Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mr Gisby's Celeb-A-Likes

A few months ago, I introduced some of you to Mr. Gisby's Totally Gay Pet Shop. Basically, this shit just makes me laugh. And I am still holding out for a tee shirt with my fave animal on it. Visit the site and become a fan, just like me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Project Runway Recap

I am not one to do re-caps of shows, but the last few Project Runway's have been so stressful that I have a few things to share.

First of all, last night was Angela's long overdue good-bye (now she can go back to the farm in Ohio with her whiney, big baby of a mother and shoot squirrels with cousin Jack, the "redneck jetsetter" or whatever the hell cousin Phyllis calls him). That outfit she made last night looked ridiculous. Having no concept of what a jetsetter is means that Angela's future aspirations of designing clothes falls someplace between WalMart and Dollar General. I seriously think she should look into designing for children, because that outfit had "2-year old" all over it.

Kayne sorta had the right idea, but it got blown away in the windmills of his mind. I think the print on the shirt would have been just fine had it been in muted grays or black instead of white and fuschia - something to catch the light rather than something to make you go blind. Kayne can be a bit tacky and last night showed that. He seems to drop the ball when designing anything other than a pageant gown.

Laura's dress was a sliiiight departure from what she has done so far, but all of her clothes are constructed for high-waisted women with no tits - in short, for herself. I thought the champagne colour of her dress was awful and would not be flattering on most women, showing every bump and flaw. I do think that she will be in the top four though.

The others in the top four wil be Jeffrey (who's outfit last night might have been cool but I've seen it a thousand times already), Uli (it takes alot of talent to put patterns like that together and not look like a clown), and my fave Michael (who, I expect, P. Diddy or Jay-Z will be snagging up to work on their lines).

Now about last week --

Yes, Robert deserved to go but in his defense there is only so much you can do with a size 26 woman. I think if he had not been so boring in his last few challenges, he would have survived that round. I think the REAL challenge should have been for ALL of them to design for plus size models. The playing field, on the show, was not level at all.

And back to Angela's big baby of a mother ....

And now off of her again.

Uli should have won that challenge because Kayne's momma looked adorable. Vincent's dress for Uli's mother was HEINOUS. A collar that doesn't continue around the back of the neck? Uli's mother already has a ton of style - she would have looked good in one of those peanut sacks from the recycled challenge. But Vincent made a dress with no collar and no sleeves that was bunchy. Yet the judges loved it.

The judges lately have been very contradictory: Michael Kors told Kayne that "younger" is not a bad word, but Angela's dress for Laura's mother was not "age appropriate". Robert was told to not listen to his client and think like a designer, but Jeffrey was told to stop doing what he wanted and listen to his client. This was all in the same episode.

The BF says that eliminations 1-12 don't really matter, that the judges have long ago decided who the top three will be and its just a matter of getting rid of everyone else at some point throughout the competition. And I think he's probably right. That being said, I can't wait until next Wednesday. Carry on!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hanes Some Other Way

Have you seen the commercial for Hanes underwear with Michael Jordan and Kevin Bacon? It shows them cavorting around, with Kevin trying, in different scenarios, to make a basket - whether its trying to throw something in a trashcan or maybe clothes in a hamper. With each attempt, his shot is blocked by MJ.

Cute, isn't it.

Until I saw the commercial for like, oh, the 50th time, and realized that the two actors are pieced together in one shot. They weren't even in the same studio at the same time!

Were these two guys that busy that they had to shoot their scenes on different days, in possibly different cities, in order to make an underwear commercial?? It's underwear, forpetesake. The whole spot lasts maybe 15 seconds. And Michael gives the same action in all his scenes - shaking his head in disbelief while flashing that "oh, you unathletic white boy you" smile of his - it could be the same shot over and over. Hell, it might not ever be Jordan's arm in the shot; it could just be a stand-in.

However whatever animosity I might feel over this commercial is quickly erased by the new Hanes commercial of the two guys playing a form of dodgeball in their skivvies. Holy Schnikes!

Does it make any sense? Nah. Do I care? Not a bit! But I wonder if MJ can now be included in the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game even though he really is not in the same room with him?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gym Etiquette

Here are a few tips to you novice gym-go'ers to help make your workout - and MINE - more pleasant and enjoyable:

1. I know those Harlequinn Romance novels are hard to put down, but please refrain from reading a chapter between sets while you are sitting on a machine, a bench, or otherwise coveting prized gym equipment from others (namely, me). Your rest time between sets should be 30 seconds or so - not 10 minutes.

2. Have some gossip for your girlfriends? Who doesn't, right! But please save it for a phone call before or after your workout, not while you are on the treadmill next to someone (namely, me) who is trying really hard to workout. It's a gym - not a coffee shop.

3. Do you lift heavy weights? I do, too. Some are very heavy. But you won't hear serious lifters (namely, me) yelling our heads off trying to lift them. So I would rather not hear you grunt and moan while trying to curl a 25lb. dumbbell. Here's a tip - if it's that hard to lift, it's too heavy for you.

4. Grandstanding impresses nobody (namely, me). Slapping on two 45lb. plates on each side of a barbell to benchpress, and then raising every part of your body except your shoulders off the bench while you are pressing, only says one thing - you're a moron. Lighter weights, correct form, and more reps will give you better results. And it's the correct way to do it.

5. Gym memberships are outrageous sometimes, aren't they? So use it. There is more to the gym than the lockerroom, sauna, and shower. If you make your way to the weight floor once in a while, you might be surprised at the results. Sweating the weight off in steamrooms only works in cartoons.

6. If you are trying to build muscle, one set of anything yields nothing.

7. Likewise, 8 different chest exercises during one trip to the gym will do you no good. Muscles need to be teased, not overworked. If you overwater a plant, it will die. Muscles are the same way.

And here are a few more items you might want to brush up on before your next trip to the gym so you don't annoy anyone (namely, me). Thank you, and good luck.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

45 Years

Tomorrow, August 26th, marks my parents' 45th wedding anniversary. I am super proud and tremendously grateful for the example they have shown me. I'm sure it has not always been an easy road, but 45 years later they are each other's best friend. Aren't they cute?

My mother was a painfully shy teenager, my dad was a bit of a hell raiser. They met on a blind date at "Teen Town", a weekly Friday night dance held in a large room above the fire station. They weren't there to meet each other - they each went with a friend who was meeting someone else. Dad says he took one look at her in her red sweater and fell instantly in love - he says he can still see her standing there. My mom, on the other hand, needed more convincing. Dad, it seemed, was a little too rough around the edges for her (apparently not ALL women love a bad boy). My dad had to really clean up his act before Mom would even grant him the first date. They dated for 4 years and got married in 1961.

Theirs is a fairy tale marriage of sorts - rarely spending a night apart except for an occasional hospital stay; doing wood crafts together in a workshop they created in the backyard; she bakes/he barbeques. They have 4 children whom they raised to be very independent, yet appreciate a strong sense of family. And they have 8 grandchildren that made my parents even more loving than they already were.

Mom retired about 5 years ago but Dad is still working at 65 (Mom won't let him retire because she said he will just sit around and do nothing and that's not good for him - besides, she adds, he will just get on her nerves). She spends her day tidying their house, working on projects she makes for herself, going to Curves 3 times a week, and doing a load of laundry every day (how two short people can create one load of laundry every day is beyond me). Dad is basically just a PR man at his job now - he knows everyone in the county and vice versa. He's been asked a hundred times to run for office, but he was always afraid it would cut into his time with his family.

My siblings and I gave them a party for their 25th anniversary, and then another on their 40th - just 6 weeks after Dad's quintuple bypass. Mom says she doesn't want a party for their 50th, but Dad says he does (I guess sometimes you just can't take the bad out of the boy). Of course we will have a party for them -- how could we not?

They have been wonderful role models for me on how to compromise, accept, argue, appreciate and love. I count the success and endurance of their marriage among my most treasured things.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Too Soon

Seriously, I think it's just too soon.

In 30, 20, perhaps even 10 years from now, a movie like this will be important - to remind us what happened, to tell the stories of those who lived through it, and to honor the memory of those who didn't.

However today, 5 years later, there are still people who cannot leave their homes because of it, who cannot work because of it, cannot get on a train, or go into an elevator, or hear a plane fly overhead without feeling fear and panic ... because of it. I think it's too soon for a reminder.

There are 5 year old children who have never met a parent, nor could they possibly understand why - even I don't completely understand why myself. And I think it is wrong of Oliver Stone to exploit it, just as I think its been wrong for "W" to shove this day down our throats, using fear to keep us in line.

The recent threat that occured in the UK at Heathrow is enough to instantly take all of us back to that day. Reports about bombs on planes immediately frighten and immobilize us. Of course, any threat to us on American soil shakes our very faith in man and his capabilities.

Personally, I will not pay money to sit in a theatre for that same feeling, and relive something that we already live over day after day after day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

PDA

Here is my take on the whole PDA thing (and by PDA I mean Public Display of Affection, not personal digitial assistant). I am totally for it. I think it's fine. I hate seeing it. Ok, the truth is, I am not sure where I stand on this issue: when I see it happening, it sometimes bothers me, but when I am doing it I am not even considering what those around me might be thinking.

I think there are levels of acceptable PDA. For example, I don't need to see two people going at it on the train. In the morning. Before I've eaten. And they are both ugly (that's right, I am talking to YOU TWO on the red line who get on at Sheridan at 7:13am). Actually, the only acceptable PDA on the train in the morning is a quick goodbye smooch from one person to another. That's it, folks. Save the rest for later. You don't need to be holding hands or sleeping on each other - we can all tell you are a couple.

Actually that used to be my stand on PDA. I figured it was more for the benefit of those standing around rather than the two people engaging in it - like marking your territory so that everyone can see that this is YOUR property and no one else can step foot on it. You may as well just whip it out and pee all over the other person to leave your scent (although I am quite sure that happens anyway).

But my attitude softened somewhat as I got older and less defensive. My saving grace is that I have an aversion to being touched by people I don't know well. That, coupled with just being so darn cuddly-looking, has created some tension for me in public places. I don't like being groped and grabbed by people, namely men. True, my arms are quite large, but believe me when I tell you that, believe it or not, they feel like arms (I am out for a night with my friends, not a science project for sensory development).

I am not the guy you would ever see making out with someone in a public place, be it a bar or even on the street. Hell, I cannot even remember the last time I left a bar with someone I wasn't dating (when single, I keep that stuff kinda private - I don't want the bar queens keeping track of who I am "leaving with" that night). The extent of my PDA is perhaps a quick kiss now and then, some hand-holding, and possibly some back-rubbing. And it's not about marking my territory as much as it is about the fact that The BF is just so damned cute I can't keep my hands off of him.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tat Two

I've been thinking that it might be time for me to begin getting my second tattoo. My first one, which was a huge undertaking for a first time, is now two years old and I am still asked if it's new. The colour has held up very well. So now I think something smaller, this time a design with my name, placed between my shoulder blades. Nothing as detailed as before, however.

If you, like me, are thinking of getting another tattoo, but you're fresh out of inspiration check out legendary tat blog Needled who believe "One must be a work of art or wear a work of art."

I'll watch Miami Ink now and then because I am always fascinated as to why someone gets a tattoo. Some people will say that they want something that reminds them of an event or a time in their lives or maybe someone else - perhaps someone they lost or used to know. One guy wanted a tattoo to remind him of his son. But I thought if you need a tattoo to remind you of your child, you probably shouldn't be a father in the first place. Another woman wanted a tattoo to remind her of herself (I swear to God, that's what she said). Why did I chose mine? Cause it's pretty.

Tattoo trend site also worth a visit is Tattoo Now. They've got loads of the latest artwork to browse and if you live in the US, an artists classifieds.

Otherwise....just be a tattoo voyeur and browse the Flickr tag to see what the planet is up to.....or if your love E! here are all the celeb tattoos you can think of.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

August 18

I have been keeping a journal since 1982. It was a project started in an English class in high school and I have managed to keep it going for over 20 years now. Every so often, I will look back on a particular day, just to see what I was doing, say 5, 10 even 20 years ago. I have done this before on October 20th, November 29th, January 12th, March 23rd, and June 1st.

Today being August 18th, I went back through the last 24 years to see where I was and what I was doing on this day many years back:

2005 - Spent the day traveling to Sacred Heart Hospital to prep for open heart surgery the following day to repair 4 blocked arteries. Surgery began at 12:30pm and ended at 6:30pm. Recovery followed.

2004 - Arrived in Provincetown just in time for the Carnival Parade down Commonwealth. Drunken revelry followed.

2003 - 9:30 appointment with Dr. Markowitz (dentist) for a routine cleaning.

2002 - Took the day off to recuperate from my friend Poodle's weekend visit from NYC.

2001 - Apartment shopped - looked at 1619 Swann at 4:00. Had dinner with friend Steve T. Went to JR's afterwards.

2000 - Went to Philly for the weekend and experienced my first (and only) time in a bathhouse with a British pilot I met at Woody's named Danny.

1999 - Worked until 8pm then went to JR's with friend "Bodybuilder Bill".

1997 - Fully recovered from a bout with pink eye. Went to Cobalt (the original one before the, um . . . "fire") with Ex#3.

1995 - Submitted resignation from my job so that I could move to DC to start my new job on September 15th.

1994 - Friend Ron M. calls from Israel. Go to Pittsburgh with friend Kathy V. to see her sister in a production of Noises Off. Prepare for 10-Year high school reunion the following day. Take Kathy as my date. Fool everyone. I think.

1993 - Mail deposit for phone service (had to do that back then). Watch Peter's Friends at friend Rick C.'s place. Call Ex#2 in NYC.

1992 - Rent car for drive to South Carolina to pick up Ex#2 and bring back to school for senior year.

1990 - Shopping at the mall and see Ghost with best friend Jeff.

1987 - Water rationing begins due to drought in western Maryland.

1986 - Attend a seminar in Shippensburg, PA for work at hotel.

1985 - Visit friends Pam and Chris to see their new baby.

1984 - Work 11-3 at McDonald's (yep, did that in high school).

1983 - Football practice. Chosen as Co-Captain for my senior year. Cookout at friend Dave's house.

1982 - Babysit for neighbor's kids 9am - 1pm, then go to library to cram summer reading before school starts back in one week.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Janice Dickinson

If she was my boss, I would hate her.

If she was my employee, I would hate her.

If she was my co-worker, I would hate her.

If she was my neighbor, I would hate her.

But as the star of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency - I love the shit out of her. She makes damn good television. She's a reviting, hypnotic, train wreck of a has-been who just refuses to go away. Her banal, screechy, rants are exhausting, tiresome, and entertaining all at once. She comes across as being fake yet genuine, callous yet loving, dishonest yet truthful. And as wild as she is, its easy to forget that in her hey-day, she was quite the beauitful young woman.

She is the first person to admit that she's a mess. She's not been shy about her journies with plastic surgeries, 3 divorces, countless sexcapades, and previous alcohol and drug abuse. Along the way, the self-proclaimed "first supermodel" (I actually think that title belongs to Lauren Hutton) has acquired tons of ego, but somehow taste has eluded her. But she is a survivor. Gay men dig her because she can be bawdy and brash while dripping in diamonds and couture (or maybe that's just why I dig her). But to bring it back to my original point - she is just damn good television.

Her show ended Tuesday night, but I am sure re-runs will be out there and I think another season is in the works. This is her third reality show, which is triumphant for a woman whose reality changes minute by minute, and is practically unsure what the word "real" means.

You. Go. Girl.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Kinda Helpless

Last week, I received this email from Mom:
Have some news for you. A truck went over the wall this morning in our front yard and smashed up the back end of our van. Thank goodness no one was hurt. It was a pickup truck that was parked in front of Carters's house and went out of gear and drifted backwards down Parkersburg Road and ended up in our front yard. There was no one in the truck when it happened. I was sitting at the dining room table reading the paper and heard this crash and thought "what in the world was that?". When I looked out, there was a truck laying on its side in the front yard. I will send you some pictures when I get them in the computer. I was really rattled for a while but I am ok now. Never a dull moment.
And even though both of my brothers and my sister all live within two miles of my parents' house, I still felt guilty for not being there to help in the situation; or at least to comfort them. But then they have my sister Kim, who is a steel magnolia and is the rock of the family; my younger brother Matt who is the go-getter and will see to it that my parents are covered; and then there's Mike, the youngest brother, who somehow finds humour in everything and keeps people laughing. So with those three, I could see where I was not necessarily needed. But I still felt helpless being 1,200 miles away from them during something like this.

My parents (and I, for that matter) have an amazing support system in my siblings. Since they have all lived near one another for so long, they have adapted to roles - Kim comforts, Matt fixes, Mike laughs. My role, if I have one, is perhaps that of validator. Matt makes decisions and then looks to me for affirmation; Kim will call me whenever she's the one who needs to talk; Mike's main goal seems to be to get me laughing so hard I cry. They are a great group of people, and I guess if I cannot be near my folks in a time of crisis, I am so thankful that my brothers and sister are.

Oh yeah, the truck that fell into the yard. Here are some pictures Mom sent me later in the day. Its baffling how a truck can just tip over a wall and not roll any further. Not one scratch on the house, the front porch, the roof supports, or even the driveway. Only Mom's van suffered minor damage. Amazing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Bike Ride ... And Reflection

This week is very reflective for me. It was a year ago last Wednesday that I had my heart attack, and it will be one year this Saturday from my heart surgery. A year ago everything seemed just a little bleak, but I celebrated my one year of better health this past Saturday with The BF by taking a 37-mile bike ride.

Now for some, that doesn't sound like much. Hell, there are people who can run that far (and for those people I now have more respect for the discipline and strength it must take to do such a thing). But for me, a 37-mile bike ride is the biggest physical accomplishment I have performed in many years. At the end of my day, I was admittedly too tired to be as proud of myself as I should have been. But in retrospect, I gush with pride over what I did. Well, what WE did.

The day started with The BF and I being driven several miles by our friend Matt (this is him), to the intersection of Devon and Milwaukee and the beginning of the North Branch Bike Trail. Our goal was to ride to the Chicago Botanic Gardens, approximately 15 miles away. At the onset, I was a little nervous. Fifteen miles seemed so far to go when the crux of my distance biking amounted to the 4 mile stretch between The BF's condo in Boystown and my house in Andersonville. But the trail was pretty simple. There were a few challenging hills now and then, but all in all it was a good ride - and about two hours after we started, we arrived at the Botanic Gardens.

The Gardens are a must see - beautifully landscaped, serene vistas, tranquil waterfalls. It was the perfect place to wind up after being jostled around for the last two hours on uneven trails. My favourite part of the Garden was the Sensory Garden, where your senses come alive with smells and textures. There was actually a flower that smelled like chocolate (which The BF had to pry me off of cause we got to it just before lunch).

After about 2 hours of walking around the pathways, scultures and landscapes, it was time to bike back home at 3:00. This time, we would take the Green Bay Trail to the North Shore Channel Trail because it was further east and would bring us closer to my house. We had a little difficulty finding our way home because the two trails don't meet, and the map we had cut off before showing the beginning of the NSCT. But we had some fun going off trail and making a stop at the stunning Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. We eventually found the trail and continued home, arriving at my house around 6:30.

I was exhilarated but too exhausted to let it show. A 40 minute nap and a shower gave me just enough energy for The BF and I to head out to Mary's for dinner and then return home to watch Stir of Echoes on Netflix -- two Chicago-related things I recommend.

All in all, I could never have done it without the support and encouragement from The BF. He never doubted for a second that I could accomplish the bike ride. Hell, by the end of it, he even had me planning future rides. It was something I never would have attempted on my own, nor probably would have completed without his faith in me. So a big thank you goes out to him.

Not only was he a source of reassurance this year, he was there for me a year ago as well. And as things come full circle this Saturday, I am glad he's been with me throughout the journey.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pee Shy

Hello everyone. My name is Dop. And I have paruresis.

Whew! It feels good to admit it out loud. Well, sorta out loud. At least it's out there (no pun intended). I am not sure when it happened really, but somewhere in my adult life I became unable to unrinate when in the presence of another person, save with whomever I am in a relationship (that's when I know I have achieved a level of comfort with my partner. Some guys mark this time by farting in front of each other without thinking about it -- I pee.)

Paruresis is the medical term for "shy bladder syndrome", a social anxiety disorder in which a person is unable to urinate in a public restroom. According to a 1997 Harvard University study, approximately 17 million Americans suffer from this phobia. It affects about one to two million Americans so significantly that it impairs their lives and forces them to seek treatment. There is actually a non-profit organization located in Baltimore that provides information and resources to those afflicted with this problem.

It can be a crippling nightmare to be out in public and have to urinate, but unable to do so. Perhaps it is performance anxiety of some kind; perhaps it is the proximity of so many penises all at once; perhaps its because I think bathroom functions are just very private matters and are not to be shared with anyone, specifically strangers. Whatever the reason my psyche has chosen, I simply can't pee in public. Psychology says that in people who suffer from paruresis, the body senses the public restroom as an unsafe place. Adrenaline starts pumping as it would in a "fight or flight" situation. The result is that the part of the body that controls urination (the parasympathetic nervous system) is temporarily inhibited or suppressed.

More frustrating are those times when I am at the urinal, struggling for things to happen, concentrating even, and someone walks up to the urinal beside me and just lets go a gusher like its his job. It is the only time in my life when I actually experience penis envy. Why can't my penis behave the same way?? And to drive the nail even further into my coffin, these other men (could be strangers or someone I know) will just begin talking to me as if we are both standing in a lunch line or waiting for the next "L" train. And I marvel at how they can do this; not only can they just let go with the yellow flow, but they can talk to another person while doing so. I stand in awe (and standing in a men's room with your mouth open is not a good look).

Sometimes using a stall instead of a urinal will help. But only sometimes - for when I hear other voices, it becomes increasingly difficult to function. I can be in an empty restroom and going through the process just fine, and then stop in mid-stream when I hear the restroom door open. Sometimes, just the idea of another person being around me while I am peeing is enough to keep me from doing just that.

So onward I trek on my journey to relieve myself (ok, I meant that pun). Perhaps one day, the problem will just disappear and I will be able to pee like a normal person. But then, this is ME we are talking about ......

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Straight Hell

A few nights back, The BF and I joined some straight friends at a bar called Belly's. Maybe I am just really out of touch with my straight roots, or perhaps I am just having trouble recalling what it was to be young and desperately trying to fit in (The BF will attest to the recent death of what used to be my memory).

I am not sure if it was just that bar, or the time of night we hit it (about 11:45 on a Saturday night), but as I remarked to The BF while standing inside, "If I was straight and this was among my options - I would kill myself."

First of all, the music was blaring at 85 decibels. We tried standing in a few different locations around the bar, but to no avail. Any conversations we had resulted in shouting matches. The music playing in the bar was all hip-hop, which is strange because Belly's might very well be the whitest bar in Chicago. And after watching drunk, ex-frat boys bumping and grinding to Snoop and Yung Joc, it's easy to see why the Middle East hates us. I was ready to bomb the bar myself. Even the straight people we were with seemed agitated by the noise. So we moved from the back of the bar to the front of the bar by the open windows.

Speaking of which, ex-frat guys were hanging out of the front window yelling at women who pass by. So I ask, does that really work? Do men really meet women that way? Do women respond to that? They must, or men would have stopped doing it by now.
"I met your grandfather one night as I was walking with my friends past a bar
called Last Chance At Love, and he yelled out the window that he had a pony he bet I could ride like no one else. And since Grandma loves horses ... well, it was love."
And there was more man-on-man canoodling (that's right, I said canoodling) than I have ever seen at Sidetrack (look at the pics again); guys with an arm around another guy's shoulder in the guise of the "this is my best bud" stance (apparently it's cool as long as you both are holding a beer in the other hand). Guys, just blow each other in the men's room and get it over with. Around the neck, across the shoulders, around the waist - it's all called hugging, boys.

Another thing, and I know this is a stark generalization, but every woman in the bar looked alike. It was like stepping into the Ape House at Lincoln Park Zoo. There was zero individuality: same hairstyle, same tight jeans, same top, same purse. Everyone had different shoes - perhaps that's how you tell them apart. Of course, I'm just guessing.

Perhaps I am just used to how it all goes down in a gay bar, even though I don't go to them very often anymore. Belly's wasn't even fun. And it's not like I would be out there looking for a hookup or anything - you know I got mine - but it just seemed like a party in the basement of someone's house rather than a bar or nightclub.

After all, gays just do it better.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Market Days

The 25th Annual Northalsted Street Fair, otherwise known as Market Days, was held this past weekend in the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago. Bigger and more popular that Gay Pride, Market Days is a strip of vendors, bands, shows, food, beer and (most predominantly) flirting. Eight blocks are closed to traffic on Halsted Street, Chicago's gayest corridor.

Before moving here, I had attended 3 other Market Days weekends. Each year, a group of friends would host me for a weekend full of laughing, partying, dancing, eating, and the occasional (albeit temporary) tryst. This year, I got to play host instead. Two friends from NYC, Michael (otherwise known as Mr. So I Like Superman) and James journeyed west to partake in the bacchanalian weekend.

First of all, it was great seeing Michael. Last time we were together, it was just 5 weeks after my surgery last August. The first words out of his mouth this time were "You're so big!" (but since he said it with a smile on his face, I am assuming it was a compliment).

Michael, being a sketch comedy writer, is just hilarious to be around. He views everything as if it's a 4-minute SNL skit. People who read his blog regularly but have never met him are completely missing out on the delivery experience. Michael says he wants to begin a video blog because it will eradicate any possible misconception that he is an aloof, withdrawn, masculine man. I've never seen so much hand-fluttering as this past weekend. His rubber facial expressions are comical, priceless and adorable.

James is, quite simply, a cornball. A self-described white rapper/actor from Buffalo, he is one of the few people I have met with an honest "what the hell" attitude. When James sees something he wants, he goes for it - be it meeting a hot guy, getting a tattoo, or drinking Long Island Ice Teas out of a pitcher. James completely lives in the moment, and the idea that burned hot in his brain will fade to obscurity within minutes, instantly replaced with an even better idea. When his sly smirk is accompanied by a glint in his eye - watch out.

It was a great weekend with much laughter, too much food, tons of alcohol, new friends, old friends, theater (The BF was kind enough to give us freebies to Blue Man!) and broad smiles. The weather was great and it was one of those weekends you hated to see end. The good news is that it all comes around again next year. The bad news is that the boys went back to NYC. And I swear that it won't be another year before Michael and I see each other. Good friends should try harder.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Nuremburg, DC

Beginning in November 1945, the Nuremburg Trials were held in Nuremburg, Germany, prosecuting the officials involved in World War II and the Holocaust during the Nazi regime. Twenty-four of the most important captured leaders were tried at what was known as the Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal.

There were 4 indictments against each of the men who were captured. The indictments were for:
1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace.
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crime against peace.
3. War crimes.
4. Crimes against humanity.

Here are the definitions of each indictment:

1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace.

A crime against peace, in international law, refers to the act of military invasion as a war crime, specifically referring to starting or waging war against the integrity, independence, or sovereignty of a territory or state, or else a military violation of relevant international treaties, agreements or (legally binding) assurances.

2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crime against peace:
  1. invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or military occupation, or annexation of territory by the use of force
  2. bombardment by armed forces of a State against the territory of another State
  3. the blockade of ports or coasts of a State
  4. the use of armed forces of a State which are within the territory of another State in violation of the terms of an agreement between those States
  5. a State allowing its territory to be used by another State for an act of aggression against a third State
  6. a State sending armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries to carry out grave acts of armed force against another State.
3. War crimes:

War crimes include violations of established protections of the laws of war, but also include failures to adhere to norms of procedure and rules of battle, such as attacking those displaying a flag of truce, or using that same flag as a ruse of war to mount an attack. The definition of the term "war crime" usually varies between trials to convict the defendants with a more specific crime that they may have committed.
It comprises such acts as mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians. War crimes are sometimes part of instances of mass murder and genocide though these crimes are more broadly covered under international humanitarian law described as crimes against humanity.

4. Crimes against humanity:

A crime against humanity is a term in international law that refers to acts of murderous persecution against a body of people, as being the criminal offence above all others.

So now I ask you - why has George W. Bush not gone on trial?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

And They All Come Tumbling Down

I personally have never been a fan of Mel Gibson; there always seemed to be something fake and unoriginal about him. Sure, it's easy to say that now - and I wish I had said it before - but this week's events have given me a reason to pick on him due to circumstances of his own merit. As the old saying goes, "a drunk man tells no lies". So if Mel was rattling off religious epithets while being three sheets to the wind, it's a good guess that he truly felt that way - at least at that moment. But this isn't the first time ol' Mel's mouth has gotten him in trouble. I stopped supporting him after he made his blatantly homophobic tendencies known to the world.

But really, Mel is just the next in a long line of average people the tabloid-hungry public has put on a pedestal, only to see that pedestal crumble to the ground when their normalcy is revealed. Tom Cruise believes in Martians. Brad Pitt cheated on his wife. Arnold Schwarznegger is sexist. Chris Isaak is a homophobe. Winona Rider shoplifts. Kobe Bryant is possibly a rapist. And truthfully, I have never been a fan of any of them, either.

We have only ourselves to blame for the outrage; we revere our movie stars and celebrities as demi gods, and then we are apalled when their opinions and actions mirror those everyday people who regularly shop in Wal Mart. And then after we learn of our heroes being human, we force them to public humiliate themselves further as they grovel for our forgiveness.

Personally, I think Mel should just shut up. Yeah, there's no real excuse for what he said, other than he was a little drunk. But he must believe it, otherwise he wouldn't have said it. So it's out there. And no amount of apologizing is going to make that go away. So he should just own up to it, admit it was a personal choice that he should not have shared, and then just move on.

Everyone can't love everyone. We all can't be embraced by the masses. Whether you're black, gay, paraplegic, mentally challenged, jewish, or even republican - someone out there is not going to like you simply because of it. And that's okay really. We all don't have to get along. But we should all just live in peace. Mel should not have said what he did. But he has every right to feel the way he does. I don't hate him because he's homophobic, but I can choose not to pay money to see his movies. He can say anything he wants.

It's only human.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Microsoft WORD, YO

Check check check it . . . the dawgs down at Microsoft have released a new program called Microsoft Word Yo.

Da new version is kicking it with da gangstas and how da brothaz talk. Major input was sucked out of top artists like Snoop, LL Cool J, Kanye, Mary J. and 50Cent. The version is totally up to date with luxury brands like Cristal, Gucci, Ferrari and Mercedes. Terms like bitch, bling, ho and hood will also not be rejected by the software's spell checker.

Each package also comes with a crucifix necklace, a wife-beater, skullcap, rub-on tattoos, the DVD of "8 Mile", and an AK-47 fully loaded.

The release of the new Word version has totally tapped into a new market of gangstas who were previously not part of the computer and technology mix. So what's next from the world's biggest software gang? Microsoft Project for Arabs?

Dayum!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Male Barbie

Before you gals get all anorexic trying to look like Barbie - take a gander at what little gay boys have to play with these days. No more nicely built G.I. Joe's, no more beefy teddy bears. These days, gay youth's male ideal is the:

Tom of Finland Doll


Now I ask you, how in the world can we live up to this? This isn't just a tiny waist and big boobs, like Barbie has. We all know how unrealistic her build is. I think I read someplace that based on her proportions, if she were actually a real woman, she would have to be 11 feet tall. Not so with our friend, Tom, here. He has pecs, abs, a full head of hair, and even a treasure trail. And did you see those arms? How about that butt?

The really sad thing is that there are men out there who really do look like this. Well, come to think of it, it's not sad at all - it's more like "Yay for our team!" Whereas no one will ever look like Barbie, many gay boys will grow up to look just like Tom. And possibly kill themselves in the process

It's good to be gay. But we pay a price too.