Monday, December 31, 2007

Post Of The Year Winner:
Big Ass Belle's Lynette!

Post of the Week
Beloved-by-all JMG commenter and blogstress Lynette, author of Big Ass Belle, is the co-winner for 2007's Post Of The Year for her heartwrenching AIDS memorial, Piano Music.

Every week this year, a UK-based cabal of writerly bloggers selected a Post Of The Week, which Lynette won earlier this year with the above-linked entry. A short-list of the weekly winners was compiled for the year-end decision, with Lynette tying Little Red Boat's entry, Hard Life In The Low Rises.

CONGRATULATIONS LYNETTE!

Totally undeserved self-congratulation: The Post Of The Week folks first found Lynette's story when I linked to it. W00t!

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Connecticut Anglicans: We Rather Pray In A Bank Than Allow Gays

A Connecticut Anglican church congregation has decided abandon their historic building, valued at over $7M, rather than continue to be associated with recent liberal stances of their denomination, including the recent ordination of Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop. The building is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, not the local congregation.
It was the last Sunday service at Christ Church. Unable to go "further in a church that continued in a false gospel," the entire congregation, including the rector and church leaders, will sever ties with the national Episcopal Church and reform under a new name: New Hope Anglican Church.

One of the "Connecticut six," the half-dozen churches in the state diocese that disagree with national leadership on departure of scripture, including the appointment of a gay bishop, the congregation will trade its historic building on the town green for a free community room at the Thomaston Savings Bank around the corner.
The church was founded in 1764 as part of the Church of England. In case you haven't been following along, the Anglican Church is tearing itself apart nationwide over the gay issue, with many congregations opting to leave.

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said last month that he was "saddened and ashamed" of his church's "obsession" with homosexuality. Tutu: "Our world is facing problems -- poverty, HIV and AIDS -- a devastating pandemic, and conflict. God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another. In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality. If God as they say is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God."

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Where Will You Be Tonight?

Over one million people will jam Times Square tonight to watch the ball drop. One million people with NO access to a bathroom. The police are recommending that attendees not have anything to drink for at least two hours before arriving. I've never done Times Square for NYE, but I've been tempted to attend. Seems a shame to live in NYC and never have gone. But even when I lived four blocks away in Hell's Kitchen, I watched it on tv.

Where will you be tonight?

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HomoQuotable - Sheila Kuehl

"When society tells a young person ---- in subtle or, often, not so subtle, ways ---- that they are less valuable, perhaps because of the color of their skin, their religious practices or the gender of the person they want to take to the prom, the whole society suffers.

"When we mandate that every young person must go to school, we must also provide the safety and dignity of an education free from harassment, discrimination and violence. That is why, over the last several years, I have authored several laws that strengthen civil rights protections for students and improve school safety. This year, as a simple cleanup measure, I authored SB 777 to include civil rights protections that have already been required for the last eight years by law to be more clearly spelled out in California's Education Code.

"Seeing an opportunity to confuse their supporters by pretending the bill added protections to the code, the opposition has invented a number of inflammatory and false claims about the operation of SB 777. A bit of clarity, not to say truth-telling, is in order." - California State Senator Sheila Kuehl, in the North County Times, a San Diego area newspaper. Kuehl is the author of SB 777, the bill which provides protections for LGBT students. Kuehl follows the above quote with a dissection of the Christianist lies being spread about SB 777.

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Smak Dem Christians Down


JMG reader Fritz tipped me off to gay singer Jay Spears' new clip, Smak Dem Christians Down, which is amusing rip on the false notion that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Note: the opening of the clip features a jab at Ted Haggard that might not be safe-for-work. You may remember Spears' great 2005 track, I Like Mike, which always puts a smile on my face.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Record" Mart

After about a year of "Coming Soon!" signs, the Record Mart in the Times Square subway station has finally opened, probably the first new record store in Manhattan in at least five years. But don't let the entrance fool you. Those 20 or so records (all Spanish-language, btw) on the wall seem to be pretty much all they offer - the rest of the small store is DVDs and video games. Feh. "Record" Mart. Oh, and the Virgin Megastore in Union Square will be closing in February 2009. By then we'll probably be hearing about the end of the Virgin in Times Square, the final music chain outpost in Gotham.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Lyrics By Steinberg & Kelly

Christmas Eve, Orlando, my sister's house...

Six Year-old Niece: Uncle Joe, let's play singalong!

Uncle Joe: Oh, you have a karaoke machine! Neat!

The machine, with its large colorful buttons, is clearly made for a child. My niece turns it on and grabs the microphone. The lyrics of the first song begin to scroll up the small screen.

I made it through the wilderness
Somehow I made it through
Didn't know how lost I was
Until I found you...

Uncle Joe (panicked): Oh, I think I hear your mom calling us. Let's go back downstairs!

I know she doesn't understand the lyrics. But still. At least I know that for a six year-old, she has excellent reading skills.
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And Party Boys Rejoice

From Wired.com:
In what sounds like a dream for millions of tired coffee drinkers, Darpa-funded scientists might have found a drug that will eliminate sleepiness.

A nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests. The discovery's first application will probably be in treatment of the severe sleep disorder narcolepsy.

The treatment is "a totally new route for increasing arousal, and the new study shows it to be relatively benign," said Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a co-author of the paper. "It reduces sleepiness without causing edginess."

Orexin A is a promising candidate to become a "sleep replacement" drug. For decades, stimulants have been used to combat sleepiness, but they can be addictive and often have side effects, including raising blood pressure or causing mood swings. The military, for example, administers amphetamines to pilots flying long distances, and has funded research into new drugs like the stimulant modafinil (.pdf) and orexin A in an effort to help troops stay awake with the fewest side effects.

The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired.
Ten years ago I would have rejoiced at this news. These days it's TylenolPM city.

(Via - Slog.)

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Putting Their Foot Down

Found this in the window of the White Horse Tavern in the West Village yesterday. I guess they're fed up.

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Special Saintly NYE Swag

Courtesy of the Saint-At-Large, I've got two tickets to give away for their New Year's Eve party and go-go extravamanza in Times Square.
Join The Saint At Large, gaydom's premier dance party for over 28 years, as it delivers the euphoric rush of the beginnings of a new year in Times Square right into the heart of a gay dance party. Switching it up from last year's memorable concert debut of Jennifer Hudson at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the first party of the New Year begins moments AFTER THE BALL has dropped-- in the 11 million dollar, sparkling new Nokia Theatre.

AFTER THE BALL, the raunchy quality of Times Square will be recreated with a GAIETY NIGHTCLUB-like atmosphere with the naughty spectacle of Les Go-Go Bleu de Montreal and 42nd Street side show antics. The unchallenged leader of upbeat dance music, DJ Manny Lehman, takes the crowd on a journey of excitement and optimism for a new year. Add to this mix, the Enchanted elements of the opening stylings of NYC's favorite couple- CANDIS CAYNE & DJ MARCO and lighting brilliance from Saint At Large's GUY SMITH.
The party begins at 12:30AM, after the NYPD has swept out the expected two million revelers who will crowd Times Square to see the ball drop. Tickets are $70 through 12/31, $80 at the door (if available.) Buy tickets in person at Nasty Pig, Screaming Mimi's, Wear Me Out, or online at SaintAtLarge.com.

Enter to win the tickets by commenting on this post. Only comment once and please remember to leave your email address. As I have written many times, the Saint goes all-out with their parties. And from what I've read, the Nokia has fantastic sound. (The venue was formerly the Loews Astor Plaza, one of the largest single-screen theatres in NYC.) Go here for more on the party from Steve Weinstein.

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The Ghost Of Racism Past
(And Probably, Present)

A Ron Paul golden oldie is making the rounds on progressive blogs again. From his 1992 newsletter, the Ron Paul Survival Report:
Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.
(Via - Daily Kos.)

Poor Ron Paul. This story resurfaces every few years even though he's claimed that the above was written by a ghostwriter who was later fired. Four years later. Oh, and Paul has always refused to identify said ghostwriter. Must be why the story still has legs, huh?
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Castro To Get '70s Makeover
For Harvey Milk Biopic

This is totally worth a trip to San Francisco. From Matthew S. Bajko in the Bay Area Reporter:
The Castro is set to receive a makeover next month – Hollywood style – as the creative team behind the biopic on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to office in the U.S., recasts the gay neighborhood back to its 1970s glory days.

Longtime denizens are likely to find some old haunts return to Castro Street, like the fabled Toad Hall bar – now part of Walgreens – and Milk's old camera shop – now the home of gift store Given – as the filmmakers recreate the streetscape from the days when Milk reigned over the area as the "mayor" of Castro Street.

"We want to dress this neighborhood the best we can like the 1970s," said Jonathan Shedd, the film's location manager. "We hope to create a feel that works."

Cars from the era will be parked on the streets. Awnings and street signs of businesses postdating that time will be changed. Even the Castro Theatre will be swept up by the time warp.

The movie-house's marquee, damaged by a Muni bus that ran into it while PG&E crews were doing work out front this fall, will be repaired next month and repainted to match the color palette it sported four decades ago. In addition to the settlement they receive from Muni – expected to be finalized in early January – the theater owners plan to spend upwards of $12,000 on the project.

It is all part of the realism the producing team behind the film is striving for as they bring Milk's life to the big screen. The movie, so far titled Milk, will star Bay Area resident Sean Penn as Milk, who forever changed the city and electrified its nascent gay rights movement when he hit town in 1972.

The film, directed by openly gay, Oscar-nominated Gus Van Sant, will depict Milk's rise from political agitator to successful candidate in the 1977 supervisor race and end with his assassination inside his City Hall office a year later.
(The photo above is of 1970's Castro landmark bar The Elephant Walk. I found the pic on Uncle Donald's Castro Street, which hosts an amazing archive of photos and advertising from San Francisco's gay bars and parades. The Elephant Walk was trashed by SF police the day after the White Night riots.)

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Broadway Friday

Michael Kidd, the legendary and award-winning choreographer of Broadway shows such as Guys and Dolls and Finian's Rainbow and movie classics such as The Band Wagon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers died on Sunday at age 92.

Kidd won five Tony Awards over his career and a 1997 Honorary Oscar "in recognition of his services to the art of dance in the art of the screen." Kidd earned his Tonys for: Finian’s Rainbow in 1947, Guys and Dolls in 1951, Can-Can in 1954, “Li’l Abner in 1957, and Destry Rides Again in 1960.

- The soundtrack from Young Frankenstein has been released. The disc includes Alone, a solo number sung by Megan Mullally which has been cut from the show.

- Broadway's grosses have rebounded post-strike. Last week the Great White Way reported more than $21M in ticket sales. That's $2M over the same period last year and does not include the gross for Young Frankenstein (estimated at $1.55M for the week) because that show's producers didn't report their sales.

- The National Museum of Patriotism, "a nonprofit research center for exploring the development of patriotism through educational displays and exhibits", has awarded one of its 2007 Patriotism Awards to Sardi's Restaurant. OK, then.

- Not everyone is raving about Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. James Brady in Forbes: " Do we really need yet another dysfunctional family? Don't we have O'Neill for that?" Yes, but who would go to see a play about a happy, well-balanced family - should such a creature exist?

- Tickets are now on sale for In The Heights, a musical about life in Manhattan's Dominican nabe, Washington Heights. Performances begin at the Richard Rogers Theatre on Feb. 14. During its Off Broadway run earlier this year, the show earned the 2007 Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Musical and was nominated for the 2007 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Billboard Year-end Charts

From Billboard's year-end charts:

Top Singles

1 IRREPLACEABLE Beyonce
2 UMBRELLA Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
3 THE SWEET ESCAPE Gwen Stefani Featuring Akon
4 BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY Fergie
5 BUY U A DRANK T-Pain Featuring Yung Joc
6 BEFORE HE CHEATS Carrie Underwood
7 HEY THERE DELILAH Plain White T's
8 I WANNA LOVE YOU Akon Featuring Snoop Dogg
9 SAY IT RIGHT Nelly Furtado
10 GLAMOROUS Fergie Featuring Ludacris


Top Albums

1 DAUGHTRY Daughtry
2 KONVICTED Akon G
3 THE DUTCHESS Fergie
4 HANNAH MONTANA Soundtrack
5 SOME HEARTS Carrie Underwood
6 ALL THE RIGHT REASONS Nickelback
7 FUTURESEX/LOVESOUNDS Justin Timberlake
8 HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 Soundtrack
9 NOW 23 Various Artists
10 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT Linkin Park

Club Play

1 I NEED SOMEONE Ralph Falcon
2 ROCK THIS PARTY (EVERYBODY DANCE NOW) Bob Sinclar
3 SAY IT RIGHT Nelly Furtado
4 RUNAWAY Jamiroquai
5 MINIMAL Pet Shop Boys
6 DON'T STOP THE MUSIC Rihanna
7 YOU'RE THE ONE Ono
8 CHANGE Kimberley Locke
9 DISCOTECH Young Love
10 MAKE IT LAST Dave Aude Featuring Jessica Sutta

Well, at least I know a couple of these.
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Darwin Award Nominee?

I wonder if the guy who was killed by a tiger at the SF Zoo is eligible for this year's Darwin Awards? He was 17, so minors probably don't qualify.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- The father of a teen who was killed by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo questioned the facility's safety on Thursday, as police reportedly considered whether one of the victims taunted the deadly jungle cat. Sources close to the investigation told the San Francisco Chronicle that police are probing whether one of the Siberian tiger's three victims climbed over a fence Christmas Day and then dangled a leg or other body part over the moat.

Police said Carlos Sousa, 17, of San Jose was killed just outside the tiger's enclosure. The two others, who were injured, were about 300 yards away by a cafe. A shoe and blood were found between the fence and the moat, the Chronicle reported, and a footprint has been found on a metal fence.

The investigation is looking into the possibility that the tiger escaped by latching on to a leg or other body part, the paper reported. "Somebody created a situation that really agitated [the tiger] and and gave her some method to break her out," zoo director Manuel Mollinedo told the Chronicle. "A couple of feet dangling over the edge could possibly have done it."

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Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack today.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed Thursday in a suicide attack as she drove away from a campaign rally just minutes after addressing thousands of supporters, aides said.

The attacker shortly after Bhutto addressed the rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. There were conflicting accounts over the sequence of events.

Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser, said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up.

Party supporter Chaudry Mohammed Nazir said that two gunshots rang out when Bhutto's vehicle pulled into the main street and then there was a big blast next to her car.

But Javed Iqbal Cheema, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told state-run Pakistan Television that Bhutto died when a suicide bomber struck her vehicle. At least 20 others were killed in the blast, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery. "At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

The death of the charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 election into chaos and created fears of mass protests and an eruption of violence across the volatile South Asian nation.
Horrible, horrible news. Pakistan was already teetering on civil war and now their major cities are in complete chaos. (They've got nukes, you know.) Bush has been pouring billions into Pakistan to prop up Musharraf's regime. This news will surely have an effect on our presidential race, not to mention the stock market.
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Open Thread Thursday

2008. Predict away, Nostradamus. Bonus points for rhyming quatrains.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Departure

No new blogging, today is a travel day for me. But something I just witnessed reminded me of this story, one of the first I wrote for JMG.

Departure

JFK airport. The JetBlue terminal.

I'm sitting in the crowded pre-boarding area, waiting for my plane to Florida to arrive.

Seated next to me are a man and his young son. The father is in his mid-30's and has a long black ponytail which is tied back with a large turquoise clasp. I judge him to be Native American, then notice he is wearing a Cleveland Indians sweatshirt. Irony? Perhaps.

His son is about ten years old, wearing a hooded sweatshirt that says "Brooklyn". On his feet are Air Jordans. I can hear abrasive rap music blasting from beneath his headphones. His dad nudges him.

"So, what do you think?"

The boy shakes his head, removes his headphones and barks out a sullen "What?"

"What do you think?" his dad repeats.

The boy looks at him defiantly. "What do I think about WHAT?"

His father indicates the door to the jetway and says, "I mean, all this. What do you think about it?'"

His son looks away. After a moment he says, "I don't know. Does it matter what I think?"

"Of course it matters to me what you think."

The boy remains silent. His father stands up to go throw away his coffee cup and I notice his son's burning eyes follow him. When his father turns around, the boy quickly shifts his gaze to the arriving plane, now pulling up to the gate.

His father sits back next to me and leans forward with his elbows on his knees. He stares at the carpet and says, "You know....you can email me."

"I know", says the boy.

"And I'll email you right back, I promise," his dad says, nodding his head to emphasize that promise.

"OK," the boy says indifferently.

They sit there in silence until the gate agents begin announcing the rows. We all stand up and I get in line behind them. Only when we reach the door do I realize that only the boy is flying.

"OK, this is it," says the father.

"Yeah."

The father opens his arms and hugs the boy, who endures the embrace with his arms held stiffly at his side.

"Bye son," the man says. "You'll be fine. You'll like it there. I'll call you and your mom tonight."

"OK, bye." The boy breaks away and marches resolutely down the ramp.

I follow him onto the plane. He has the window seat in my row and I watch him clumsily latch his seatbelt. He ignores the pre-flight safety instruction, instead focusing his attention out the window as we are pushed back from the gate.

As the plane starts to rumble down the runway, I see the boy's lower lip begin to tremble. We lift off and climb sharply, then make a steep bank. The lights of Manhattan swing up into the boy's window. He turns his back to me and puts his hands on both sides of the window.

To anybody else on that plane, they are seeing the back of a curious little boy, lost in the wonder and fascination of New York City thousands of feet below him.

The cabin lights blink off and the boy's face is suddenly reflected back. His eyes are closed and his mouth is open in a silent wail as his world drops away beneath the plane.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Evening View - Fra-Gee-Lay!

Found this in my sister's neighbor's front window. Now that's Xmas, to me. If you don't recognize the lamp, go here.

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Morning View - Chimney Snoop

I busted my 4 year-old nephew peeping up the chimney to try to figure out how Santa had gotten into the house. It's clear and about 75 degrees in Orlando. And yet I miss New York. Go figure.

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Santa Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of Santa, today's Swag Tuesday prize is the 2007 Big Box Of Mystery Leftovers. The box contains books, DVDs, CDs and various other swag-type items. Most of these items are extra copies from recent Swag Tuesday giveaways. Others were released in weeks that I already had something scheduled and therefore never made the blog. There are about 20 items overall.

Enter to win the 2007 Big Box Of Mystery Leftovers by commenting on this post. Only comment once and please remember to leave your email address. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Xmas Adam

Some call today Christmas Eve Eve, but others call it Christmas Adam. Because Adam came before Eve. Poor Eve, she probably had to finish by herself. Adam was never so selfish with Steve.
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Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians

This story makes its 4th annual appearance on JMG....

Grand Central Terminal functions as the mechanical heart of midtown New York City, pumping out several thousand workers and tourists on one beat, then sucking in several thousand more on the next.

The rhythms of the terminal are fascinating.

Beat. Four thousand, inbound from New Haven.

Beat. Three thousand, outbound to Westchester.

Worlds collide on the main floor.

The tourists gawk up at the gloriously ornate ceiling and uselessly flash their digital cameras at objects hundreds of feet away.

The commuters rush up to the track displays to determine their track number, then dart across the terminal floor, dodging the milling tourists, heads down, like running backs heading for the end zone.

It's mesmerizing. It's majestic.

And sometimes, like tonight, it's magical.

I'm walking through the massive main room just as the holiday laser show begins on the ceiling. To the tune of Take The "A" Train, the laser depicts two trains arriving from different directions. The trains stop opposite each other, and a reindeer leaps out of each one and crosses over to the opposite train.

The laser traces the outline of one of the zodiac constellations painted on the ceiling, and the Cancer crab leaps to life and becomes the Crab Conductor, waddling down the center aisle of the car, punching the reindeers' ticket stubs with his claws.

I move over to the edge of the room, near the entrance for Track 25, so I can watch the reaction to the show. As usual, I'm more entertained by watching the audience than by watching the actual show.

At the ticket windows, standing in front of signs that say "Harlem Line" or "Hudson Line", commuters tilt their heads painfully back to view the show directly overhead. The tourists cluster in delighted circles, holding each others' elbows for balance as they nearly bend over backwards.

Some people move to the edges of the great hall, as I have, to remove themselves from the traffic flow while they watch. Among those that come to join me on the perimeter of the room is a lesbian couple. They stand quite close to me, the taller woman behind the shorter one, with her arms wrapped around her, supporting her a bit, as they both lean back on the marble wall.

The shorter woman is stout, with a large firm chest. Her hair is short and brushed back into what might have once been called a ducktail. She has an ornate tattoo on her left forearm, and she has a leather wallet protruding from the rear pocket of her jeans, attached to her leather belt by a short silver chain. She has more than a passing resemblence to Tony Danza, her big boobs nothwithstanding, so naturally (in my head) I name her Toni.

Toni's girlfriend is blond, her short ponytail dangles just above her collar. She is wearing long Christmas tree earrings which nearly brush her shoulders. Her lanky, sinewy limbs are bound in a tight running outfit, over which she is wearing a school athletic jacket. I imagine that she might be a coach at Yale or Harvard, perhaps a girls lacrosse coach, or maybe track and field.

Coach is squeezing Toni tightly and they bounce together to the music a bit. Coach looks over at me and catches me smiling. She nudges Toni, who looks over at me too, and we all grin goofily at each other for a moment.

Overhead, a new show begins. The familiar opening notes of Tchaikovsky's Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies ring out as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building sprout arms, bow to each other, and begin waltzing across the ceiling.

I look around the room and it's as if time was frozen for just a second, every person stopped in mid-stride, eyes cast upward, mouths open in silent joy.

Toni pushes away from Coach, turns around and delivers her a bow as deep and as elegant as the one just depicted overheard.

"Madame, may I please have this dance?" she asks Coach.

Coach looks around a bit awkwardly, "You are TOO much!" And she giggles.

"Madame, I must insist!" says Toni, as she takes Coach's hands into hers.

Coach relents and she and Toni begin a beautful, slow waltz, moving in half-time to the music. As you might have guessed already, Toni leads.

As they dance, their eyes remain locked on each other. Toni is giving Coach an intense look, her lips tightly curled into a satisfied smile. Coach is grinning from ear to ear, and again she giggles.

All around Coach and Toni, the tourists, the businessmen, the students, the conductors, even the guy with a broom, they're all watching. Some are expressionless, but more are smiling, and some of them...some of them are frantically fussing with their cameras, eager to capture this magical New York Moment.

Serendipity prevails, the tune ends, and Toni dips Coach backwards with a dramatic upsweep of her free arm as a firestorm of camera flashes erupt around them. Toni pulls Coach up and close to her, and they hug. There's another camera flash, and the crowd begins to move along.

Then.

"Hey, look!"

The laser show is being concluded with giant sprigs of mistletoe appearing over our heads. This time, it's Coach who bends down and plants a long tender kiss on Toni's non-lipsticked mouth. There's another flash of cameras from the delighted audience.

Toni takes Coach's hand, and they begin to move off towards the exit.

"Oh, don't stop!" says a disappointed woman, still rummaging for her camera.

Toni looks back over her shoulder and says, "I never will."

The mechanical heart of New York City, Grand Central Terminal, beats again, but this time I hear a different rhythm. This time I hear a double beat.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Evening View - Sssssteam Heat

Those weird middle-of-the-street venting pipes are blowing steam all over the Upper East Side. What are they doing, exactly?

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Today On OutQ: Angels & Gassies

Today Michelangelo Signorile broadcasts his annual "Angels & Gassies" show on Sirius OutQ.
Michelangelo Signorile salutes the year’s heroes – and skewers the year’s villains – with his annual “Angels and Gassies” awards. For newbies: The “Gassies” are the hate-filled, dangerous gasbags, monsters, liars, cheats, war-mongers on the right. The “Angels” are those who fight them. It’s four hours of hilarious clips, cutting commentary, and nominations from listeners!
Mike asked me to be a "special presenter" this year, so tune in (2PM EST, 11AM PST) to hear my nomination. Mine is a "Gassie". Who do you think I picked? Get a free 3-day trial of Sirius here.
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HomoQuotable - James Stabile

"If I could, I would take back everything I’ve said. I’ve hurt a lot of people in the gay community, and I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. I’m not here to get any attention. I’m here to say to people that I want to help prevent other young gay guys from experiencing what I experienced, because I don’t want them to be hurt, and I was hurt really badly." - James Stabile, who made national news when he claimed to instantly become "ex-gay" when a pastor touched him at a "purity seige" outside a Dallas gay bar. Stabile was later revealed to be bipolar and off his medication.

(Via - Dallas Voice.)

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Broadway Friday

-Neil Patrick Harris, Gary Beach, Tituss Burgess, David Burtka, Charles Busch, Nancy Dussault, Malcolm Gets, Cheyenne Jackson, and Tastiskank (Kate Reinders and Sarah Litzsinger) will be among the performers of Broadway Backwards 3, to be held at the American Airlines Theatre on Monday, February 4. The concert will feature a diverse cast of male singers performing songs traditionally performed by female singers, and vice versa, with all proceeds benefiting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Community Center in New York City.

- The revival of Gypsy starring Patti Lupone will begin previews at the St. James March 3, 2008, with an official opening March 27.

-The five-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone will close Dec. 30 at the Marquis Theatre following 674 performances and 32 previews. I saw it twice with the full original cast. Still the best thing I've seen on Broadway. BTW, Drowsy is the most successful Canadian show in Broadway history.

-Hairspray: The Musical received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble Cast. Unlike with the Golden Globes, no noms for Sweeney Todd.

- Dr. Seuss led last week's grosses at $1.5M, Wicked close behind at $1.4M.

-The League of American Theatres and Producers has changed their name to the Broadway League. According to the League, the change would more accurately represent a membership that includes not only producers and theater owners but general managers and other theater professionals.

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Failed Ex-Gay Gunman: I Will Rain Columbine Down On The Christian World

More evidence about Matthew Murray has been released to the press:
DENVER -- Among the items taken from a search of gunman Matthew Murray's home was a picture of former New Life pastor Ted Haggard, according to police documents released Wednesday. Murray lived in the Englewood home in with his father, mother and brother. The family was very devout and the parents had home-schooled both children, neighbors said.

According to the police documents, officers confiscated a Beretta, ammunition, a pamphlet entitled "Fall of America," literature on Youth With A Mission, a Bible, a journal, a pistol, a homicide investigation manual, prescription pills, several hard drives, gun cases and boxes of ammunition.

In several online writings, posted weeks before the two deadly church shootings, Murray expressed his rage at organized religion and at Youth With A Mission, which had kicked him out of a missionary program for unspecified "health reasons."

Murray wrote that he would rain Columbine down on the Christian world. He came "armed to the teeth," as he promised, bringing an assault rifle, two handguns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition when he walked into New Life Church.

He also wrote that Haggard was his mother's favorite pastor and in a post about four hours before the shootings at New Life, he wrote that Christianity to him was "hate, abuse (sexual, physical, psychological, and emotional), hypocrisy, and lies."
You have to wonder how many other Matthew Murrays are being brewed right now.
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Instant Disco History #11: Disco Xmas

Reposted from last year....

No holiday has been more discofied than Xmas. Disco Jingle Bells. Disco Rudolph. Disco Shitty Gift Card From A Store I'd Never Shop In. Here's a few of my favorites.

Weather Girls - Dear Santa, Bring Me A Man This Christmas (Columbia Records, 1986) - I'd listen to Martha and (the sadly late) Izora sing the phone book, but actually this song is a pretty great take on their classic, It's Raining Men. Place him under my tree, Mr. C! (Download 6:26)

Holiday Express - Disco Santa (Casablanca Records 1983). The Village People classics YMCA and Macho Man get yuled up. N-O-E-L. How do you make an "N"? (Download 3:34)

Roller Disco Orchestra - Winter Wonderland (Hallmark Records 1986). Cheesy vocals for days, but this track has some nice orchestration, sharp horns and lovely strings too. (Download 3:29)

Charo - Mamacita, Donde Esta Santa Claus? (Salsoul Records 1978). It's not Xmas without Charo. Just isn't. When I lived in sweltering South Florida, I used to hear this ten times a day on Power 96. (Download 5:39)

Boney M - Feliz Navidad (Hansa Records 1986). I love Boney M. They are the only act to have two songs in England's all-time Top Ten singles. And one of those songs was a Xmas record. And this ain't it. Get out the crackers, here comes the cheese. (Download 2:22)

Salsoul Orchestra - Sleigh Ride (Salsoul Records 1976). A lovely loping little confection. (Download 3:04)

Salsoul Orchestra - Christmas Medley (Salsoul Records 1976). From 31 years ago, this is the original Xmas disco track and it is still considered by many to be the best. I've heard it two dozen times on the radio in the last two weeks. (Download 12:12)

NON-DISCO-RELATED 2007 UPDATE: A survey published last week listed the top five most-hated Xmas songs ever. Joining Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer and the Singing Dogs on the hate list is Barbra Streisand's gruesome take on Jingle Bells. Oy! That song once caused me to threaten to leap out of a car in the middle of I-95. Seriously, I think it causes cancer. Proceed accordingly. (Download 1:58)
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top Ten Quotes Of 2007

Via the Yale Book Of Quotations, here's the top ten quotes from 2007.

10. "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history." - Jimmy Carter.

9. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." - Sen. Joe Biden, speaking about Barack Obama.

8. "(I have) a wide stance when going to the bathroom." - Sen. Larry Craig.

7. "I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating." Sen. Harry Reid, speaking about Dick Cheney.

6. "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11." - Sen. Joe Biden, speaking about Rudy Giuliani.

5. "I don't recall." - Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

4. "That's some nappy-headed hos there." Don Imus.

3. "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country." - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

2. "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us." - Miss South Carolina.

1. "Don't tase me, bro!" - UF student Andrew Meyer.

You'll note that Joe Biden made the list twice.
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Larry Flynt on Giuliani And "Bitchy" Gays

"Let me ask you something. As mayor of New York, would you live in an apartment with three gay guys? I’m not gay. I don’t hate gays. But I don’t want to live in an apartment full of them. They’ll bitch and cry and all. That doesn’t bother Giuliani. It doesn’t bother Giuliani to put a dress on to do Saturday Night Live. I don’t trust him. I don’t think he’s electable." - Larry Flynt, telling Vanity Fair his opinion on gays and Rudy Giuliani.

I normally rather admire Flynt, but I could have done without this.

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Cynthia McKinney Announces Bid


Former Democratic Rep Cynthia McKinney announces her Green Party candidacy. I think there's about six or seven Greens running at the moment. One of the last things McKinney did before losing her seat was to introduce a bill calling for Bush to be impeached.

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Daily Grumble

Are all smoke detectors designed so that their batteries fail at 3am? After the beeping invaded my dreams (something about a truck backing up and I had to move my car, which I don't have one of), I had to get up and drag a ladder out so I could rip the thing down. Bother.

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One-Handed Activism

In case you need to plan ahead, Saturday is the second annual Global Orgasm Day. The purpose, according to the site: "To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through the largest possible instantaneous surge of human biological, mental, and spiritual energy."
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Scalia On Gay Orgies

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a lecture in Scotland earlier this month and brought up a 2001 ruling by the European Court Of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The court had judged in favor of a Yorkshire man arrested in 1996 when police found him in possession of videotapes showing him taking part in an all-male orgy. According to the law at the time of his arrest, homosexual acts were legal only if no more than two people were present. Backed by UK gay rights group Stonewall, the man sued for breach of privacy and was awarded almost $50,000. Laws against private gay sex acts were subsequently overturned in the UK.

Scalia, who wrote the dissenting opinion on Lawrence v. Texas (which struck down sodomy laws in the U.S.) said of the Strasbourg ruling, "The court did not specify how many people had to be participating in the sexual conduct before it would cease to qualify as part of each one's 'private life'. Presumably it is some number between five and the number required to fill the Coliseum."

OK, Scalia is a tool, but that is funny.

(Via - Michael Petrelis.)

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Ron Paul Takes Money From Hate Group

Republican candidate Ron Paul has accepted a $500 campaign donation from Don Black, founder and head of Stormfront, a white supremacist organization. A spokesman for Paul said, "If someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinking he can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money. Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom."

Black told the Palm Beach Post, "We know that he's not a white nationalist. He says he isn't and we believe him, but on the issues, there's only one choice."

So, do you take money from idiots because, as Ron Paul's spokesman said, "That's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does." I wonder what Paul's rah-rah man thinks about this.

UPDATE: Here's Sullivan's take: "There are plenty of reasons to be perturbed when loons and hate-mongers support a candidacy. But this game of guilt-by-association can be played endlessly. I tend to place greater emphasis on loons and hate-mongers that candidates actively seek out. Pat Robertson is a loon and an anti-Semite and a vicious homophobe who blamed Americans for 9/11. Giuliani didn't receive some unsolicited money from him; he actually stood on a platform and embraced him. Why one standard for Paul and another for Giuliani? If Obama embraced Louis Farrakhan as a supporter, you think Goldfarb and Kirchick would be silent? They'd have a cow because it's unthinkable. But naked bigotry is more than thinkable in today's GOP: it's integral to it. What's the difference between Farrakhan and Robertson? I can't see any."

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Open Thread Thursday

What city will you be in on Christmas? Traveling or staying home?
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Coulter Wants To See Hillary's Dead Body

Ann Coulter was on Fox News on Tuesday to say that she originally thought that Obama's recent surge in the polls was faked because the MSM was "bored" and trying to make the Democratic campaign into a "horse race." Coulter admitted to being surprised that Obama's rise in the polls was actual and that Clinton may be in trouble. Then:

Coulter: "But I won't believe it until we see the dead body."

Host John Gibson: "You don't mean that literally."

Coulter laughed and said nothing.

Gibson tried to cover for Coulter: "All right, you DON'T mean that literally. Can she lose the first two or three primaries and still emerge as the candidate?"

Coulter: "It's possible. I would love to see this national pestilence finished off once and for all. The primary would be great. If not, I'll take the general election."

RELATED: Coulter has also wished for the death of John Edwards.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

War On California's SB777 Continues

The Christofascists are really losing their shit over California's SB777, the law intended to stop discrimination against LGBT youth in public schools. Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law earlier this year.

From WingNutDaily:

HOMOSEXODUS!
Revealed: 'Gay' plans to target 2-year-olds
5th-grade students could be handed 'Coping With Sexual Orientation'
Children as young as two years of age are in the bull's-eye of coming changes in California's school curriculum, which "gay rights" advocates now admit will alter the very foundation of information presented to public school classrooms.

A list of school resources, sponsored by a homosexual-advocacy group called Safe Schools Coalition, suggests that for those who are only two years old, there's "Felicia's Favorite Story," which tells how she was "adopted by her two mothers."

The list also promotes a book called "Are You a Girl or a Boy?" by Karleen Jiminez, a resource for children ages 4-8 when advocating homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and other alternative lifestyle choices. It's described as "A sweet book about a gender-different kid."

Other resources being promoted in light of California's adoption of SB 777 as state law include books authored by officials for Planned Parenthood and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. One book, called "Tackling Gay Issues in School," is for kindergarten through grade 12, and offers a "rationale (for the inclusion of les/bi/gay/trans issues in school)." It features recommended "extracurricular" activities for classes.

The promotion of such materials has coincided with the recent admission by Equality California, a homosexual advocacy group that worked to have SB 777 passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that the bill really does edit all school curricula in California.

For months while California lawmakers discussed Senate Bill 777, opponents worried about its usefulness in censoring public school curricula to include a pro-homosexual bias. Supporters, however, steadfastly maintained that it only clarified anti-discrimination laws already on the books. They still hold that stance, with statements this week from both Schwarzenegger's office and Equality California.

Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the governor, insisted it is a "technical bill" intended to clarify anti-discriminations laws. "It simply takes anti-discrimination language used in other areas of [state law] such as employment and puts that in the education code," she said. And Ali Bay of Equality California told WND the new law "doesn't require that any specific curriculum be included in California's classrooms."

Technically it is correct that the law doesn't "require inclusion." But opponents say it does now ban anything that can be "perceived" as being discriminatory, up to and including references to "mom" and "dad" or "husband" and "wife."

"The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured," said Meredith Turney, the legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute.

"Parents want the assurance that when their children go to school they will learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic – not social indoctrination regarding alternative sexual lifestyles. Now that SB 777 is law, schools will in fact become indoctrination centers for sexual experimentation," she said.

The new law demands, "No teacher shall give instruction nor shall any school district sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias because of a characteristic [including perceived gender.]"

And Karen England, a spokeswoman for Capital Resource who is a primary organizer behind the Save Our Kids plan to put the issue before voters and ask them to reject it, noted that even Equality California's own materials are assuring constituents the law will ban curriculum that fails to meet the pro-homosexual standard cited.

"All along, Capitol Resource Family Impact has maintained that the true agenda behind SB 777 is to infuse school curriculum with pro-homosexual, and other controversial lifestyles, propaganda. The proponents of the bill countered that this was not true and the law would merely 'streamline' anti-discrimination laws for schools. Based on our 20-year experience with the homosexual lobby, we know that a common tactic is to maintain innocence and then utilize vague language to push a radical agenda. We expected the same of SB 777 and we are already witnessing the same pattern," England said.

"Last week the sponsor of SB 777, homosexual rights group Equality California, released their 2007 legislative scorecard. The scorecard featured a description of the each of the bills the group sponsored or considered homosexual-friendly," she said.

"For the first time, the group admitted that SB 777 'prohibits curriculum that is discriminatorily biased against LGBT people.' Understand that the entire time the group was pushing this bill through the legislature, they vehemently denied that it would affect curriculum. After the bill had passed, they now reveal their true agenda," England said.
And the lovely Freepers roll in:

-"I offer a personal anecdote. I have a homosexual nephew. His tactic on his own nephew, aged three, started by educating him in his front yard to the fact that "snails have no sex." Then he bought the boy a toy vacuum cleaner. Eh, homos start recruiting early. Even in their own families."

-"Homosexuals target children because it's highly unlikely that 12 year old boys have AIDS."

-"I have pointed out to 8th graders that most fashion is designed by gay guys who like teenage boys. That's why the models are built like....teenage boys, and why the fashion styles don't work on the average girl. The "EEEW" factor goes up considerably when they realize I'm right..."

Of course, the easy answer is that if you want to teach your kids to hate, take them the fuck out of public school.

UPDATE: Rex Wockner points us to his October story on SB 777, in which he interviewed Geoff Kors, the head of Equality California:
"This bill takes existing law and puts it in every part of the Education Code," Kors said. "It simply makes it really clear for administrators and puts the categories directly into the code rather than referring you [elsewhere]. Nothing is being changed legally."

Kors said anti-gay activists "are always looking for the issue they can use to rile up their base and, with the same-sex marriage bill vetoed, this is what they're going after."

"They are absolutely making up things that this law ... does not do," he said. "We have had seven years to see what these protections did or did not do.

"The Legislature did not pass, and the Republican governor did not sign, a bill that prohibits saying there are mothers and fathers," Kors said. "And even if the right wing repeals this law, all these exact protections still exist, because they're in a law from 2000."

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Orangina And A Brick Wall

How to fake an attack:
December 19, 2007 -- This Ivy Leaguer did a bang-up job giving himself a beating.

Francisco Nava, the Princeton junior who said he was attacked because of his conservative political leanings, only to confess that the wounds were self-inflicted, has revealed exactly how he gave himself a concussion, swollen jaw and cuts all over his face.

"He said he dragged his face across a brick wall to give himself the abrasions," Sherif Girgis, a Princeton senior who helped care for Nava after the attack, said yesterday. "He hit himself with an Orangina bottle several times," which caused the concussion.

He hit himself with the bottle so hard it broke, Girgis said. Nava also bashed his head against the brick wall.

"It's remarkable to me that someone can cause those kinds of face injuries to himself," said Nava's professor and confidant, Robert P. George. "One's natural instinct is to protect one's face above all. It seems one would have to have pretty grave psychological issues to do that.

"He seemed to be a kid who had it all together. It's so sad to see a Princeton career destroyed like this."

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Vladmir Putin: Person Of The Year 2007

Russia president Vladimir Putin has been named Time Magazine's Person Of The Year.
Putin is not a boy scout. He is not a democrat in any way that the West would define it. He is not a paragon of free speech. He stands, above all, for stability—stability before freedom, stability before choice, stability in a country that has hardly seen it for a hundred years. Whether he becomes more like the man for whom his grandfather prepared blinis—who himself was twice TIME's Person of the Year—or like Peter the Great, the historical figure he most admires; whether he proves to be a reformer or an autocrat who takes Russia back to an era of repression—this we will know only over the next decade. At significant cost to the principles and ideas that free nations prize, he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power. For that reason, Vladimir Putin is TIME's 2007 Person of the Year.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Go to Towleroad where Andy Towle has compiled a comprehensive look at what gays have had to deal with under Putin over the last year. As Andy put it in an email, it ain't pretty.
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Another Book We'll Never See

Britney Spears' mother's book on parenting (fo' realz) has been pulled "indefinitely" now that Britney's kid sis has been knocked-up at age 16.

Insert your new title in the comments.
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Where Will Law & Order
Find New Stories?

Manhattan is headed for the lowest annual number of murders since records first began being kept in 1937. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced that this year's 65 murders (so far) represent a 40% drop from last year alone.

When Morgenthau first became DA in 1975, there were 648 murders in Manhattan. With more time on their hands, Manhattan's 500 prosecutors have been able to focus more on white collar crime, aiming in particular at Wall Street's stock and banking swindlers.

The irony here is that that gentrification, one of the things that appears to be making Manhattan so much safer, is at the top of most people's list of complaints about the city, as they wring their hands bemoaning the loss of their gritty, dangerous town. (I'm one of those people, sometimes.) Manhattan can now be seen as little more than an 11 mile long floating luxury mall, but we've also got about 600 fewer chalk outlines every year. But even though the so-called "abortion benefit" to the crime rate has been debunked by some, I'm still buying that theory as part of the mix.

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DC Pride To Be Run By Religious Group?

In what's being described as a first for the country, a non-profit group affliated with the Presbyterian Church is one of three organizations competing to take over Washington DC's Capital Pride, which puts on that city's gay pride events every year. The Whitman-Walker Clinic is the current controllig organization of Capital Pride.

From Lou Chibbaro in the Washington Blade:
The Southwest Renaissance Development Corporation, which Westminster Presbyterian Church created to spur economic development in low-income neighborhoods, joined the D.C. GLBT Community Center and a newly formed entity called Capital Pride Alliance in submitting competing proposals on Dec. 11 to Whitman-Walker to obtain the rights to produce the annual Pride events.

Whitman-Walker announced on Oct. 11 that it was “exploring options” to withdraw from its role as the producing agent and primary financial underwriter of Capital Pride. Chief executive officer Don Blanchon said the change would allow the Clinic to focus more on its “core mission” of providing health care services to the GLBT community and people with HIV and AIDS.

ReGina Newkirk, Whitman-Walker’s director of development and community relations, said this week that the Clinic will consider the proposals submitted by the three groups to determine whether a “successful transition” for Capital Pride was possible in the near future.

She said the Clinic is committed to retaining its role as chief fiscal agent and producer of Capital Pride for 2008 and 2009 if Clinic officials determine that a replacement group was not yet capable of producing and operating the Capital Pride events before that time.

Asked if the Clinic might relinquish control of Capital Pride before 2009, Newkirk said, “It could if it would allow for a successful transition, and again, the key word being successful.”

In 1983, Westminster became the first Presbyterian Church in the Washington area to openly minister to the gay and lesbian community, and the gay-friendly church boasts of being the founder of Food & Friends, D.C.’s highly acclaimed AIDS service organization.

If Whitman-Walker selects Southwest Renaissance Development Corporation to take over Capital Pride, it would mark the first known time that a religious-oriented entity would serve as the head of a Gay Pride festival and parade in a major U.S. city.

Opinions? Can even a very gay-friendly church properly administer a major Pride event like Washington DC's? I'm encouraged by their successful operation of Food & Friends, but sometimes people don't realize the staggering logistics of an event that draws hundreds of thousands of people.
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Bifid, Propitiary, Coriaceous

Thanks to my vocabulary-lovin' mother, last night I spent a couple of hours wasting time at FreeRice.com, where for every three correct word definitions you move up one level. Each wrong answer knocks you back a level. Supposedly there's a 50th level and no one can get past 48. I could only manage a brief stay at 45, but it was a glorious, shiny moment. Oh, and the site is some kind of fundraiser for world hunger.

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Morning View - Chinatown Sweets

The Tai Pan Bakery in Chinatown is an overwhelming madhouse - people are shouting in Cantonese and you have to be alert or you'll miss your turn. But the pastries are great, if suspiciously inexpensive. Aaron and I got foamy mini chocolate layer cakes - 90 cents each.

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Magic Johnson: Obama's A Rookie

I've been thinking that the Clinton campaign was going to answer the Obama-Oprah combo with an endorsement from a major black celeb of their own. Yesterday the Clintons toured with HIV+ former NBA star Magic Johnson, who compared Obama to a rookie basketball player, saying, "You don't want somebody in there that is young or a rookie at politics. We want somebody in there that knows what they're doing because this job is so huge." Now I guess Obama has to come back with Michael Jordan.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seven Year Old Beaten For Pink Nail Polish

Disgusting story in Orlando:
A man was arrested on child abuse charges after he beat a 7-year-old boy with a belt because the child put pink fingernail polish on his own nails, according to Orange County sheriff's deputies.

Aundre Jermaine Hill, 25, was arrested on Saturday at about 5:19 p.m. after sheriff's deputies responded to a home in reference to a call saying that a boy was discovered with bruises on his body.

Orange County sheriff's deputies said the boy's mother was bathing him when she noticed the markings on the boy. Investigators said it appeared the boy was beaten with a belt and hands on his buttocks, arms, temple and legs. Hill was located, arrested and transported to the Orange County Jail. He later bonded out of jail.
It's not clear if this man is the child's father, but at least the mother did the right thing and called the cops immediately.

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WWJE?


Who would Jesus endorse? Hilarious.

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The City And County Of San Fran-Nanny

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to place a municipal tax on soda because it causes obesity and strains the public health system.
Newsom is asking his staff to draft a law that would tax large grocery stores for stocking Coke, Pepsi and other drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. A spokesman for the mayor says the details are still be worked out including the size of the fee. City officials say there's a direct link between sweet drinks and obesity, which puts a strain on the public health system. Any soda pop tax still must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
What, no tax on Cheetos?
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Huckabee On Larry King: Takes On AIDS Comment, DADT, Creationism


Huckabee's comment on AIDS and DADT start about four minutes into the clip. Huckabee agreed to meet Ryan White's mother last week, but so far she hasn't heard from him. In the next segment of the show, Huckabee shillster Chuck Norris chimes in.

(Via - HRC Back Story.)

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Princeton Student Faked Own Attack

Last week Francisco Nava, a conservative and anti-gay Princeton student, told police and campus officials that he'd been roughed up by "men in black ski masks" and received hate mail after writing a column in the student newspaper criticizing the school for giving out free condoms. Other members of Princeton's Anscombe Society, a conservative student organization, who have spoken out against premarital sex and same-sex marriage, said they received similar threats.

Turns out, Nava's injuries were self-inflicted and he was sending the threatening emails himself.
Mount Laurel, New Jersey) A Princeton University student who argued that his conservative views were not accepted on the campus confessed to fabricating an assault and sending threatening e-mail messages to himself and some friends who shared his views, authorities say.

Princeton Township police said that Francisco Nava was not immediately charged with any crime, but that the investigation was continuing.

Nava claimed to have been assaulted Friday by two men off campus, police said. But he later confessed that scrapes and scratches on his face were self-inflicted, and that the threats were his work, too, said Detective Sgt. Ernie Silagyi.

A spokeswoman for the Ivy League university said punishment, which could range from a warning to expulsion, was pending Monday.

"The university takes all matters related to the safety of its community members very seriously," said spokeswoman Lauren Robinson-Brown. "It's particularly concerning that a student would fabricate such matters."
Nava was turned in by his own friends after they noted inconsistencies in his stories. Another likely closet case, beating himself up about it. Literally.
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PhoboQuotable - Matt Barber

"The military is no place for such radical San Francisco-style social experimentation, especially during a time of war. It's been the Department of Defense's long-standing position that to allow open homosexual behavior and other immoral conduct harms unit cohesion and troop morale.

I know this to be true from personal experience. I served 12 years in the military. During basic training, one of my fellow recruits was sent home for soliciting sex from other male recruits. The incident was an enormous distraction from our task at hand, which was to learn how to be good soldiers. Instead, recruits were violated, complaints were filed, and our command was forced to conduct a thorough investigation. It was an incredible waste of time and resources, and it definitely harmed troop morale and unit cohesion.

If the bleeding-heart lefties over at CBS News and the SLDN really want to do something to support our troops and help the military, they should abandon their attempts to radically alter and undermine the armed forces, pipe down, put a cork in it and let our brave fighting men and women win this war on terror." - Matt Barber, spokeshater for the Concerned Women For America, responding to Sunday's 60 Minutes piece on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

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Susan Leal Struck By Car

Susan Leal, the head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the highest ranked lesbian in that city's government, was struck by a car and thrown 30 feet yesterday. Miraculously, Leal remained conscious and appears to have no broken bones or internal injuries.

Leal has been making headlines lately as rumors abound that Mayor Gavin Newsom has asked her to resign. Both Leal and Newsom (who appointed Leal in 2004) have been dodging questions about her possible resignation. Newsom was elected to a second term as mayor last month and critics are complaining about the dwindling number of gays in his administration.

Immediately upon the news of Leal's injury, the comments board at SFGate lit up with (mostly) jokey accusations that Newsom had a hand in the incident:

- "Wow, didn't know that Newsom would play this rough. Hope she is up and walking soon."
- "Just what did Gavin know and when did he know it?"
- "Newsom tried taking a page out of Ted Kennedy's book. But he got it wrong, he should of been behind the wheel."

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Time Magazine:
Top Ten Awkward Moments Of 2007

10. Facebook profile reveals Giuliani's daughter supports Obama.

9. Miss South Carolina talks about geography.

8. Sally Field gets bleeped during the Emmys.

7. Rosie calls out Elizabeth on The View.

6. Britney Spears sleep-clomps the MTV Awards.

5. Sen. David Vitter's name found on DC Madam's list.

4. David Hasselhoff's daughter films him hammered.

3. Alec Baldwin rips into his daughter via voicemail.

2. Paris Hilton cries in court.

1. Columbia president insults Iran's president from the stage.

As much as I try to ignore celebrity gossip, I must confess that I was aware of all of these stories.

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Morning View - Buddha

Aaron and I stopped in at a Canal Street temple to say hey to Buddha. I'd never been in a Buddhist temple before, it very much reminded me of my visit to the Stonecutters temple in Chelsea, only this one had a gift shop.

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Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of the author, this week's Swag Tuesday item is Fruit Cocktail, the new novel by Arthur Wooten. Fruit Cocktail is published by Alyson Books. Wooten has written for theater, film, and television. Fruit Cocktail is the sequel to On Picking Fruit, also published by Alyson. His short story, Stroke Of Luck is in their collection Best Gay Love Stories: New York City.
Hop on board for this delicious, freshly squeezed sequel to the acclaimed On Picking Fruit, where Curtis Jenkins once again braves the fickle dating scene in his continuing search for the perfect man. After writing the successful "101 Ways to Collide Into Your Gay Soul Mate", Curtis finds on his book tour that men - whether in Provincetown, Los Angeles, or somewhere in between - rarely wear their hearts on their biceps . . . unless it's a tattoo. Funny, unpredictable, and strangely moving, Fruit Cocktail is, like its feckless hero, ripe for the picking.
Enter to win Fruit Cocktail by commenting on this post. Only comment once and please remember to leave your email address. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

New Jersey Kills Death Sentence

New Jersey, which has not executed a prisoner since 1963, officially abolished the death sentence today. The first state to ban capital punishment since the Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976, New Jersey joins 13 others states and the District of Columbia with their ban. Earlier this year a New Jersey study concluded that the cost of defending death penalty appeals made it unworthy of continuing, particularly as a largely empty, if symbolic, gesture.

Among the first to have their death sentences commuted in New Jersey is Jesse Timmendequas, whose 1994 murder and rape of 7 year-old Megan Kanka inspired "Megan's Law" legislation nationwide, which requires authorities to notify neighborhoods when a child predator has moved into the neighborhood.

Texas continues to far outstrip the rest of the nation with their number of executions. Over 400 have been put to death there since 1976, with the rest of the entire country executing about 700. No one was been executed in New York since 1963 and in 2004 the New York Court of Appeals ruled the death penalty unconstitutional.

Like most of you (I presume), I oppose the death penalty for a number of reasons - the way it is unfairly applied to non-whites, the questions regarding cases that pre-date DNA evidence, and so on. But also like most of you, I have emotional, not always entirely rational responses to particularly revolting crimes like that of Timmendequas. There have been a few times here in New York when I have wished a defendant could be tried in Texas. Sometimes I'm a bad progressive.

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Manhattan Monday

- Manhattan's famed 2nd Avenue Deli has reopened - on Third Avenue. The restaurant family's patriach, Abe Lebewohl, was murdered in 1996 in a robbery that remains unsolved. His nephew Jeremy is the co-owner of the new location. I can personally vouch for their spectacular corned beef and pastrami sandwich.

- Cabbies are continuing to thwart the new credit card system which sent them on strike earlier this year. Three out of five cab rides I had this weekend had "out of order" signs on their machines.

- Central Park's annual bird count showed the highest number of species and individual birds ever. "The largest flocks spotted were white-throated sparrows, European starling, and herring gull. Large numbers of mallards ducks, house sparrows, and Canada goose were also spotted."

- Whole Foods ignited a craze this summer with their $15 "designer" reusable shopping bags. But why stop there? Stella McCartney is selling a grocery bag for $465 and Hermes has one for $960. This story is a few months old, but I mention it now because yesterday I saw a woman shopping the Food Emporium with her Chanel grocery bag stuffed with cabbage. Crazy.

- Bond No.9, a company "devoted to bottling the smells inspired by New York City," today released their new fragrance, "Andy Warhol's Silver Factory". Who wants to smell like a dead artist? The living ones can be bad enough. (I kid, I kid.)

- The feds raided Al Sharpton's Harlem office on Thursday, wielding subpeonas in their investigation of whether he lied on his 2004 application requesting federal matching funds for his presidential campaign. Sharpton says he's innocent of lying. Tawana!
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