Thursday, November 30, 2006

Today's Sirius OutQ MP3

The audio for my appearance on Sirius OutQ this morning is here. (Running time: 16:27). My time was cut a bit short by Kathie Lee Gifford, but Larry Flick still had plenty of time to beat me up over the Mike Jones Fund. Larry's a longtime friend, so it was all in good fun. I'll be back on next Thursday, 10Am. (And a big shoutout and hug to Robert H. in SF for grabbing the audio!)

Warning: NSFW, as I use some naughty words.

Morning View - Astor Place Cube

In the middle of a traffic island at Astor Place is "The Cube", a 1968 sculpture by Tony Rosenthal. The sculpture (whose real, but less popular title is "Alamo"), can be spun on its axis with just a little effort, something I learned early this summer as I almost wiped out a small group of Japanese goth kids sitting on the other side. The sculpture was once turned into a giant Rubik's Cube in a prank that has become rather legendary at NYU.

Open Thread Thursday

My neighbor, a stout middle-aged nurse, is a problem. She started complaining even as I moved in, angered by my door opening and closing as we carried stuff in. I later learned that whenever she hears a door open, she runs to her peephole to eyeball people in the hallway. I guess I wore her out on moving day. Since then she's complained about every single peep she hears out of my place, day and night, weekend or weekday, from normal conversations held in my living room, to the deafening din created by my tiny laptop speakers. She registers her displeasure by banging vigorously on the walls with what I presume is a shoe. Imagine my startled houseguest when she took issue with the chains clanking on my porta-sling one Saturday afternoon. Good thing he was already lying down. (I've since taped the chains.)

But she's not my worst neighbor ever. That prize goes to one Mr. Victor Obrum, who in 1979 became so enraged by my (admittedly very loud) playing of The B-52's Planet Claire, that he summoned the Orlando Fire Department, falsely claiming that I wasn't answering my door to his knocks and he was "concerned" that I'd overdosed. On drugs! The firetruck and ambulance that arrived drew the attention of the apartment complex management, who later served me an eviction notice claiming "tenant persists in playing loud and annoying sound-effects records." (I still have that notice somewhere, as it's my dream to have Kate and Cindy autograph it.)

Weeks later, I got my revenge on Mr. Obrum by regifting him a giant Christmas cheese wheel, tossing it over onto his lavishly decorated balcony, where it later exploded in the hot Florida sun, and over several days turned his balcony into a giant mossy fetid pool of revolting stank. When he got home from his vacation, my boyfriend and I rolled in helpless silent laughter in my living room, listening to his suprised "What the hell?" Hey, I was already evicted.

Now it's your turn. What's your Neighbor From Hell story? And I want to hear your version of the cheese wheel too, because my current neighbor doesn't have a balcony and I need ideas.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Charlie Brown Xmas


In case you missed it on TV Tuesday night, here's the complete Charlie Brown Christmas special. (HT - Pam's House Blend) Among the many fascinating facts on the Wikipedia entry for the show, is that the curiously choppy editing is due to the removal of multiple product placements for Coca-Cola, the original sponsor of the show, 41 years ago. My favorite Xmas special remains this one, however.

Last Chance To Shoot The Freak

You've got one more summer to enjoy Coney Island, America's most renowned beachfront. At the end of summer 2007, a huge chunk of Brooklyn's (and the country's) history will suffer the exorable march of gentrification when Coney Island's Astroland will be plowed under to make room for a $1.5B complex of "upscale condo towers" and "shopping arcades" along with a new water park and high-tech rollercoaster.

The world-famous Cyclone will survive the ax, as it sits slightly away from Astroland on city-owned property. But say goodbye to the Wonder Wheel, the Parachute Drop and the Astroland Tower. I'm glad I finally visited Coney Island this summer (photo from the visit above), now I've just got to get back and play Shoot The Freak before it's too late.

First Times Square, now Coney Island. The gritty, crummy, New York City of song and legend is almost entirely gone. But cheer up, there's a new Starbucks right across the street!

Sirius OutQ, Thursday 9AM

Tomorrow morning, Thursday at 9am EDT, I'll be on Sirius satellite radio's gay channel, on OutQ In The Morning with Larry Flick. That's 6am for you left-coasters. If anybody out there does an audio capture of my bit, I'll post it here.

Wednesday iPod Commute Playlist

Holiday In The Sun - Sex Pistols
Too Many Creeps - Bush Tetras
Funk Or Walk? - Brides Of Funkenstein
Baby, I'm Burnin' - Dolly Parton
Be Thankful - Curtis Mayfield
Sharkey's Day - Laurie Anderson

I am a freak.

HomoQuotable - Peter Tatchell

"Like every other expression of human culture, homosexual and heterosexual identities are historically transient. They haven’t always existed, and they won't last forever. Indeed, the weakening, blurring and eventual dissolution of the labels queer and straight will be final proof of the demise of homophobia." - Peter Tatchell.

Predicting the end of gay culture as the obviously desirable end-product of assimilation is a golden oldie of the gay right, but it's surprising to hear it from a radical like Tatchell. Would you want to live in a world in which gay people are completely, invisibly, integrated? It's a fantastically interesting question, but a situation that won't plague us in our lifetime.

Moscow Pride Loses Again

Moscow gay pride just lost their appeal to a Russian higher court, which ruled that the city was justified in banning their event. Moscow Pride's lawyer, Dmitri Bartenev, whom I met last month, has vowed to take the case to the European Court Of Human Rights. I wonder what can be done on our end to help? Perhaps making Bartenev a grand marshall of the DC or NY events would add pressure to the Russian government? Any added attention might help, but I'm really stuck on ideas to help this guy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tawana? Anyone?

The worst part about this "NYPD fires 50 shots at unarmed men" case, is that now we must all suffer, all 8 million of us, through yet another marathon of Al Sharpton's race-baiting, spotlight stealing grandstanding, as he forces the mayor to have him at his side during press conferences, lest Sharpton unleash even more of his standard histrionic, counter-productive, riot inciting, buffoonery. The case iself is a mess. It's a giant shit sandwich for the mayor and the police chief and the entire NYPD. Therefore, it's exactly the kind of disaster that a megalomaniac like Sharpton bottom-feeds upon. Gah.

(Shameful Disclosure: During the 2004 election, I took one of those dumb 20-part memetic political quizzes purported to reveal which candidate most closely supported your views. I scored 100% Al Sharpton and my brain immediately began leaking out of my ears in protest.)

The Ecumenical Ho

The Eagle, Sunday, 8:30 Pm

Guy 1: Anyway, he asked me if he was your type and I told him that it would be a big plus if he happened to be an observant Jew. Was that OK? I mean, it's true, right?

Guy 2: Oh, please! If all I'm doing is sucking his dick, he can be in the Taliban for all I care!

HomerQuotable

"Sorry, Mr. Burns. I don't go in for these backdoor shenanigans. Sure I'm flattered, maybe even a little curious. But the answer is no!" - Homer Simpson.

Morning View - Time Tunnel

Some of y'all were asking for a old photo of me recently, so here's a blast from 1983. That's me on the right, with the famous Terrence, on one of our alcohol and man drenched debauched spring breaks in Fort Lauderdale.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Kinsey Sicks Do Gotham

One of my favorite San Francisco experiences, the Kinsey Sicks, "America's Favorite Dragappella Beauty Shop Quartet", begin their weeklong NYC run tonight in their holiday show, Oy Vey In A Manger, at Gotham Comedy Club. The Kinseys are a national gay treasure, I've seen them five times and I'll be rounding up my crew for this year's show. Oy Vey In A Manger runs today through December 3rd.

A Message From Mike Jones

To The Readers Of Joe.My.God:

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your generosity. I cannot tell you how much you have helped me out not only financially but emotionally. Many of your comments gave me the strength to march on. This story is not going to go away. I will keep it alive so that the religious right will always be on their toes. I know that perhaps not all of you agree of the way I handled this story. Please understand I did the best that I could do under the circumstances. I did this all alone with no help or guidance from anyone. I wish the best to all of you. I tried to thank all of you who sent in a letter or donation, if for some reason I missed someone please accept my apology. Also a big thank you to Joe for sticking his neck out for me also. In closing, I will leave you with the words I left to Ted Haggard: BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF.

Thank you, Mike Jones

UPDATE: Denver police move on Mike Jones, whose lawyer is advising him to remain silent. The evangelicals are determined to get their revenge.

Blogspotting

Two great blogs to recommend, one photo, one MP3:

Boroughed - A "metropolitan NYC photo-blog." Gorgeous pics, Stefan has a great eye.

Dilate.Choonz - "Records That Matter." A smart, fun, group blog specializing in dance classics, written by UK party promoters. Hot vintage MP3s for the grabbing.

Instant Disco History #10
Don't Leave Me This Way

Don't Leave Me This Way, written by the legendary Gamble & Huff , the Philly Soul songwriter/producers who, with studio musicians MFSB, almost single-handedly created the American disco sound, is one of the most covered songs in the disco oeuvre. Surprisingly, many of the cover versions were hits in their own rights.

Even more surprising, to me, is that I don't hate most of them. My usual opinion on covers is "once is enough". I can generally dig an interesting take on a classic, but more than one or two covers and I'm totally sick of all of them. But not for Don't Leave Me This Way, a track that has managed to pop up in a good cover version fairly regularly in the 31 years since the original was released. Below are my favorites.

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, featuring Teddy Pendergrass. The original and still my favorite, this version appeared on the group's brilliant 1975 album, Wake Up Everybody.

Don't Leave Me This Way - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Philadelphia International Records, 1975. #5 Disco, #5 UK Singles. (Download 6:07)

Released on an unusual two-artist 12" single, with The Commodores' Sexy Dancer on the flip, Thelma Houston's 1976 cover came close on the heels of the original, yet it was Houston's version that scored the biggest chart success.

Don't Leave Me This Way- Thelma Houston. Motown Records, 1976. #1 US Singles, #1 US Dance, #1 UK Singles. (Download 5:48)

In 1986, former Bronski Beat lead singer Jimmy Somerville's new duo Communards turned in a ripping version, which topped the UK singles chart and was an huge smash in the clubs stateside. Radio success eluded them here at the time, but their cover is a staple of today's mix shows. Communards broke up in '88, but Somerville continues to record and perform. The "other guy", Richard Coles, is now a priest with the Church Of England.

Don't Leave Me This Way - Communards, MCA Records, 1986. #1 UK Singles, #40 US Singles, #1 US Dance. (Download 6:27)

Back in 1985, when she became a six-week Star Search best vocalist winner, Jeanie Tracy was already well known to gay dance aficionados as one of Sylvester's back-up singers. Mixed by Sylvester himself, Tracy's 1986 version of Don't Leave saw no radio success, but her cover was well loved in the gay clubs, where she continues to perform frequently. Jeanie Tracy has had several huge hits on Billboard's dance chart in the last few years, including the recent #1 Keep The Party Jumpin'.

Don't Leave Me This Way - Jeanie Tracy, Megatone Records, 1986. (Download 6:20)

I've left off some of the more forgettable covers, notably Sheena Easton's hi-NRG cover, which did see some club success several years ago. But still, good covers of Don't Leave Me This Way continue to appear, proof of which can be found via a brand new trip-hop cover by UK act Black Grass, which is streaming live on their MySpace page.

Previously on JMG:
Instant Disco History #1: Voggue
Instant Disco History #2: Luther Vandross
Instant Disco History #3: Skatt Bros.
Instant Disco History #4: Karen Finley
Instant Disco History #5: Disco Orchestra
Instant Disco History #6: On Broadway
Instant Disco History #7: New York City
Instant Disco History #8: Disco Lucy
Instant Disco History #9: Morning Music

Nissan Gets Pink

If you're in the market for a new car, gay consumer website GayWheels.com is reporting that Nissan North America will be offering domestic partners benefits to its employees beginning January 1st. The following car makers do not offer such benefits: BMW, Acura, Honda, Mini, Hyundai, Suzuki and Kia. On the site, those companies are listed as "non-gay friendly." I'm rather surprised to see BMW on the list.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Big Voice: God Or Merman?

Above: Steve Schalchlin, me, and Jim Brochu, after last night's rehearsal performance of The Big Voice: God Or Merman, written by and starring Steve and Jim.

The show was fantastic, by turns hilarious and moving, recounting the childhoods of Steve and Jim, the strange meeting that brought them together 21 years ago, and the funny and painful times since then. The Farmboyz, Eddie, Captain Steve and Brian and I had a wonderful time and it was particularly nice meeting some new guys in the audience who read this here website thingy. Those in attendance last night would agree with my recommendation to add this show to your holiday season must-see list. Visit BroadwayOffers.com and enter in code BVBBX72 to receive a special discounted ticket rate of $29.50!

UPDATE: The Farmboyz turn in a great review. Read it. Father Tony, as usual, delivers a pitch-perfect take on the evening. And JMG reader Andrew reports having made out with another audience member after the show, which I'd say is a good review too! Also, here's composer Steve's own take on the evening.

Zune, Deferred

I have created life. Upon the suggestion of a reader, I tried unbreaking my iPod mini by smashing it to the ground, as that's how it broke. Sure enough, it has sprung back to (probably temporary) life. Now if I could only get iTunes to recognize me as the administrator. Thanks to David for the tip!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Big Holiday Meat

Not usually in NYC on this weekend, my plans to see the Macy's Parade yesterday were ruined by rain and high winds. We intended on crossing the park and watching the parade from its starting point on the Upper West Side, but Eddie and I got as far as my corner before we were turned back by our blown-out umbrellas. Retreating to the apartment, we settled for watching the parade on television, blocks away from the actual thing.

I've spent the last few Thanksgivings at my sister's house in Orlando, but at least my spending this holiday in NYC wasn't a total loss, as I got to enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving meal with some great friends at Keen's, a strangely wonderful / wonderfully strange 121-year old place in Herald Square.

Our party of seven including a Roman Catholic priest and a former Franciscan monk, the conversation covered a broad range of topics, including the Easter Vigil, the BVM, amyl nitrate, Billie Burke, 90's NYC sex club Zone DK, Fort Lauderdale real estate, valium, and how we all recognized this year's Macy's Parade Santa Claus as a regular at the Dugout. The food was almost as delicious as the dish.

Tonight! The Big Voice: God Or Merman?

Here's a reminder of tonight's gypsy performance of the award winning musical, The Big Voice: God Or Merman, which is free to JMG readers: 10:30 PM, The Actor's Temple, 339 W.47th Street (btwn 8th & 9th).

Complaint: Resolved



If you remember this post, you might be as pleased as I am to see that Valley National responded to my email. Or maybe you won't be. Maybe I'm the only lunatic that notices these things. Yes, it's a slow blogging day.

Morning View - My Street

Here's my street on Manhattan's Upper East Side, looking west towards Central Park. The tallest building is Trump Palace.

B.A.R. Hacked?

It looks like the website for San Francisco's gay newspaper, the Bay Area Reporter, has been hacked, or at least the homepage has. The rest of the site appears to be there. Anybody know the scoop? Equidrag? Some kind of guerilla drag movement?

UPDATE: The hack is gone. Anybody know what that was all about? Equidrag? Huh?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Screwed By Bush

Open Thread Thanksgiving

Who's your favorite float in the Macy's Parade? Mine is Snoopy. I'm heading across Central Park with Eddie to watch right now. Wave if you see me on TV.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Noted, With Interest

Bob Mould is working on a solo follow-up to 2005's Body Of Song, as well as a live performance DVD. - Billboard.com.

Savage Love asks its readers to support Mike Jones, mentions JMG. - A.V. Club.

An indie record store owner supports it's local high school Gay/Straight Alliance Club, business drops off dramatically due to boycott. - The Gay Guru.

Rosie rips Ripa re Clay Aiken. - 365gay.com.

Barack Obama nixes gay marriage. - Advocate.com.

"Magician" David Blaine does another non-magic trick in a Times Square commercial for Target. - New York Daily News.

Charmin installs 20 free restrooms in Times Square for holiday season. - Gothamist.com.

While Shopping This Weekend, Remember....

I would never ordinarily support shopping at Wal-Mart, but those wack-ack-acky fundies will be out in force this weekend, protesting Wal-Mart's recent membership in the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber Of Commerce. I support sodomy. Do you? (See what the fundies have driven me to? Supporting Wal-Mart! They's evil, evil I tells ya!)

UPDATE: Alert readers have pointed out a new wrinkle, as Wal-Mart is now waffling on its previous position and the fundies have just called off their boycott. I feel sorry for the Wal-Mart bureaucrats, caught between their seeming desire to do the right thing, and the radical nonsense of the fundies, who have mischaracterized Wal-Mart's membership in the NGLCC as a tacit corporate endorsement of gay marriage, dog fucking, and drinking the blood of the unborn.

Special Invite To JMG Readers

The producers and cast of The Big Voice: God Or Merman? invite the readers of JMG to a special free gypsy performance (a dress rehearsal for the Broadway community) this Friday, Nov. 24th, at 10:30 PM, at The Actor's Temple at 339 W.47th Street (btwn 8th & 9th Avenues). The show officially opens November 30th. Reviews here and here.

The Big Voice: God Or Merman? is the winner of the L.A. Theatre Alliance Ovation Award for Best Musical and the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Score. "A true life gay musical romantic comedy written and performed by the two men who lived it, Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin. It's a romantic story about a (former) Catholic from Brooklyn and Baptist from Arkansas who find each other, true love and "God" in the temple of musical theatre." Jim and Steve last were off-Broadway in 1997, in their show The Last Session, which ran for 9 months.

I'll be there on Friday night. Who's in?

The Big Voice: God Or Merman?
10:30 PM, Friday, Nov.24th
The Actor's Temple
339 W.47th Street (btwn 8th & 9th)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gay, Straight, Or Stupid?

Lifetime has announced a new dating show called Gay, Straight, Or Taken? , in which women will go on a series of solo and group outings with three men and try to determine which one is gay, which one is straight and single, and which one is straight and in a relationship. If she picks "right" one, namely the single straight guy, she wins an exotic trip with him. If she picks one of the others, the chosen "wrong" guy wins a trip with his significant other.

Talk about endorsing heteronormative repression.

If I understand the Lifetime concept properly, the task for the gay guy is to completely sublimate any hints of his gayness. He must pass, to win. What an uncharacterically vivid evocation of real life, especially for Lifetime. The producers are likely grooming the gay candidates with tons of pointers: "Don't dress too well. Talk about sports. And for God's sake, don't fawn over her haircut. In fact, don't express a whit of your natural personality or real self. Don't act, look, think, talk or walk GAY. Because that will make you a loser."

It guiltily reminds me of my stint on 20/20, although at least none of the producers at ABC asked us gay guys to pretend we were anything we weren't. There's plenty of gay guys out there who don't bear the slightest outward sign of their queerness, but I don't think game shows should be giving out prizes for it.

Mr. Eagle Does Disco

Brian Kent, a former Mr. NYC Eagle, has released a pretty ripping music video, I'm Not Crazy. Check out the video and his MySpace page. It's nice to see a music video with some hot man-on-man, girl-on-girl dance action. Well done, Brian!




This Is My BOOM Stick!

Last night David and I went to see Evil Dead: The Musical. Three words, people: See. This. Show. Hands downs, Evil Dead is the best thing I've seen on or off-Broadway since I got to NYC. A wacky combination of Rocky Horror, Grease, and splatter-film, I don't know when I've been so thoroughly delighted to see decapitations and limb amputations set to doo-wop and endless bad puns.

We were lucky enough to attend a performance packed with devotees of the Evil Dead film-trilogy, which if you are unfamiliar, are perhaps the best and funniest of the entire chainsaw, cabin-slasher, head-on-a-stick genre. Every time the lead (a Bruce Campbell lookalike) let loose one of the many trademark catch phrases from the movies, the audience howled and cheered. David and I were seated far enough back from the "splatter zone" to avoid the buckets of blood that squirted onto the audience from stab wounds, torn out organs and severed hands. Seriously, the entire first five rows were given yellow raincoats at intermission to protect their clothes from all the squirting blood. And they loved it.

All of the performers were just outstanding and they pulled off some rather grueling dance and fight sequences that left the audience gasping and cheering. David and I left singing the catchy opening number, Cabin In The Woods, resolving to buy the cast album. I'm definitely going to see Evil Dead again and again. (And most of the shows I go to, I would not, not even for free.) And it's just occured to me that I've seen two musicals in the last three days. I may just explode into a rainbow of fairy dust and glitter.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Coming Soon From Regan Books

If I Did Rape Her, The Bitch Screamed Real Loud
- by Kobe Bryant.

Steroids I'd Take, If I Took Them -Vol.1
- by Barry Bonds.

McCauley Caulkin : Totally Not The Sweetest Piece Of Ass
- by Michael Jackson.

SLDN.Org

Last week's Veteran's Day Blowoff was a special fundraiser for Service Members Legal Defense Network, the advocacy and legal advice organization for LGBT members of the armed forces. Mould & Morel's monthly party saw its biggest crowd ever, including a couple of hundred GI's, who had their admissions comped. I took tons of pictures of the crowd, but obviously I can't use any of them here. Instead, here's handsome David, an SLDN staffer, working their booth.

Ruth Brown, Queen Mother Of The Blues

Legendary r&b and blues singer Ruth Brown died this weekend at age 78. A Grammy winner, a Tony winner, and a 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Brown is probably best known to gay audiences as Hairspray's Motormouth Maybelle.

"Tidely papa, I am a whopper!"

I was and remain a huge fan of Ruth Brown. In 1997, I was lucky enough to meet her while I was working promotion on her release R+B = Ruth Brown. Here's a few classic Ruth Brown tracks for your reverent consideration. If Lucky Lips doesn't bring a smile to your Monday face, you're beyond hope. And If I Can't Sell It was a bit of a drag standard back in the day.

Lucky Lips
Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean
If I Can't Sell It (I'll Keep Sittin' On It)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Isn't It Queer?

It was definitely a little late in my career, but I finally popped my Sondheim cherry yesterday. Aaron, the Farmboyz and I attended the matinee performance of A Little Night Music, starring our own Little David. David is a long-time member of the St. Bart's Players, a 79-year old community theatre group that performs at St. Bartholomew's Church on Park Avenue. David was outstanding, of course, and we especially enjoyed Robyn Macey, as the maid. The performances aside, making my entrance with my usual flair, all I could think was how strange it was to be inside a church.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Karl Rove: "That Ho Hottie Totally Cost Us The Election!"

Karl Rove, quoted above, (special JMG translation) continues to deny his responsibility in steering his party right up the pointy bedsheets of racists and dominionists and out of its plurality in Congress. More literally quoted, Darth Voldermort includes Mike Jones among his short list of ills that undid God's Own Party, telling Time Magazine, "The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected. Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass." (via - Columbia Journalism Review. Emphasis motherfucking mine.)

Speaker of Rove's ho hottie, I've had a couple of chats with Mike Jones since yesterday's post went up, and he has asked me to relay his deepest appreciation for our little class project. To the readers of JMG, he simply says, " I really do not know the words to thank you by." While it's often hard to get an accurate read on someone without meeting them face-to-face, so far I find Jones to be a guileless Everyman, almost charmingly naive. I almost wonder if he would have even known who Karl Rove was, had he been asked before all this started. He seems like a totally regular, amiable guy who had this big honking Howard Beale moment, and acted on it, probably without much consideration of how he might be deepening his own woes. A playah, he does not appear to be.

Mike has been diligently responding to everyone that donates, via a personal thank-you email. He tells me that yesterday's donations have allowed him to get caught up on his car payments, his utilitities, and even more importantly, as he put it to me, " I can eat again." Less happy was Mike's news that rumors have reached him warning that his landlord is working to have him evicted, presumably because of the bad press. I'm gonna wager that a few threatening phone calls might have reached that landlord, as well. And the police have come around Mike's place again, doubtlessly charged by the tithes-laden mujahadeen of Jeebus to leave no rimseat unturned until loving Christian vengeance can be thrust into Mike's heart, via the Holy Spirit or a pointed stick, whichever is handy.

But things ARE looking up for Mike Jones, overall (I hope), and that's at least partly due to the generosity of the JMG readers and the readers of all the other bloggers who have given Mike Jones' story the visibility it deserves. It's not over for Mike, not yet, not by a long shot. But the PayPal fund is keeping his head above water for the moment. Hopefully, as word continues to spread about what you folks have started here, donations will come in until Mike's employment situation, personal safety, and legal worries have been improved.

Please visit the blogs linked in the post below and read their varied and interesting takes on the Jones-Haggard affair. And how about that Dan Savage, coming to bat for Mike Jones? Maybe his next column can tell us how to get santorum out of pastoral robes. Bah dum dum!

Kidding aside folks, if you haven't yet made the decision to stuff a few bucks into Mike Jones' virtual g-string, here's how I stated my case on Dan Savage's blog last night: "Hey, I tip my bartender a dollar for moving a bottle of beer two feet across the counter for me. Mike Jones had a hand in moving the entire country for me. And I always tip generously for excellent service."

Yeah, I still like that comparison.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Special Open Thread Thursday

It was at this time last week that the last bell finally rang on the 2006 election, delivering the House, the Senate, and the majority of state governships into the hands of the Democrats. The map is blue again. And so is the sky. My face is sore from smiling and my feets are aching from all this happy dancing.

And playing a possibly vital, perhaps pivotal role in this triumph was not a politician. Not a party strategist. It was a private citizen. It was a gay man. A man who although he was risking his personal livelihood, risking his arrest, and surely risking his physical safety, he came forward and did the right thing at the right time.

That man is Mike Jones.

Regardless of your personal opinions regarding Jones' chosen field of work, you cannot ignore his unprecedented accomplishment of almost completely upending the Republican Party's last minute campaign to divert the nation's attention from the true issue of the election: the Iraq war.

Talking Heads: "The terrorists have just blah blah....gay marriage referendum blah blah....stem cell legislation blah blah...millions of illegal immigrants blah blah. Um, wait a minute. We have a breaking bulletin: Pastor Ted Haggard! Head of evangelical movement! Homosexual! Prostitution! Crystal meth! Close to the President! More! More! More! More!"

Repeat on every channel.

Headlines on every paper.

For five days.

The five days BEFORE the election.

All the billionaire George Soroses in the world could not have more effectively eclipsed the Republicans' usual last minute diversionary tactics. It was pure delicious serendipity. It was kismet. And most of all, it was KARMA, baby.

We'll never know the exact impact that Mike Jones' revelations had on the national election. He came forward specifically because Ted Haggard was hypocritically supporting Colorado's anti-gay referendum. That referendum passed, anyway. And Jones probably didn't fathom that his story would balloon into a national media orgy and image nightmare for the RNC and President Bush. Jones could not have predicted that his little sex & drugs scandal might have spun unknowable numbers of wavering digusted red staters over to blue country.

But it happened. Just barely enough to win by a tiny margin. But it was enough.

[EDIT: Even Karl Rove agrees that Mike Jones had a hand in the Republicans' undoing, telling Time Magazine, "The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected. Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass." (via - Columbia Journalism Review. Emphasis mine.) ]

I've been in contact with Mike over the last week. He tells me that the major gay rights organizations have extended nothing but ten-foot poles. He is unemployed and I imagine that for at least the short future, he is unemployable. He is facing the potential of huge legal bills. He has received death threats from Haggard's followers and other peace-loving Christians.

Gentle readers, you and I owe Mike Jones a debt of gratitude. It's a different country than it was seven days ago, and even if you think that Mike Jones had only the tiniest part in effecting that change, we OWE him. Remember those last two Senate seats were decided by just a few thousand votes each.

So please, show your thanks.

Go to PayPal's Send Money screen and throw some love to our unlikely hero, using his email account: "massageandmuscle@aol.com" If you ran into Mike Jones in a bar, wouldn't you insist on buying his drinks? There's thousands and thousands of you out there in JMG-land, and I'm willing to bet that you too have sore faces from smiling and aching feet from all that happy dancing. Show some appreciation to the man who might have helped put that smile on your face and the blue back on that map.

If you don't have a PayPal account, they are free and take less than 1 minute to set up. You can send cash directly to Mike from your ATM or credit cards. Send him the $10 you would have spent buying him drinks, if you ran into him in a bar. Send him the $20 you would have spent buying his dinner in a restaurant. Send him $50, $100, maybe more, if you think that maybe, just maybe, Mike Jones had a hand in changing the political landscape of our nation, and possibly, just possibly, a war.

And even if you don't buy any of the above, if you don't think what Jones did had ANY effect on the election, you should thank him. Thank him just for the sheer entertainment of the last week. Thank him for exposing the ugly hypocrisy of the evangelical movement. That alone, is worth a ten-spot. At least.

Bonus: As reward for helping Mike Jones, here's a special new vocal recording of that instant classic, Supertelevangelistic Sex-and-Drugs Psychosis, lyrics by M. Spaff Sumision, vocals by Robert Lund. Download that to your iPod and throw some bucks to Mike Jones while you laugh.

SPECIAL NOTE: I don't think I've ever asked this before, but I humbly encourage my fellow bloggers to tell their own readers about the Mike Jones PayPal Fund. It's not often that we get an unlikely hero like Mike Jones, especially one that really could use our help. Send me the URL of your mention and I'll link back to you here.

UPDATE: 43 Bloggers joining in so far:

Gumbo Pie, Manhattan Offender, OutZone TV, Becoming A New Yorker, Let Me Get This Straight, Ethical Slut, Where I'm Going, Bent Blog, Pam's House Blend, Gay Men Rule, Living In The Bonus Round, One Good Move, MediaMutt, Boysbriefs, Angst In Middle Age, TGI Paul, Dan Savage, Alexander Chee, Proceed At Your Own Risk , Towleroad, Evil Ganome, Calling Shenanigans. Habitat 67, The South Beach Bum, Someone In A Tree, Queerty, Mark Kane, This Space For Rent, Valley Of The Vapors, Moncrief Speaks, Mistress Matisse, Big Ass Belle. 3 Dollar Billy, Scott_Evill, Boy Culture.

Two NSFW Bloggers joining in so far: Roids And Rants, Naked Workshops.

UPDATE II: DailyKos is on this, via one of their Diarists. If any of you folks are registered DailyKos commenters, the linked post needs a certain number of "recommendations" from registered commenters in order for it to be moved onto the DailyKos homepage, which would be MAJOR.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Verdict: Extra Guilty

How kind some of you are, sending me alarmed emails, concerned that the day had nearly expired without a post. Y'all are sweet and we are totally BFF.

My morning was spent downtown, due to a "Failure To Respond" juror subpoena. I went seeking bureaucratic absolution, half-fearing I was *this close* from being thrown into the Tombs, as I tried to sort out what seemed like a pretty official "we are SO not kidding" threat to arrest me for "willfully evading my lawful civic duty", or whatever the Head Clerk Of Chastising And Disdainful Looks called it, as she charged the collected group of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells assembled with me.

The thing is, I had responded. I responded to the first notice, and then I responded to the second notice. The confusion may have something to do with my moving one building over on my street, although the mailman has no problem forwarding me my issues of Watchtower. (Thanks, by the way, to the person who did that. Oh, my sides.) However, the juror duty issue appears to be settled now, and I expect to be called any day, hopefully for one of those juicy Law & Order-esque icy-bitch-trophy-wife-bludgeons-zillionaire-husband, sort of trials.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

iPod Sad Face

Friday I dropped my iPod mini on the subway stairs. More accurately, it was knocked out of my hand by a woman who couldn't wait until she reached the top of the stairs to open her umbrella, lest her precious 'do get damp. Subway staircase umbrella etiquette is one of those petty topics I once pledged to never blog about, but still - da bitch slapped my iPod down 20 stairs and now my vintage cool metal mini is no mo.

Still, with today's release of the Zune, I do have the opportunity to shed the one Apple product I was gifted with two years ago and leave the whiteplasticcultofmac behind forevah. Initial reviews of the Zune are decidedly mixed, but as far as I can tell, the downsides are all for product features that I wouldn't have much use for anyway. I shall mull my decision for a few days. If anybody out there already has a Zune, feel free to post your first impressions here.

Real Bad Gives Real Big

Last night the organizers of Real Bad, the Folsom Street Fair closing party that I raved about this year, donated a record-breaking $115,000 to the two beneficiaries of this year's party: PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) and Men's Inner Journey. That's an amazing amount from a single event (100% of ticket revenues) and congratulations are due to Grass Root Gay Rights/West for their dedication and tireless work. (And for one kickass party!) Next year's Real Bad is Sunday, September 30th, 2007. Start planning your outfits.

The Goodbye Song

Today is a sad anniversary.

In 1994, Jimmy went into the hospital again. He'd been in and out of Broward General a dozen or more times over the last couple of years, and it was getting harder for his friends, including me, to maintain the usual matching levels of panic and hope that most people experience when a friend is very sick.

It didn't help that Jimmy was a terrible patient. When he was able, he'd leave the hospital grounds and walk across to the convenience store to buy cigarettes, which he'd smoke in the hospital stairwell, striking a ghostly figure in his gown, under the emergency lighting. He cursed the nurses when they confiscated his smokes, and he cursed the housekeepers for cleaning his room while he was watching tv. He cursed his friends for not visiting enough, and he cursed us for waking him up when we were there.

And of course, we forgave him continuously.

"This isn't Jimmy," we'd say. "Not OUR Jimmy." Then we'd blame the illness, or the medications.

But in fact, Jimmy hadn't been Jimmy since Barney died, in 92. Barney had been a core member of my inner circle, ever since college. And ever since college Barney had barreled through our lives with an everchanging series of 'husbands', all of which had their arrival heralded as Barney's 'One.True.Love.' It became a running joke.

"Who's that with Barney? This week's One.True.Love?" And then we'd snicker.

And one week, in 1990, it was Jimmy. That week stretched into a month, which lasted through the summer, which became a holiday season spent in a whirlwind of parties with Barney and Jimmy, the likes of which none of us had seen. Looking back, I think we were all subconsciously speeding up the timeline of our world.

Go more places. Throw bigger parties. Love each other harder.

The biological clock was real for us, man. And that fucker was counting down fast.

Barney and Jimmy had less than three years together. The first year, Barney bought a dilapidated bungalow in Wilton Manors, which they quickly turned the showplace of the neighborhood, largely thanks to Jimmy's home repair skills and Barney's amazing gift for ornamental landscaping. It wasn't very long before real estate agents were driving unconvinced home shoppers past their house.

Their second year together, Barney landed a huge promotion at his company, and with his Christmas bonus, he bought Jimmy a cherry-red Jeep, stunning us all. Jimmy had wanted a Jeep ever since he was a little boy, and Barney told us that Jimmy had sobbed uncontrollably when he saw it in the driveway on Christmas morning.

In '92, Christmas fell on a Friday, and most of us scattered to spend the weekend with our bio-families, planning to regroup for New Year's Eve. At their home, on Christmas Eve, Barney went to bed with a fever and a terrible cough. In the morning, Jimmy could hardly wake him. Barney was transported by ambulance to Broward General and was put on a respirator. The doctors said it was the fastest moving case of pneumocystis they'd seen since the 80's.

Jimmy made an uncomfortable call to Barney's parents in Pensacola, who made immediate plans to fly to Fort Lauderdale in the morning. The hospital refused Jimmy's request to be at Barney's bedside, forcing him to take a vigil in the vending machine room.

In the morning, Jimmy was buying his breakfast from the candy machine, when a hospital administrator tapped on his shoulder. Barney had died a few hours earlier. He'd choked to death. Barney died alone, with his One.True.Love standing 100 feet away.

The next weekend Barney's parents arrived with a U-Haul and took away all of Barney's possessions, including all the household items that he and Jimmy had owned together, from appliances and linens right down to the artwork off of the walls. Jimmy watched helplessly as they hitched up the red Jeep, which for some reason was in Barney's name, and towed it away.

It was about two years after Barney died that Jimmy had started to have problems himself. It was PML. Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy. Dizziness, disorientation and memory loss quickly took over Jimmy's ordinarily effusive personality.

During Jimmy's final hospital stay, he shared his room with an older man, also with AIDS. I'd seen this man and his lover around the leather bars of Ft Lauderdale over the years, the two of them always in complete leather gear, no matter the occasion. Once, we saw them in the downtown supermarket, shopping in leather chaps. They seemed completely devoted to each other, and somehow we thought they were cute, and spared them our usual withering scorn we probably would have heaped on someone we'd seen shopping in assless chaps.

My roommate and I were headed down the hall to Jimmy's room one evening, and as we approached his door, we could hear singing. A single, low voice gently singing a familiar song. We stopped outside his room and could see that it was the lover of the man in the other bed. He was dressed in his finest leather, and he was standing just inside the curtain that was drawn around his husband's bed, singing him a song we'd heard many times in the clubs.

We'll always be together
However far it seems
Love never ends
We'll always be together
Together in electric dreams


After he finished the song, he walked past us without a glance, his shiny boots clicking loudly down the hall.

We tried not to look around the curtain as we walked over to Jimmy's bed. Jimmy was sitting up and looking out the window. He didn't acknowledge our presence for a minute, which we'd gotten used to. Finally he looked over at us and said, "Did you hear that guy singing? What a waste of time, his husband died hours ago."

"Oh...really," I said.

Jimmy laid back on his bed and stared up at the ceiling.

"I don't know, maybe it wasn't a waste of time, who knows? Do you think Barney can hear us?"

"I don't know, honey."

"I wonder what I would have sung to Barney if I had been...," Jimmy said, his voice trailing off.

Jimmy reached into his shirt pocket for his cigarettes, an instinctual move really, because not only did he not have cigarettes, his dressing gown didn't have a pocket. He made a frustrated noise and looked back out the window, dismissing us with a wave of his hand.

He died the next day.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gay Money Sinks NY Republican

Several readers have tipped me off to an interesting story in today's Daily News regarding the congressional race in New York's Westchester County. Newly elected John Hall (D-NY, left), formerly the frontman for 70's pop rock band Orleans, squeaked by his opponent after Adam Rose, a wealthy gay private citizen, enraged by Republican incumbent Sue Kelly's opposition to gay marriage, donated $500,000 to Hall's campaign.

The relatively unknown Hall beat Kelly with a tiny 2% margin, undoubtably aided by harsh last minute tv and radio attack ads funded by Rose. Adam Rose had previously hosted Sue Kelly at his 47 acre ranch, where she pledged to balance her opposition to gay marriage by supporting the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell", saying that Kiryas Joel, her local strict Orthodox Jewish constituents, prevented her from supporting same-sex unions. That wasn't good enough for Rose, who immediately cut that huge check. Ironically, Kiryas Joel also decided to support John Hall, who supports gay marriage.

Trivia: Hall made news in 2004 when he loudly protested the Bush campaign's appropriation of Orleans' biggest hit, Still The One, as Dubya's entrance music at election rallies. That's Hall in the middle of an album cover that oddly thrilled your narrator during his teen years.

HomoQuotable - Elton John

"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people." - Elton John, speaking to Music Monthly Magazine. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely."

I'd like to imagine no religion too.

Morning View - The Ansonia

At 73rd & Broadway is the Upper West Side's Ansonia, a grandly ornate Parisian-styled apartment building. Built in 1880, the Ansonia is rife with gay history, as its basement was the site of the Continental Baths. It was there, in 1972, that Bette Midler famously made her debut to gay audiences, with Barry Manilow accompanying her on piano.

The Continental Baths was so famous in New York, with an endless stream of celebrity patrons and performers (Melba Moore, Manhattan Transfer, Peter Allen), that Bloomingdales even sold a souvenir bathhouse towel emblazed with the Continental logo. Ironically, it was the lavish shows that did the Continental Baths in, as gay men preferred to actually have sex in bathhouses, rather than watch shows. So, after several years as the most famous gay bathhouse in the world, in 1977 the Continental became even more notorious as Plato's Retreat, a bisexual/swinger's sex club favored by the Studio 54 crowd.

The apartments in the Ansonio have famously thick and soundproof walls, and thus drew the residency of musicians and singers who were able to rehearse in their homes without annoying their neighbors. The Ansonia counted Toscanini, Stravinsky, and opera star Geraldine Ferrar among its tennants. In 1992, the Ansonia was converted into condominiums.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Day At The Mall

Left, I contemplate the weighty issues of the land, standing before the U.S. Supreme Court. My feeble brain seized upon no brilliance, but blue skies, 75 degrees (!), and the company of good friends made a glorious, if surprisingly contemplative and reverent Veteran's Day on the Mall.

The Farmboyz and I visited all the monuments, including the WWII and Korean War sites, which were new to me. Thousands of vets were on hand, as well as active duty soldiers. We caught a huge event at the Vietnam Memorial as well as a protest against the Chinese government at the Capitol. And as I usually do, I forced a quick run through the Air & Space Museum.

Blowoff Tonight

I'm down in DC with Aaron, Eddie and the Farmboyz, gearing up for what looks to be a very happy installment of Blowoff at 9:30 Club. (Check out the as-always hot artwork on the flyer, by Linus Garsys.) I think the entire blue nation might be getting their drink on tonight.

We had a stupidly long drive down from NYC in Farmboy C's Prius, thanks to traffic jams that we drove right into, despite the text message advice of Jeff and George, who were on the road an hour ahead of us. Six hours! Oy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

HomoQuotable - Jones Vs. Haggard

"I don't understand it. It would be like having Murderer's Pride Day." - Ted Tina Haggard, commenting on gay pride parades in 1996. (via Salon.com)

"It probably didn't hurt that I am pretty well endowed." - Mike Jones, when asked what Haggard had liked the most about him. (via RadarOnline.com)

In the Radar interview, Jones says that while plenty of strangers have offered him congratulations for exposing Haggard, he's also been receiving threats and that the number of gay political organizations that have reached out to him is "zero". Read the interview.

I'm wondering if we shouldn't start a PayPal account for everybody's favorite hooker and give Mike Jones a nice little Xmas fund. Ideas?

Mary "Arthur" Poppins

Here's a happy singalong for your festive Friday! Even I know the tune to this one. Now, everybody! Follow the bouncing crack pipe!

SUPERTELEVANGELISTIC SEX-AND-DRUGS PSYCHOSIS

(Lyrics by M. Spaff Sumsion)

I used to be a master of the anti-gay crusade
Until a butch disaster blew my pastor masquerade
But if it's true I'm pounding more than pulpits, don't blame me
It's 'cause I caught my hooker-tweaker-stud's infirmity

It's
Supertelevangelistic sex-and-drugs psychosis
Worse than plague and bird flu crossed with osteoporosis
We were playing doctor and he gave this diagnosis:
Supertelevangelistic sex-and-drugs psychosis

Umm Haggard Bakker Swaggart umm Tammy Faye
Umm Haggard Bakker Swaggart umm Tammy Faye

I found the perfect therapist - the kind that gives massage
I like to drive my Escort and I park in his garage
I swear he only serves me crank when all his coke is gone
And then he helps me straighten out my Peter, James, and John

Blame
Supertelevangelistic sex-and-drugs psychosis
That's my greatest guilty pleasure next to Guns N' Roses
Good thing there's no ban on it in all the books of Moses
Supertelevangelistic sex-and-drugs psychosis

Umm Haggard Bakker Swaggart umm Tammy Faye
Umm Haggard Bakker Swaggart umm Tammy Faye

It seems all pious public figures bugger on the sly
But Jesus loved republicans and sinners; so must I
Say "Holy moley, Mister Foley! That boy's underage!"
But I believe the congressman has turned another page

Oh!
Supertelevangelistic sex-and-drugs psychosis
Next time, better cut me off at handshakes and Mimosas
No more meth or men for me (at least in overdoses)!
Supertelevangelistic sex-and-drugs psychosis!

(Email your appreciation to the author: Spaff@spaff.com)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ethel Mehlman

Last night on Larry King, Bill Maher outed Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman (pictured, singing along to the cast album of Gypsy, in his closet). Yawn. Old news, Bill. But King professed to have never heard about Mehlman.

King: I never heard that. I'm walking around in a fog. I never...Ken Mehlman? I never heard that. But the question is...

Maher: Maybe you don't go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.

Maher said he will out "a couple of big people" on his HBO show on Friday night (tomorrow). Is anybody thinking what I'm thinking?

Open Thread Thursday

It's all whole new ball game. Go ahead. Celebrate.
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld Quits

I don't think my heart can take any more good news, I really don't. Seriously, nobody has to get me anything for xmas this year, I'm good. Maybe for next xmas, too. If somebody would just out Karl Rove today, there would be a small explosion in Manhattan, which would be my head.

UPDATE: As contrast to today's jubilation, consider my post on Election Day 2004.

"Tonight, I'm sucking one THIS big!"

Florida Homo-Elect Charlie Crist, celebrates. The closeted Repub guv-to-be said, "Tonight we all came together as one, just like like that time at the Folsom after-party!" Executive offices are quickly being redecorated in Tallahassee as local paint stores report a run on aubergine, eggshell and seafoam. Crist has already begun cruising for Florida's Director of Homeland Security. "No fats, no fems, no total bottoms!"

Madame Speaker

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), my Congresswoman when I lived in San Francisco, is expected to become our first female Speaker of the House. Two heartbeats away from the presidency, a San Francisco liberal Democrat will be running Congress. We could be looking at an entirely female-led government, cum 2008. And I for one, welcome our new overlord.

Santorums Forced To Sell Daughter

Garsh, Mr. Santorum, I'm so sorry to post this picture of your family at this terrible time, but I was fucking my dog just now and I sorta lost my head. (Photo via Chris Glass.)

Treats

Who's a happy country then?

Yes, you are! Yes, you are!

Biscuits for everybody. Montana, Virginia, your biscuits are pending. Arizona, you get all the biscuits you want.

UPDATE: Montana, Virgina: Your biscuit buffet is now open.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What's That On My Sheets?

It sure ain't Santorum!!!

CBS News just called it. Santorum has lost.

(Begins happy dance.)

Stressed

I think I may just make myself sick from worrying about this damn election. I can't remember when I have stressed and plotzed like this. It sure ain't helping my aching back, that's for sure. And on THAT topic, a little note to the Duane Reade drugstore at 72nd & 1st: Why, oh WHY do you stock the back pain relief medications on the BOTTOM shelf, 2 inches off the floor? Do you think that's funny? I mean, I guess it IS funny, kinda...but not when it's MY back. Machts nichts anyhow, since the doc came through for me. And since I can't drink tonight, maybe I'll just treat myself to one muscle relaxer per Senate seat won by the Dems. By the end, I'll be like Molly Ringwald's sister at her wedding in Sixteen Candles. I hope.

UPDATE: Citing widespread voter suppression incidents today, MoveOn.org is offering $250,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those involved in an "organized effort of partisan voter suppression or electronic voting fraud." Here we go.

Joel Seah



While in Maine last month, I met artist Joel Seah, part of whose work Yankee Queer (above) recasts the images and messages sent to him by men on Manhunt.net. Seah's man-moths, complete with lurid species names directly taken from their emails to him (Partyan Dplay, Whiteon Lyplease), are fascinating. Joel is an Assistant Professor of Art, Printmaking and Drawing at the University of Southern Maine. Joel says about Maine, "In a place where the iconoclastic straight men from the gay erotic canon are naturally positioned - the woodsman, the hunter, the outdoorsman, the sailor, the fisherman - language is occupied to portray both fantasies and realities." I found Joel's work beautiful and haunting. I expect we'll be hearing more from Joel Seah.

Marlin Beach Pool Bar

After seeing last week's post about the late Marlin Beach Hotel, a reader sent me this scan of one of the hotel's postcards, circa 1960's, before the place turned gay. (Embiggen makey pretty.) You can see the windows into the pool that I mentioned. The text on the back of the postcard reads: "The Marlin Beach Hotel - This is an actual picture of two of the underwater ballerinas, as seen through the windows of the famous Jules Verne Room, one of Florida's unique attractions." In 1990, a fire in the bar caused the pool windows to melt, ruining the disco, which never reopened. I forgot to mention in the previous post that the Marlin closed t-dance every day with Connie Francis' Where The Boys Are. Thanks for the email, Richard!

Polling Station

This morning I voted for the third year in a row at the Jewish senior center on the end of my block. As usual, the place was a confusing madhouse of directional signs and vigorously waving old ladies. They get quite anxious if you slow the process or walk aimlessly once you get your booth assignment.

"This way! This way! There are people behind you!"

I love the old ladies that work my polling station. Half of them are timid, flustered little birds who seem ready to collapse from nervousness. The other half are loud-mouthed, brazen, old biddies with whiskey-soaked voices who probably used to be drill sargents. Those are the ones I love the most. One of them saw me hesitate at the entrance.

"Sweetheart, don't block da doe-ah," she barked. She was wearing a rhinestone American flag pin and about two feet of shellacked platinum hair. She took my elbow and guided/pulled me to the proper booth. Sixty seconds later I was almost out the door when she spotted another hestitant voter, wavering, trying to figure out where to turn.

"Sweetheart, don't block da doe-ah!"

There aren't many old men among the volunteers at the senior center where I vote. I suppose the old ladies have outlived most of them. Be nice to your polling station volunteers today. And thank them.