Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bury the hatchet…then the body.

From Six Word Stories.

Don't Leave Me Hanging

"Bewildered and irritated"? That's my natural state.

From Peggy.

Right About Now

"Like a carnival without the rides or the corn dogs."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today's Top Story

Out West

I came out in February 1987, during my sophomore year in college. A month later, on spring break, I took my first trip to San Francisco, staying with my uncle and aunt, who'd just bought a house in Noe Valley.

On the next-to-last day, I wandered into the charming local bookshop and picked up copies of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series, which I'd fallen in love with long before.

"You know, he lives in the neighborhood," the clerk remarked. "Sometimes he comes in on the weekend to sign books."

"I'm going to L.A. tomorrow," I said.

"You should give him a call," she suggested. "He's in the phone book."

How bold, I thought. Could I really do that? Should I? After looking up the listing, I agonized for a while before working up the nerve. Maupin answered, and when I explained the situation he invited me over.

The visit was the most ordinary and extraordinary thing in the world. He went far beyond signing my books, spending an hour or two answering questions about writing and talking about all kinds of things. Then we took his dog for a walk and I bid him a grateful farewell.

It was a profound experience, especially at that point in my life. I was reminded of it when I read Maupin's touching foreword to the new book Milk.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Baby Love

The vinyl dolls don’t just look exactly like real babies — they also feel real. Their bodies are stuffed and weighted to have the same heft and a similar feel to a live baby. Mohair is normally used for the hair and is rooted in the head strand by strand, a process that can take 30 hours. A magnet may be placed inside the mouth to hold a magnetic pacifier.

To add realism, some purchasers opt for a heartbeat and a device that makes the chest rise and fall to simulate breathing.
I am utterly speechless.


Brace Yourself

From Kay in New York:
I seem to have Carpal Tunnel and am wearing a brace. The brand name is cock up which led to some amusing adventures at the medical supply store with one staffer yelling to the other "hey, have you got a small cock up for the right hand?" Followed by "price check for cock up!" I thought I was being punked or on candid camera.
The Peel 50, the world's smallest road-legal car, sits parked
between two vans in London's Piccadilly Circus

From Riley.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mickey Mouth

"There are a whole bunch of guys who are movie stars today
who couldn't hold Eric Roberts's goddamn jockstrap."
The sparkling wit and wisdom of Mickey Rourke.

From Riley.

Matinee Idyll

"This is like a party game for mean people."
This afternoon, as an early birthday present, I gave Dan two of his favorite things: belly laughs and hunky naked men. Conveniently, those are also two of my favorite things.

Both were ample in The Little Dog Laughed, which we caught at the nearby Signature Theatre. It was the first time I'd been since they shed their original home, a former auto body shop. The shiny new digs are a great improvement all around - appearance, accessibility, location - but Signature retains its freshness and intimacy. Literally: we were just a few yards away when this winsome lad disrobed. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!

The nudity was fairly brief, but the laughs were constant. The showstopper was the lead character's agent, a lipstick lesbian with a mouth like an Uzi. Hours later, her lines are still ringing in my woolly head.

A Modest Proposal

The Obama administration is, to some extent, misreading the zeitgeist of the election. When many, many people voted for "hope" and "change," what they were voting for was to punish those fuckers who fucked it all up. Americans like to punish. For good or ill, it's one of those things we're particularly skilled at. Take the economic crisis. What David Axelrod understood and what Tim Geithner misread was that the vast majority of Americans don't want the president of Wells Fargo handed a shitload of cash and be told to keep it above the waist. No, they want him set on fire on the steps of the Federal Reserve.
Sunday school teacher Veronica Hurst (second from left) plays a game of Monopoly at home in Tooting with her mother and sisters, February 1951. (Maurice Ambler/Picture Post/Getty Image)

From Riley.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Riley.

Pardon My French

My maternal grandmother had many admirable qualities. Patience was not among them.

In a checkout line, she was usually the one sighing dramatically and wondering aloud what the holdup was. But it was behind the wheel that her exasperation was on full display. The target was anyone who slowed her from reaching her destination, no matter how briefly or unavoidably. No one aroused her wrath like a driver making a left turn without a designated lane. The very nerve!

As far as I know, Grandma learned to drive in this country, but she reverted to her native French when hurling epithets on the road. As a child, I found the practice fascinating, if slightly alarming. She wasn't at all given to profanity (I heard her say "crap" and "shit" exactly once each), yet I felt sure these exotic expressions were dark curses indeed - things so bad they couldn't be voiced in English.

Years later, when I had a stronger grasp of French, I realized how wrong I'd been. Most of the "oaths" turned out to be variations of fool or idiot. The French have countless ways to impugn a person's intelligence, a few of them disconcertingly tender.

Though somewhat relieved, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed.

You GoGirl!

Isn't it time you stood up for yourself?

From Derek.

Now Hear This

The Encyclopaedia Britannica of sign language.

From Peggy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Crunch Time

Our vet's office has an unusual amenity in the waiting room: one of those old-timey popcorn carts.

Sometimes I fake a malady for one of the dogs just so I can grab a few fistfuls of stale popcorn that people have been digging around in with sick-animal germs and God knows what else on their mitts.

Our dog walker loves it, and we know all about her hygienic standards.

Of Bits and Pieces

And fine china.

From Riley.

'My Boom-boom Is Unavailable'

Body language explained.

From Derek.

Left Behind

From Riley.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Laura.

Man-ifest Destiny

From Derek.

That Voice Again

I was thinking the other day what fun it would be to have Billy Mays as a surprise guest at my memorial service. Picture it: the rich, serene silence of a Quaker meeting, punctuated by the poignant reminiscences of friends and family. Then suddenly an explosion: the manic, nasal screech of ... the infomercial guy. Kaboom!

This morning Caroline happened to send me this redubbed clip, which almost made me soil myself. I'd actually buy from this guy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today's Top Story

From David.

Kick Me Kate

I happened upon the most appalling program the other day.

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" is ostensibly a reality show, except I don't know anyone in the real world who chose to follow a pair of twins with a set of sextuplets. Do you? There's that new mother of 14 in California, but her concept of reality seems even more tenuous.

I took an instant dislike to the couple. I'm not even sure why Jon's name is in the title, because he's a nonentity, merely a glum figure slouching silently in the background. Shell shocked, no doubt, but maybe that's just how he deals with his wife. For Kate is a nightmare. Neurotic and crazed, she's a parody of the wife-as-harridan. There might be a few souls in the world who are up to this onerous job, but Kate is clearly not one of them.

This episode was a load of crap. Literally. All parents celebrate when a toddler poops in the potty, but effusive praise is enough for most. Not for Kate, who insisted on finding a camera so she could snap a picture of the turd as its producer stood next to the potty chair. I'm sure s/he'll be grateful for Mom's diligence when it's time to set up a Facebook page. November 2008: My First Dump.

I didn't think it could go downhill from there, but I didn't know Jon & Kate. Pawning the boys off on Gran 'n' Gramps, they took the girls to a "professional" photographer who apparently drew inspiration from Barely Legal. He coached the nymphets through all kinds of provocative poses, then everyone gathered around his computer and declared the results darling.

One episode was all I could bear, but I visited the family's Web site, which only forced more bile up my throat. Not surprisingly, it's all Kate and no Jon. And in her version of reality, this is all part of God's plan to make her Supermom.

Why is it that God always tells people what they want to hear? If I learned that I had bum ovaries, I might think God was steering me towards adoption (if not away from motherhood). Not Kate! Between the first and second litters, someone actually offered them a newborn, but they "felt God leading us a different way" - i.e., back to the fertility doctor to be shot up with hormones and get a boatload of artificially fertilized eggs implanted in her uterus. The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't he?

Rhetorical question: Isn't it disingenuous to describe clinically produced sextuplets as "miracle babies" and gifts from God?

Hardy Har Har

"If you hit a possum, it could ruin your day."
Gladys has her own site.

From Terry.
A baker prepares a large piece of dough to be used for making baklava,
New York City, circa 1945. (Lawrence Thornton/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

'The Socrates of Dilettantes'

“I’m not a Martin Luther King and a Gandhi motherfucker.
I don’t know what they were talking about. Spit on my ass and
I’ll knock you out. I ain’t going to sing and march, man.
But I’m fair.”

Jim Brown
This and other gems on Henry Alford's blog.

From Peggy.

Working Girls

Easy As GayBC

A brief primer on the homosexual lifestyle.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Today's Top Story

The Dying of the Light
The Drawn-Out Indignities of The American Way of Death

From Dan.

It Could Happen

Monkey See

I think of Zap as a small monkey; in fact, I often call him that. He looks like one, especially from the back, and he acts like one. However, his little paws are definitely those of a dog, not a primate. That limits his usefulness as a service animal, but it also keeps our food bill down.

I was fascinated to learn that monkeys are actually being trained as helpers for the disabled. They've always scared me a little and I could easily imagine one burning down the house, but these are so damn cute. Just look at the video. And if it didn't work out, you could always rent it out as a babysitter.
A man climbs onto a Southwark milk cart near the Elephant and Castle
in South London, January 1949. (Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Today's Top Story

I apologize for my role in this.

Thanks to Marty for the tip-off.
Women enjoying a snowball fight in London, 15 January 1917.
(Topical Press Agency/Getty Image)

From Riley.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I Slay Myself

I want my ashes stored in an eye-catching vessel so when people ask, "What's in there?" Dan can say, "The cremains of the gay."

For the record, though, I hate the word cremains. What happened? All the morticians woke up one day and decided ashes wasn't good enough anymore? Please. (And, yes, I know they like to call themselves funeral directors now. Whatever.)

Dear John

A low blow if ever there was one.

From Riley.

Advice and Consent

Dear Frannie,

I am a definite MILF, and I love dressing like one. I love wearing short skirts and low-cut blouses that show off my boobs, which cost me plenty so I want people to see them. I never wear anything other than platform heels, even to work out on the stair-stepper - if Mariah Carey can do it, then so can I. I get lots of attention for my looks and wardrobe. People are always pointing and staring when I’m at the grocery store, but I know it’s just because they’re jealous bitches.

Anyway, my problem is my 12-year-old daughter. She claims she’s embarrassed by my clothes and won’t wear any of the stuff I buy her from Forever 21. She insists on wearing blouses with Peter Pan collars, cardigans, and knee-length skirts.

How can I get my daughter to dress more like her smoking-hot mama?

MILF in Midland

Dear MILF,

Tell her that February is “Dress Like a Scary Whore” month at school and that all of the other little girls in her class will be dressing like Mommy. Once she hears her friends are on board for the Skankfest she’ll be flashing that pre-pubescent cleavage faster than you can you can spell Gonorrhea.


More here.

Two schoolboys struggle to cycle home along a flooded road where the
River Mole, a tributary of the Thames, has burst its banks at Horsham
in Surrey, 25 January 1960. (Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tippler on the Hoof

I took advantage of our one-day "heat wave" to go on two walks this afternoon. Lots of others were out and about, including the drinker up the hill who always fawns over Zap and Devo despite having one of those cutesy little passive-aggressive signs asking you to keep your dogs the hell away from her garden. At least she finally took down the McCain-Palin signs.

Today she was sporting a pink ensemble that looked like terrycloth pajamas. I think she was fresh from church, hence the uncharacteristic clarity of her voice. But she's as chatty sober as she is drunk, and today's thesis was feline abuse. As she went on and on about old and abandoned and tortured cats, all I could hear was Sandra Bernhard in Without You I'm Nothing: "Would you please shut the fuck up? You are bumming me out, asshole."

Special Delivery

My grandparents' Airedale went around with the mailman, but not in the bag.

From Riley.

Separated at Birth?