And in a subplot, formerly evil queen Regina starts a Happy Ending with Robin Hood, only to have his previously-dead wife zapped up from the past, only to have her revealed as actually Regina's evil sister in disguise, plotting to destroy their Happy Ending.

4. Charles Mesure as Blackbeard the Pirate, who steals the Jolly Roger from Hook.

5. Will Traval as the Sheriff of Nottingham, who Regina's mother tries to hook her up with as an alternative to Robin Hood.

The second half of the season brings in three Big Bads, each of whom has a goal perfectly aligned with the "daddy and mommy issues" overall theme of the series:  Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty wants to be reunited with her daughter, also a dragon-human hybrid; Cruella De Ville from 101 Dalmatians, who wants to be reconciled with her mother;  Ursula from The Little Mermaid wants the singing voice that her father, Poseidon, stole from her.

6. Sebastian Roche as King Stefan, who Maleficent curses before she gets around to Princess Aurora.

7. Ernie Hudson (show in his buffed days) as a ridonkulous Poseidon, God of the Sea, Ursula's father.

In a subplot, Regina, formerly the Evil Queen, tries to find the Author of their stories, who can manipulate the events in their lives and give her a Happy Ending.  He turns out to be a ne'er do well tv salesman from our world who got roped into writing down the stories by the 1000-year old Sorcerer's Apprentice, who in turn takes orders from a mysterious deep-voiced fireball who might be God.

8.  Eion Bailey as August Booth/Pinocchio, who was turned into a 10-year old boy a couple of seasons back, but is restored to adulthood because he knows where to find the Author.

9. Patrick Fischler as the Author.

10. The scary talking fireball isn't God after all, but Merlin from the Arthurian legends (Elliot Knight), who will apparently be a Big Bad of Season 5.

A whole plotline about the hunky knights of Camelot?  I can hardly wait.

Jan 13, 2019

Miss Peregrine's Home for Heterosexual Children

After he is bullied by some mean kids, 16-year old drugstore employee Jake (Asa Butterfield) received a telephone call from his raging, delusional grandpa, Abe Portman (Terence Stamp).

His deadbeat father, who doesn't have a job, can't get off work, so his boss drives him over. 

It's mid-afternoon when they leave but the middle of the night when they arrive, although in other scenes Abe lives close enough for Jake to bicycle over. 

Have you had enough inconsistencies yet?  Good-- we're just getting started.

They find Grandpa dead, with his eyes gouged out.  But he lives long enough to tell Jake to go to the Home.

Flashback to Grandpa babysitting the 5- and 10-year old Jake, and telling him about his childhood.  He lived in Poland before World War II, where there were "monsters" about, so his parents sent him to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, on an island off the coast of Wales, where he would be safe.

Ok, I get it.  Grandpa was Jewish.  Repeat:  Jewish. It's a perfectly legitimate word.  Why is everyone afraid to say it?

The Peculiar Children all had bizarro powers:
1. Emma was lighter than air.
2. Olive could start fires by touching things.
3. Fiona could make plants grow.
4. Millard was invisible.
5. Hugh (Milo Parker, left) was full of bees.
6. Horace (Hayden Keeler-Stone, below) could project his dreams onto a screen, like a movie (how did he ever discover that one?).

Abe left the home in 1941 to join the army, but he stayed in contact with the Headmistress, Miss Peregrine. 

Back to the present: Jake tells the whole story to his therapist, who suggest that the Peculiar Children were actually mentally ill or physically disabled or something.  Since Miss Peregrine is still alive -- she would be well over 100 -- why not pop over to Wales and check? 

So Jake and his dimwitted loser Dad drop everything and fly to a tiny village in Wales, where Dad pays some local boys to hang out with the mortified teenager.  They take him to the Home, in ruins since it was bombed by the Nazis in 1941.

Why would the Nazis bomb a children's home in a tiny town in Wales?

By the way, Dad (Chris O'Dowd) is writing a book on birds, and the tiny town has some interesting specimens.  We get the idea that the bird book is a pipe dream, something he is writing endlessly but will never finish. 

He's also amazingly neglectful:  "I see that something is troubling you.  If you want to talk about it, call your therapist.  I'm busy."

No wonder Jake later drops out of the family without a moment's hesitation.

Back to the House: somehow Jake takes a step to the right, and the Home is still there, with Miss Peregrine and the children the same age as they were in 1941  After some shenanigans and missteps, they explain: they're in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over.  Every night, just as the bomb falls, Miss Peregrine resets time 24 hours.

And there are similar time loops all over the world, where other Peculiar Children are kept safe from monsters by reliving the same day over and over.

These time loops are presented as marvelous paradises, but can you imagine how horrible it would be to live 70 years with the same 11 people, never growing up, no movies, no tv, nothing to do all day, every day?  They don't even take classes.  They play, eat giant carrots for dinner, watch Hugh's dreams on a movie screen (here's hoping he doesn't have an erotic dream), and then go outside to watch Miss Peregrine reset time as the bombs fall.

And there are monsters, eyeless creepy things who are  trying to regain their humanity by eating the eyes of Peculiar Children.  I think.

It's all completely muddled and nonsensical, a mishmash of Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, H. P. Lovecraft, and nonsense.  Plus two -- count 'em -- two hetero romances.

1. The morose teenage Enoch, who hates Jake on sight, finally gets the gumption (after 70 years) to tell Olive that he is in love with her. They walk off hand in hand.

2. Jake falls for Emma, his grandfather's girlfriend.  After the adventure is over and the eyeless monsters subdued, Grandpa Abe (alive again for some reason) tells him "Go to her."  So the 16-year old drops everything, including school and his parents, and rushes to the ship and kisses her. 

Oh, I forgot.  The Peculiar Children raise the Titanic or something.

I don't know what was more annoying, the incessant heterosexism or the fact that the MOVIE MAKES NO SENSE.

By the way, the top photo is the hunky Bryson Powers, who is listed in the credits as "Surfer Boy."  I don't remember anyone surfing in the movie. 


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