Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Japan Calls Off Whale Hunt Early

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[Image: "Sounding Whale, Labrador Sea" by David Blackwood].

* * *

I suppose there are 352 whales somewhere who owe their lives to Greenpeace tonight. Fortunately, Nature smiled, and reckless behaviour by the Sea Shepherd didn't cause a greater problem than it solved.

Chill out people, seriously. Remember, you can be part of the solution or you can be part of the problem. Stopping a whale hunt by causing an oil spill in Antarctica is not cool.

I say if Japan wants whales that bad they can start breeding them faster than they're killing them for a few centuries, until the whales are back to more normal population levels, maybe not where they were before nations like Japan (and Canada) participated so merrily in their wholesale slaughter (let's be real) but better than they are today.

Oh, and by the way, stuff your country did a long, long time ago doesn't always automatically qualify as culture. You don't see anyone arguing for their right to have a smallpox epidemic, do you? Our ancestors in the 19th Century CE did what they had to to survive, and we should be able to commemorate that without a death toll. If they didn't eat whale they sometimes didn't eat, and the more sometimes they didn't eat the more oftentimes they died. Where would that have left some of us?

Thanks in part to those whales, though, we have thrived; indeed, nowadays we are overfed. Yet from this satiety we've been able to invent synthetic versions of everything we once got from them, save their flesh as meat. And just think: if no one ever had it again, eventually no one would remember or even miss the taste of it.

The best way to give thanks for our survival then (as well as in the future) is to ensure theirs now by leaving the whales alone.

Read more, at Yahoo News while I try and get down off this magical soapbox the Debate Club must have left lying about.
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Oscar Night Bum Fight

Once again I'm torn. I have an interesting sequence of photos to show you, and I can't decide whether to present them comically or straightforwardly. I want them to be sincere, but need them to be offensive, in much the same way I want to be sedated, but need to be lobotomised.

I will therefore present them both. The serious story will appear above the photos, the funny one captioned beneath in curly brackets (that's how you know something's funny, by the way - curly brackets). They also make a cool beret for your winkie, to give him that Continental flair... Ooh la la! {; )

* * *

About three minutes into the red carpet coverage of the Oscars I heard an argument in the alley beneath my window, over the possession of a certain valuable item. Once the sound of it had drowned out Shrillapalooza, I went to the window to learn more.

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{"That's my [Oscar] [Alan Arkin]!" "Fuck you [Eddie Murphy]! This is my [Oscar]."}

* * *

Naturally, things escalated, as they will do in a bum fight. Eventually the one not in possession of the cart tipped it over, which caused a certain lamenting by its owner, who was nearly pinned beneath it when it tipped. It was at this point I considered calling 911 to give Mr. 9/10ths of the Law his other ten. I mean, there was their privacy to consider, weighed against my own voyeurism and the fact that I just hate calling the police. This was a complex decision.

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{"If I can't have it then neither can you. CRASH!" "Fuck you [Eddie Murphy]!"}

* * *

Following this altercation (not to mention the lamenting) Pushy comes back and helps Guy in Yellow put everything back into the cart. This fragile entente is doomed to failure, though, and once again the angry talk escalates. If Hell is, in fact, Other People now is when he all broke loose; Pushy struck the first blow but the defender quickly overcame him. Two minutes of drunken flailing ended in what looked like pilates in prison, complete with grunting and f-words.

A hundred people walked past this altercation as it grew, most on phones, and no one even stopped; now there were six on their cell phones, frankly a waste of 911, when one call would have been fine. Not that it mattered much anyway. Oh well, at least the police will have six accounts to work from and/or confuse them.

One minute later the police arrived, and by the time Ellen hit the stage it was all over but the cleanup.

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{"[Alan Arkin] get the fuck off of me!" "Smell this [Eddie Murphy]!"}

* * *

Come to think of it, both of these were pretty offensive, on so many levels. Yikes!
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Vancouver's Newest Neighbourhood: Partialview

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Definitely NOT from the developers who brought you Grandview and Fairview.
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"I Think She's Spotted Her Prey..."

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Madonna, seen here at some charity function, awards show, or other such festival of self-aggrandisement, definitely puts the GRRR in Cougar. And about all I have to say to that is honey, whatever you are doing, just keep on keeping on.

(PS: Whatever you sucked out of Britney that time you kissed her? Y'might wanna give her just a little bit of it back. Girl need it real bad!)
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Who Said What Now?

Today, while on tour in the United Arab Emirates, The Prince of Wales made an off-the-cuff remark about banning McDonald's to reduce levels of obesity. Odd that such an experienced horseman should bollocks it all up and put the cart before the horse like that.

The only way to ban McDonald's is to stop going there, and the best way to do that is to make healthy food more affordable. Period. Obesity is on the rise because it is easy, and our entire culture rewards cheap and easy (just look at Paris Hilton - now there's a way to reduce anyone's appetite).

In other news from the Royal Tour, Camilla blah blah bloody great hat, blah blah. Blah, cutting ribbons, blah unveiling plaques blah, trying not to look bored blah blah.

[SOURCE: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
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The One That Got Away

I just spent an hour writing a post which I then deleted. It contained my real thoughts on many pertinent issues of the day. Which is to say my actual thoughts about the people and things in my life. About myself too, ooh, some terrible, wicked stuff.

Better out than in, they say; well I say a bit of each is nice too, if you can get a rhythm going.

It's very cathartic to write, mainly because it saves you from shouting such things in people's faces. Which, as fun as it is, shouldn't be. Plus, it can get you fired or punched (both, if you work where I do). Probably the most cathartic thing about writing, though, is when you hit that DELETE button and it all goes bye-bye. It's the ultimate act of letting go, especially when those words were hateful words. It's even better than shitting!

I made myself a promise in the last piece, to write until I started to laugh. Well, I wrote for 45 minutes while crying then re-read for fifteen filled with rage and then I deleted it. That gave me a chuckle. So I started this piece. Fourth line good, fifth line better, and a genuine laugh! By the time I get to shitting I can barely see the screen again, only this time the tears ain't bitter, they're sweet.

I know, I know, you're not supposed to laugh at your own stuff. Well, you know what? I'll laugh if I want to, I'm fucking hilarious. Plus, I'm the only one who gets all my jokes. That's gotta count for something.

The point is, I'm an overly sensitive person and I live in a brusque city. I'm also a mimic. I have an idea that if only I could find a way to reflect all the negative energy I seem to attract, rather than absorbing it, I might be alright. Something like a shield, or a mirror, or a lens of some kind...
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To-Do List For Today

1. Blog.
2. Take pictures.
3. Pet the cat.
4. Go for a walk.
5. Smile at your own reflection.
6. Give that smile to a stranger.
7. Watch children playing, birds flying, clouds clouding.
8. Feel less hurt, more love, and new life.
9. Act to eliminate negativity, knowing hope is the way.
10. Do these nine every day, do I make myself clear?
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Homophobia's Day in Court

This from Towleroad...

Anyone who says that the gay in "That's so gay" isn't the same as the gay that's used to describe me is a damn liar, and probably someone who says "That's so gay" as well.

I do feel bad for the little girl, though, to have to learn this hate where it's hardest to refute - in the home. Hopefully, as long as her parents don't decide to home school her, it shouldn't progress much past this, and maybe some of the damage done to her can be remedied as she moves up through the grades.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Bad News For Seattle B-Ball Fans

This via Towleroad:

It seems the group that owns the NBA Supsersonics and the WNBA Storm are have donated heavly to an anti-gay organisation, which kinda puts the whole Tim Hardaway thing into perspective.
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Mexico To Protect Monarchs

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Helen Mirren Proclaimed Queen of Hollywood

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNo real surprises, as per usual this Oscar Night, except perhaps Alan Arkin over Eddie Murphy. Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker (although floored by their wins) were almost as certain of theirs as Helen Mirren, who offered a tribute to and raised the statutette in honour of Her Majesty. Good on yer, girl!

And if Scorcese didn't win this year I was certain there would be a riot, so fortunately he did. I mean, he could have won by directing an episode of "Two and a Half Men" after the upsets of the last few years, most especially losing to Roman Polanski in 2002. It'll be interesting to see if his career takes off after this.

As for the host, what little stage time she did have was further eaten away when she decided to walk around in the audience, although the exchange between Clint and Spielberg and Ellen was priceless. "An Inconvenient Truth" did well, winning Best Documentary as expected. They had one of the evening's few surprises as well when Melissa Etheridge won for Best Song.

Meryl Streep looked like a high school art teacher chaperoning the prom, which was still less disconcerting than the resemblance between Etheridge and Senator Clinton. Nicole Kidman looking dangerously thin in vivid red, Gwyneth Paltrow proving she's a bitch by pulling off a colour as complex as coral, Cameron Diaz and Maggie Gyllenhaal both minus their necks, Penelope Cruz more than compensating.

Jodie Foster looked stunning in a blue/teal (probably Armani) and nice to see her too, as she's been keeping a low profile since the girls started coming out and doing so well. Diane Keaton also looked pretty smokin'. Add a Catherine Deneuve sighting and it all adds up to a pretty good Oscars, all told.

Although... I never would have thought the day would come when Clive Owen was the hottest man of the night. Don't get me wrong, he's pretty hot, but he was the hottest man there period tonight. Clooney and Daniel Crag, er, Craig looked pretty good, even Tobey Macguire did that hot mumbling thing he does. But Clive Owen was it.

And as usual the evening has come to a close with me looking like a hot mess, on account of I've been crying like a bitch since the red carpet.

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[UPDATE: How could I forget Sacha Baron Cohen? Jewish and British, and rocking that tux like a gigolo. I guess because he wasn't a presenter his role in the telecast consisted almost exclusively of being that totally hot guy in the background that they should have been focussing on instead of constantly cutting to Jack Nicholson.]
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Has Christ's Tomb Been Discovered?

Find out here...
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Vancouver Chief of Police Jamie Graham (shown here at Pride Day 2006) announced recently that he will be stepping down as of the end of his current contract. As usual, the scandal-plagued VPD could not be reached for comment, as they were busy conducting the internal enquiry into who gets to ice him so he don't blab.

[F O T O : M S M]
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Friday, February 23, 2007

Happy 200!!

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Posts, that is!
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R.I.P. Maricica Irina Cornici

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[CNN via Seumas]
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

False Creek's Hottest New Home

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This cozy 1 bedroom features all the amenities, and just look at that terrace! Sheltered beneath Alder Crossing, easy walking distance to Granville Island.

A steal at 300K all included.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Time Crunch

More so than water, platinum, or even natural redheads, time is our most precious resource. Tight control over supply combined with constant demand on that supply means that time will only get more precious as it goes on. In my own case, time recently got more valuable than I can afford, and I may need to begin skimming a few minutes from my neighbours, passers-by, and if it gets really bad I may have to start harvesting it from the homeless. After all, they've got too much, I have too little, the solution seems perfect.

My problem is, see, I bought this fancy new monitor, and now none of my image files look right. 6000+ photos all have to be gone over and reassessed one at a time. In addition to all the other things I must do in a day: hygiene, housework, job, and blog. In other words, life.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOkay, so who doesn't love a challenge, right? I often wonder how, irrespective of staff, celebrities do it. Some, of course, mix a little crack with a little speed and they're ready to go. How then, irrespective of celebrity pharmacology, can I do it?

Well, the secret appears to be a rigid compartmentalisation of time from the minute I drag my ass out of bed two hours too early to the minute I collapse into sleep two hours too late. Do a little bit, then move on, then a little bit, then move on. Constant re-assessment of priorities during this time also seems to help. Try and imagine life like one of those sound boards, with dozens of sliders, and then just work them bitches like Timbaland.

Otherwise I find myself staring at the wall wondering where to start, which is dangerously close to procrastination, and that is the enemy.

I guess this is my way of saying that, having found my groove where this blog is concerned, it's time to move back a tiny bit to begin taking the necessary steps towards the next level. Progress is three steps forward, two steps back (or is that the foxtrot?) and so it's time to take two steps back, because the next three steps forward are going to blow everybody's mind.
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A Vancouver Moment

This evening, while walking home, a pair of raccoons wandered across my path.

They'd emerged from beneath the hedge in front of my building, then ambled pretty confidently across Oak Street, which can be pretty busy at 12:30 in the morning. I mean, I look both ways crossing with the light and I've still got my fingers crossed, but not these two.

They startled a pedestrian when they came out of the hedge, and they hadn't gotten too far across when we saw each other, each a little skittish. I'm very respectful in my encounters with wildlife, so I stood still while they crossed, in case any sudden movement should further spook them. The first one stopped in the middle of the road and took a long sniff at the air. Clearly, he was not bothered by much.

Like most people, I'm a sucker for a little anthropromorphism, and I got a little tonight. When the first raccoon had successfully made it across the street it turned and looked back to see if its companion was still following, then waited until they were close to each other before disappearing into a new hedge. Obviously I'm a sentimental Hollywood victim, but that kinda choked me up.

Of course, I didn't have my camera out; I didn't even think about it til they'd gone. Just a quiet moment and a deep breath of cool sea air and suddenly it feels a little bit more like home around here.

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[In lieu of photographic evidence from tonight's encounter, here is a raccoon I met in Stanley Park last June.]
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When Lousy Things Happen To Cranky People

Okay, so it seems I have developed a severe case of ocular rectosis, which as we all know is the fancy name for a shitty outlook on life. Lately, though, even the cynic in me wants me to lighten up. Which is ironic, since he's the one who made me this way in the first place.

Just how do I go about this magical transformation, you're supposed to be wondering. So if you're not, please do... nnnnnNOW!

Well, the first step was to accept that lousy things don't happen to me. They just don't. Lousy things sometimes happen in my presence, I may intercept one from time to time, and very occasionally I may even be the (cough) cause. At their worst, lousy things only happen at me. Any damage they may do to my body is unfortunate, but heals; the decision to let them damage my soul was mine alone, and it does not get better on its own.

I've decided that if they won't like me the least they can do is remember me. Since the cure for negative is positive, the next negative person I meet I'm going to stun them with positivity. Not only will I not have to poison myself by reacting to them negatively, maybe knowing that some stranger cares more about them than they do about themselves can do more than just aid me in my recovery.

Pretty high-flown stuff, I'll admit. Really, though, that's all I want from the world: a little less lousy.
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Department of Glaring Oversight: Black History Month

Originally I had planned special coverage of Black History Month, entitled "A Month of Sundays", which was to have appeared every Sunday for 30 weeks, each week focussing on contributions made by blacks to the popular culture. Unfortunately, I didn't plan this until 29 January, by which time the research necessary made its appearance impossible.

Fear not! There's always next year. In the meantime white guilt ensures that I will always try to include the entire human family in my coverage, and not just focus on the hot male cousins.
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My Favourite Photos of All Time

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Back in the day, before they were legends, Tom Waits and Bette Midler share a laugh (no doubt over something raunchy).
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Lessons Never Learned

99% of the encounters I've had with other gay men in this city have been unaccountably harsh. In the age of the metrosexual usually the only way I can tell if a guy is straight or not is if he talks to me. Understandably, this makes me very leery of dealing with gay men, which in turn causes me to be terminally celibate.

I've been sworn at and called names by men who've bumped into me, ignored by store clerks and even refused service by waiters - try and explain that one to a hostess. Recently a man I've never seen and who's never spoken to me complained about me to my supervisor. By far, though, the worst are people who walk away from me when I'm talking to them, especially if it's their job to talk to me.

It happened again today.

I was in Chapter's, in their minuscule video department, when I wondered aloud where a certain title might be. To myself, mind you, which is to say, even more softly than usual. He must have been standing right next to me, because the next thing I heard was a rather harsh "What?" I turned and saw a clerk who's never given me anything but awful service.

"Nothing, I was just --"

That got me a full sigh and rolled eyes (which, by the way, doesn't look any better on a man in his 40s than it does on a 10-year-old girl) and the usual walk away. To be honest, the best he deserves is to be ignored the way he ignores me, but I wasn't in the mood to give him what he best deserves.

"For your information," I said, once I'd cornered him by the till, "I would never ask a rude bitch like you for anything."

"There's no need to be like that," he said, smirking.

"I agree," I said, "And I wouldn't be like this either if this was the first time you'd done something like that to me."

The smirk disappeared. "What do you mean?"

I smirked at him, then rolled my eyes and sighed and walked away.

I don't know what inspired me to fight back another person's rudeness. I've always found the best way is to ignore it. But I consider the situation I'm in to be pretty dire, and such circumstances necessarily call for extraordinary measures. I have no problem with people disliking me once they get to know me (in fact, I practically expect it), but to act this way before I've said a word is unconscionable.

I must be physically hideous and unable to see it. What else am I to think? When I smile at a kid, a kid smiles back at me; when I smile at a gay man I get the finger (and not in the good way). If it happened once in awhile I could laugh it off, but it happens all the time, to the point where it's now getting me into trouble at work - only I haven't done anything. It's very likely preventing me from meeting someone because I'm so afraid he'll be rude that it scarcely seems worth the risk.

The essay, like the problem, seems to have no ending. I guess it's time for me to find one.
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MacIsaac/Stokes Nuptials

It seems our research department just grew by one, to three (although, to be honest, Pandora makes a much better presenter than researcher) which makes me happy. Not only does it cut down on the time it takes to find these stories, it gives me the chance to pander to my readers.

I still can't get the taste of Valentine's Day out of my mouth, so I will refrain from commenting on the story. Plus, I had another run-in with one of Vancouver's super friendly gay men today (see above post), so I'm especially bitter. Although, as previously stated, if you care to read about my bitterness you need only ask for it.

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R.I.P. Dermot O'Reilly

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMusician Dermot O'Reilly died of a heart attack on 17 February in St. John's. He was 63.

Alongside Denis Ryan and Fergus O'Byrne he formed Ryan's Fancy while they were at Memorial University together in 1971. The group disbanded in 1983, though its members remained active in musical communities both in Ireland, where the three were born, and Newfoundland, their adopted home.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingO'Reilly was a fervent preservationist where Newfoundland music was concerned, with telling results. Songs popularised by Ryan's Fancy have subsequently been covered by The Barra MacNeils and Great Big Sea.

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Gung Hei Fat Choy

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The symbol means fortune. I couldn't find any cool pig images out there, and this is not only apt it's the right size.
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Saturday, February 17, 2007

F O T O : Untitled Landscape #1

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Because Seumas loves Oh-chee-yoh-hee (The Lions, or The Gates of Hera for all you BSG fans), and because I love parallellograms, and because I'm reasonably certain the two have never been captured on film together, but mostly because I was crossing the street in front of my building one day and stopped traffic to take it.

Oh yeah, a Yuppie honked at me, the whole deal. S c a r y ...
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Another New Era Dawns

It's always a new era here at the Pop Culture Institute, where every iota of progress is celebrated all out of proportion to its actual worth. Where every Wednesday is a statutory holiday. Where men are men and women are welcome (as long as they bring more men). You get the point.

This new era, on the other hand, represents a fair dollop of progress, so you can imagine the party mood around here tonight, even at this late hour. The clowns are well drunk, even the tumbling monkeys are exhausted, yet the donkey riding the unicycle looks like he could go on for hours. I guess I have no one to blame but myself, since I'm the one who gave him the cocaine.

Tomorrow marks the arrival of a new 21" wide screen LCD monitor, and a 1GB memory for my camera. Each in their own way, these two items mark a clear milestone in my career; the chip means I can begin filmmaking in a serious fashion, as well as financing these films through things like event photography. The monitor, because it can be photographed, will allow me greater flexibility in the projects I will be able to do, such as "The Hump Day Show", ITVN's very own weekly newsmagazine vidcast.

It's also time to put aside adding to the collections for awhile, and begin building portfolios. Instead of studying content, it's time to start creating content. Which is not to say I'll be entirely able to resist the temptation if, say "Are You Being Served?" or something of that ilk should tumble across my path while I'm on my travels. Just that, having spent a long time sowing, it's time to reap.

As you can probably tell by the layered metaphors, my mind is going a million miles an hour right now. Projects which have previously been in pre-pre-production are now into pre-production, and suddenly all these dreams are becoming real.

What a great time it is to be me.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Evaporating City

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[Maybe in 50 years they'll put my pictures up in the VAG, but in the meantime here's one for free.]

Today I bought Fred Herzog's book, "Vancouver Photographs", the publication of which Douglas & McIntyre timed to coincide with a major showing of his work by the Vancouver Art Gallery. I'll be attending the show on Sunday, and was looking for a way to get grounded in the subject matter beforehand so as to make the most of my experience. $47.70 later, and boy am I grounded.

I've been feeling very over Vancouver lately, and I have to try and find out if I'm actually over it, or just frustrated with some of its limitations, namely its lack of friendly gay men. I've felt the city change dramatically in the fifteen years I've known it, almost entirely for the worse. Then again, maybe it's me that's changed for the worse, and the city's still the same lovely place it ever was.

The book is a challenge to me, to find my place here, or else find another place where I can. I am ready to begin my life's work, and want to make sure that I do so in a city with the life I need in it. Otherwise, it'll all turn out wrong, and I specifically remember that my mother promised me a happy ending.
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A Change of Heart

Earlier, I posted a piece entitled "Apparently It's Valentine's Day". I sure hope no one saw it.

To anyone who might have done, on the off chance you're still talking to me, please accept my apologies. We animals do funny things when we're in pain. We lash out often as a way of reaching out.

Writing the essay was enormously therapeutic for me, because those words had been swirling around inside my head for nearly a week when I finally let them out. Last night I had a terrible headache and the chills, so I went to bed early; the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was get up and write that, even before I'd visited the littlest room.

Now, I will not apologise for the piece, only for the misuse of my intention in placing it here on my blog. It should not have seen the light of day; I sincerely hope it didn't.

It's our wounds that make us feel alive, which may be why they are so often self-inflicted. Unfortunately, it's our wounds that also kill us, and so we must nurse them. Within this cycle, though, there's enough power to break it.

Each time we heal it is imperative that we heal better than we were before we broke, until we no longer hurt ourselves or others.

Also, I really need to lighten up.
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"Blessed Art Thou" by Kate Kretz

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I have a vague recollection of this story when it was first in the news (a whole month ago!), but something really big must have been going down because I let it slip past without comment. I guess I was on Angelina overload; well, thanks to Anna Nicole that's easing somewhat (what an angel!) except now I have a serious case of Anna Nicole overload. Oh well, it's always something.

Wait a minute! What were we talking about?

Oh yeah, the painting... I think I like it.

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Why Not Have A Liberal Helping?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAs we all know, the fat cats are getting fatter, and now so can you progressive types. Yes, Ben and Jerry have given Stephen Colbert the Jerry Garcia Treatment. Apparently, it contains chocolate covered waffle cone pieces and caramel.


Yep, I think I feel a podcast coming on. That is, if the stuff's even for sale up here; if not I shall have some imported next week (oh, Seumas...? hint hint). If this is what they call investigative journalism then me likey.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Apparently It's Valentine's Day

364 days a year you have to smile gamely and be gracious about other people and their relationships. You sit there and listen to them go on and on about this vacation they took together and how romantic it was or some present one of them bought for the other and how thoughtful it was, and what can you say - nothing - so you say nothing.

Then round about mid-January every store is suddenly awash in red and pink. Initially it's a relief from the drabness of the Canadian January to have all those hot colours around. Looking closer, you see there are cards and candies and ads filled with people who are too pretty to be real snuggling or snogging or just plain smiling at each other. You know they're models, and they're being paid to look at each other that way to sell those cards and candies, but it doesn't matter; by then the damage is done.

For four weeks a year you die a little bit each day, because you know you're not included. The only thing that makes it worse is knowing you'll never be included. The only thing that makes it bearable is waiting for that day, February 15th, when finally everyone has had enough.

The best I can hope for on Valentine's Day is to try and remember the good times I've had with the few emotionally stunted men I seem to have collected over the years, and to try and forget that my last such memory is now half a decade old and not getting any younger. I've resisted my more evil urges, so I won't be posting divorce or domestic violence statistics here, nor will I be posting this lulu of a photograph I downloaded showing the effects of gonorrhea on human genitalia. Apparently I have to be a good sport about this torture. Just how I'm to do this no one is quite certain; the only thing to do is remember that I'm ugly and a loser and I always will be and that everyone who's in a relationship agrees 100% with this assessment.

You see, there isn't someone out there for everyone, and if there is it's a big world full of people, and what are the chances you'll find them? Or that when you do find them they'll be your type and you'll be theirs? Maybe for some people the miracle occurs, and they manage to meet someone despite your agenda and theirs, your friends and theirs, and a thousand other things that keep people apart getting in the way.

Only then you get to spend the next 364 days of the year hearing about it. Or else you get to hear about all the cheaters, and the mean mis-treaters out there, and wonder how a nice guy like you manages to stay on the shelf when some guys get all the action. I guess it's because, in addition to not being a violent alcoholic I am not hot either. I guess anyone who cares about heart over hot is already with someone.

Love, ha! It's a motherfucker. I just wish I could stop believing in it all year long like I almost do every Valentine's Day.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Desperate Doll-Housewives?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAccording to the Internet Movie Database, the cast of "Desperate Housewives" have been immortalised in plastic. Not just as plastic, but in plastic; their characters have been made into dolls by the Madame Alexander company. The dolls made their debut at the annual Toy Fair in New York City, and will go on sale in June, when they will retail for $129.99 each. That's like $650 for the set, in case, you know, you've already got your credit card out.

This is an honour that eluded even the ladies of "Sex and the City" who, if you ask me, would have kicked some serious Franklin Mint ass.
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Smitherman/Peloso Nuptials Impending

From the Toronto Star, via Towleroad:

"Maybe it was spending the weekend in the honeymoon capital that inspired George Smitherman, Ontario's first openly gay cabinet minister, to reveal his summer wedding date.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"Smitherman, deputy premier and health minister who turns 43 Monday, told the Toronto Star the nuptials will take place Aug. 5 at a wilderness resort west of Sudbury, Ont. He and his long-time partner, Christopher Peloso, a 33-year-old manager of chocolate company Lindt Canada, were quietly engaged on Christmas Day. The two men first met 10 years ago and dated on and off before reconnecting 18 months ago. Smitherman proposed when they were in Sudbury for Christmas visiting Peloso's parents. The wedding will be at Laurentian Lodge, a picturesque resort north of Elliot Lake where Smitherman took Peloso's family last summer.

"The couple, who hope to adopt a child, played down the historical significance of their union. "It's not all that big a deal now," said Smitherman, praising gay and lesbian pioneers who have been fighting for equal rights for years."

* * *

I think I showed admirable restraint in not entitling this post "Ontario Health Minister Weds Chief Fudge Packer". There's also a whole story in there about how they met ten years ago but only recently reconnected, but try as I might I can't even make it as porno as I'd like it to be; I just think it's sweet.

Ugh, I must have caught a Valentine's virus or something.

Otherwise, I struggled a bit over how to bill them. I mean, I can see why the patriarchy was so popular; everything was much simpler then. How do you bill a same-sex marriage, anyway: oldest first, alphabetically, top/bottom? And what about versatiles and lesbians?

I eventually settled on this one because a) who has the time, and b) Mr. Smitherman has the bigger, uh, job.
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book vs. Telly - London's Lawless

That I am an Anglophile should come as no surprise to anyone who's read this blog. Similarly, if my love of sitcoms, history, and hot gay writers has yet to become a matter of the public record then it let it be so noted now.

It's only inevitable, then, that in the course of compiling the library here at the Pop Culture Institute motifs should occur, and henceforth, whenever they do, they will be ripe for blogging.

* * *

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I wasn't too many pages into "The Long Firm" by Jake Arnott when it occurred to me that reading this book would involve rewatching "Thick as Thieves", which I'd bought earlier.

Both tell the story of the Smoke's criminal classes in the same era - the 1960s and early 70s. Both do an admirable job of sympathising the criminal while not condoning their acts, a kind of tightrope act becoming more commonplace.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting As accomplished as Mr. Arnott's prose is, though, it's a little dry; as usual, the modern fear of adjectives gets in the way of what could have been a really juicy story. "Thick as Thieves" writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, on the other hand, really capture the argot of Fulham's criminal milieu. Bob Hoskins is memorable as George Dobbs, John Thaw's Stan Hardwick is at once a counterpoint to and a bookend for his more famous Inspector Morse, and even when Pat Ashton's accent slips you can hardly fault her. The first time I watched it I think their combined accents sprained my eardrums.

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New President of Harvard Has Vagina

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Academic world all in a tizzy.

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World's Best Teacher

Seriously. He taught me - ME! - how to make links, get this, using code! Code is practically math, y'all.

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One Saturday in Vancouver

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One Saturday in Vancouver I decided I wanted an adventure. I often feel this way on Saturday, which, given the orderly nature of my weekdays is only natural. Usually I have a seat at my computer and after a couple of hours the feeling has passed.

Only this week I'd gotten a hot tip (from the manager himself, no less) that I could repair my damaged memory card at Kerrisdale Cameras in West Vancouver. I probably ignored the logistics of such a trip once I heard that what I'd once thought irreparably damaged might be repaired. My blood was hot; this was one adventure which was unavoidable.

Well, West Vancouver is quite a distance from where I live, a journey involving two crossings of water and a journey into, well, not exactly uncharted territory, but into a part of the city I haven't made a habit of frequenting. So what else could I do? I dragged my friend Seumas into it.

Now, Seumas owns a car, which was part of the reason I made such a decision. Also, Seumas has a tendency to sit in the house and brood, and this particular Saturday in Vancouver was a beautiful day. So I called, set up the trip, and off we went.

Mistake #1: Driving through downtown.

Mistake #2: Not calling ahead first.

I mean, it took us over an hour to get there (when, for instance, I could have walked there in two) and when we finally got there said git was nowhere to be found. "Oh, Saturday's his day off," said the clerk I finally got to help me, oozing apathy like Quebec maples ooze syrup. I wracked my brain, searching for the exact words he'd said to me, and there they were: "Sure, come in on Saturday and we'll fix you up."

Fortunately I was with Seumas and not, say, anyone else I know, since not only is Seumas very patient (I mean, he's taught me things and I'm still alive, so that should tell you something) he has a very calming influence, especially on me. We left the store blinking in the intense sunshine of Ambleside Village, and I for one was unsure what to do next, except that I knew I was hungry. Seeming to read my mind, Seumas took me to lunch, where I feasted on prime rib, whose horseradish sauce nearly got the taste of disappointment out of my mouth.

One the way back we took a different route, touring the devastation in Stanley Park. Passing Sunset Beach I snapped the above photo. Then we got trapped in even more construction schamozzle, this time on the Cambie Street bridge.

So off we'd gone in search of some Grail or other, only to fail in our quest. Yet, I got a nice change of scenery, a couple of groovy new pictures, and most importantly, an hour or two of time with a friend. Also, at lunch, he taught me how to write code for links.

Lesson learned, I'd say. Even if your adventure doesn't pan out, consider the adventure you did have, and be grateful for it.

I know I am.
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Friday, February 09, 2007

Come Out, Come Out, Whomever You Are

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"In his soon-to-be-released autobiography Man in the Middle, John Amaechi chronicles his life growing up in Manchester, England, overcoming odds to play in the NBA, and coping with the frustration and anguish of being a closeted professional athlete. He also plans to come out publicly on ESPN’s Outside the Lines on February 11 to, as he puts it, make his position clear. “I am gay, black, British, smart, dumb, patronizing, stubborn, all these other things—flawed in many ways—and I am now asserting my activism,” Amaechi tells Advocate editor Anne Stockwell in his first gay press interview.

"Though his sexuality has been a topic of speculation for years, the press always seemed to maintain a blind eye, even when he acknowledged being gay to reporters. “People have these boxes that they want to throw you in,” Amaechi tells Stockwell. “If you’re big and black, it’s not the first conclusion they jump to.”

Read John Amaechi’s entire interview in the March 13 issue of The Advocate, on stands February 27.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

RIP Anna Nicole Smith

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Just in Time for Valentine's Day

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[Actual unretouched photo of the last time I had sex, or incredibly touching archaeological find? You decide.]

Actually, no you don't. It's the latter. The giveaway is, the last time I had sex dust hadn't been invented yet.

From Yahoo, whose coverage of archaeology and anthropology I find to be very in-depth, comes this kick in the 'nads:

"Archaeologists in Italy have discovered a couple buried 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, hugging each other. "It's an extraordinary case," said Elena Menotti, who led the team on their dig near the northern city of Mantova. "There has not been a double burial found in the Neolithic period, much less two people hugging -- and they really are hugging."

"Menotti said she believed the two, almost certainly a man and a woman although that needs to be confirmed, died young because their teeth were mostly intact and not worn down. "I must say that when we discovered it, we all became very excited. I've been doing this job for 25 years. I've done digs at Pompeii, all the famous sites," she told Reuters. "But I've never been so moved because this is the discovery of something special."

"A laboratory will now try to determine the couple's age at the time of death and how long they had been buried."

Unsurprisingly, neither of them could be reached for comment.

(It's official: dead people are now getting more play than me.)
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Gayest Man on Earth Suddenly Straight

Decency forbids me from from placing a photograph of crystal meth/male prostitute/Jesus afficionado Reverend Ted Haggard on a page where children might come to rest their eyes, already bleary from too much Internet porn. I mean, fair's fair but there's some depravity even the little ones can't handle.

Yes, it seems that this weapons-grade douchebag is now completely straight after only three weeks in rehab. Yay! From Prom Queen to Queen of the Ex-gays in less than a month. Why, that's so unbelievable it's almost sci-fi!

Next stop: Mars. I understand they need women.

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Whitey Please!

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[Honestly, they don't all look alike unless you've never looked at any.]

* * *

Sure, Will Smith doesn't like being mistaken for Barack Obama now, but when he wins an Oscar for playing him in the movie I bet I know who he'll thank first.
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A Useful Ritual

Sit still in a quiet room.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
Reread old blog entries.
Marvel at their awfulness.
Attain enlightenment.
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My Heartfelt Apologies to Ryan O'Neal

Here's the real Father of the Year.

"[On February 6, 2007] an allegedly drunken dad crashed a car into a pedestrian in Queens - then fled the vehicle, leaving his own injured 3-year-old son behind, police said yesterday.

"Melvis Fabian, 29, had a bottle of whisky stashed in his glove compartment as he drove through Corona with his wife and toddler son at 11:18 p.m. Saturday and smashed their Honda into a parked Nissan at 111th Street and 43rd Avenue.

"The crash pushed the Nissan into Santana Riquevil, 22, who was standing nearby, and pinned the Flushing resident against another car, sources said.

"Fabian then fled, police said.

"Meanwhile, his son, Kevin, who was not strapped into a safety seat, broke several front teeth. Fabian's wife was not injured.

"Fabian turned himself in at the 110th Precinct two hours later.

"Riquevil's right leg was so severely broken, it may have to be amputated."

Damn my liberal heart if I don't feel just as bad for Melvis Fabian as I do for his son, but I think I feel worst of all for poor Santana Riquevil. Only one I don't feel bad for is that stunned bitch who let her man drive drunk. Oh well, at least Mr. Fabian turned himself in; given how quick on the trigger the NYPD's been lately, this story could have had an even worse ending.

What an entire mess, especially since didn't none of it have to happen.

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Crack Claims Another Victim

This from Gothamist:

"NEW YORK -- A 1-year-old baby is in good hands now. But the boy was found dehydrated in his Bronx apartment, where he spent about five days alone with his dead mother, who police say apparently had overdosed.

"The child was discovered Sunday night by relatives who went to the apartment after not hearing from the mother for several days.

"They found Thomasina Gibbs, 28, dead in the foyer of her fourth-floor Bronx apartment.

"The toddler was taken to Jacobi Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

"The Medical Examiner's office is conducting toxicology tests, but police do not suspect foul play.

"Neighbor Lynn Fitzgerald told the New York Post that Gibbs had been trying to kick an addiction to crack and marijuana."

You can be damn sure it was not a marijuana overdose that made an angel of Thomasina Gibbs. Nevertheless, let's all do our best to make sure the same fate doesn't befall the one she left behind.

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Son of Happy Hump Day!

For all their fame and money the majority of celebrities have terrible lives. So why begrudge them a tiny little scrap of happiness before we, their fans, get wind of it and ruin everything?

It seems that two such people found just such a thing. Neighbours, up there in the Hollywood Hills. Maybe they met at a party or a premiere. I mean, the meeting would have been just a formality, since they are each that famous. A balmy night, a bottle of wine, then straight to the mats for the Naughty Pilates. They thought they were being discreet, they thought they were getting away with it, but they thought wrong. We are everywhere.

Or else, y'know, it never happened. In which case, what kind of mass hysteria puts Rachel in bed with Neo? And how would that go? "Does this Matrix make my ass look fat?" "Whoa. We were on a break. Whoa." "Wanna smoke some grass and trash our exes?" "Whoa. Wait, Are we still in character? Whoa."
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Brent Corrigan: A New Chapter

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Well, another first here at the Pop Culture Institute: today I received, via email, an actual press release. It seems notorious gay porn star Brent Corrigan is trying to go legit. Somehow I received word of this, and so I'm happy to report it. In a way, it's like I'm going legit too.

Now showing on YouTube is a trailer for a rock opera created by Eric Svejcar and directed by Ryan J. Davis called "Didn't This Used To Be Fun". At first viewing it appears to be glorifying the twink culture, but the possible message is that a constant round of drugs and partying may be - gasp! - not much good for you. Unlike most "you should do what's good for you" messages, this one is at least sexy, so maybe it'll get its point across.

Mr. Corrigan last appeared on this page in a story about the murder of his business partner and former lover Bryan Charles Kocis. He mentions the event on his blog thusly:

"In light of the tragic events that took place last week and due to the extreme sensitivity and its nature, I have been advised by my attorneys and law enforcement officials in charge of the investigation not to make public comments or statements regarding this very sad and senseless crime.

"When I am again able, I will address the issues surrounding this terrible tragedy. Contrary to what others may have written, we had finalized a settlement with Cobra Video and Bryan regarding the civil lawsuit. The settlement documents were signed and all parties were looking forward to moving on to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Please pay your respects to Bryan Kocis, his family and friends. It is time to show them all the love and support you have shown me."

I am eagerly awaiting such a statement, and I will be republishing it here when it does appear.

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God Save The Queens

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"Queen Elizabeth II marked the 400th anniversary of Amsterdam's English Reformed Church, the oldest English speaking congregation outside Britain, in a low key visit to the Netherlands Monday. The British monarch, dressed in a plum coat with a burgundy coloured hat with plum coloured flowers, attended a one-hour church service together with the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix.

"The English Reformed Church is housed in a 16th century chapel in central Amsterdam donated to the English Protestant community by the city in 1607. The church held its first English-language service on February 5, 1607 and services continued regularly with only a short interruption during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

"Monday's service featured hymn singing and reading from the Bible and a sermon by Reverend Alan McDonald, the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. Churchgoers said the service was very simple and the only difference from a regular Sunday was the fact that the church sang "God Save the Queen" at the end. Over 38 nationalities from different Christian denominations attend the English speaking church's services and on Sunday its 450 seats are nearly full.

"In his sermon McDonald stressed "the double identity and the dual nationality" of the church but insisted "this is not an historical place, we are not a museum".

"The question is: Where are you now, where are you going?" he said.

"The congregation is part of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) and not the Church of England (Anglican), which Queen Elizabeth II officially heads. However, the monarch does attend services with the Church of Scotland when she is in Scotland. Ministers from the English Reformed Church have been invited to preach in the chapel of the British royal's Balmoral Castle. Even though the English Church -- known locally as the Engelse Kerk -- has been led for the last 17 years by Scottish pastor John Cowie, it presents itself as "ecumenical and international".

"This is one of the major characteristics of the congregation: this is not an expat congregation, we have very strong links with the Dutch society," Cowie said. "Half of the congregation is being renewed every five years, but it keeps growing, which is a far cry from the situation in the UK parishes," he added.

After the service the British queen will meet some of the modern day worshippers and Amsterdam city officials at a private reception at the neighbouring Amsterdam Historical Museum, which is hosting an exhibition on the church's 400th anniversary. She is expected to fly back to London on Monday evening.

Earlier on Monday the queen also paid a brief visit to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, presided over by British judge Rosalyn Higgins. The queen met the judges and their partners and members of the registry. There were no speeches at the court as the queen had said she was just interested in meeting the people.

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Blog Fodder - RIP Picture Card

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That's right, I destroyed the 512 MB memory card I'd been using in my camera. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Fortunately I still have the old 256 MB; unfortunately it just will not do, even for a week. So tomorrow I guess it's down to the shops for a 1 GB card. I'd been meaning to get one anyway, but the 512MB card was pretty functional, so I was waiting before getting the larger capacity.

The wait is over... And once again comes progress in the wake of my own stupidity. If that's all it takes I should make quite a lot of progress.
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Father of the Year: The Ryan O'Neal Story

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[Look out! It's 3-D Ryan O'Neal! Don't get too close!]

One of the most indelible images of the 1980s for me was a picture of Griffin O'Neal grinning without his two front teeth.

Now, this was not a tow-headed little sprite but a grown man, who'd just had his teeth knocked out by his father, Ryan O'Neal. It was quite a story, though in those days the celebrity press was pretty much just "Entertainment Tonight" and "People Weekly". It could have spawned a discussion in society about the treatment of children by adults, but it didn't. The scandal passed after a couple of weeks without leaving too much of an impression, although it left one on me. Since this was more or less how my father behaved, I would follow such stories when they (too rarely) appeared.

It was 15 years later, in 2003, that I discovered "Paper Moon" on DVD, and a new, earlier chapter of the story came to light. Apparently Ryan campaigned Peter Bogdanovich to cast Tatum in the roll of Addie in "Paper Moon", but got jealous of the attention Tatum got for the role (which is, by the way, entirely deserved) once the movie was released. Throughout the film, as well, Ryan's character has a powerful antipathy towards Addie that could possibly be grounded in his own real-life insecurity.

Then, a couple of years ago, reading Tatum O'Neal's memoirs "A Paper Life", I felt a chill as she described her father's behaviour toward her the night she won an Oscar for "Paper Moon" and he didn't. She claims not to recall him punching her, yet right or wrong the story persists, probably because the truth has yet to come to light.

And so here the story comes to a third act. Ryan O'Neal has been arrested for pulling a gun on Griffin, and this time is off to the jailhouse. Since he and Tatum are long-estranged, maybe newly-in-remission longtime galpal Farrah Fawcett will be there for him in his moment of need, as I doubt Griffin will be.

Despite having given this post a very judgmental title, and an ambivalence for celebrities besides, it is my sincere wish that Ryan somehow comes to terms with his own rage and the damage it has done to his children, not to mention his life. As someone who struggles with rage issues, I know how easily anger can destroy lives, and I hope this is his wake-up call. I hope he gets the help he requires to make peace with the ones he's hurt (beginning with himself) before it's too late.

Even if it does turn out that Griffin was to blame for starting the altercation, pulling a gun on your own son? Who does Ryan O'Neal think he is, anyway, James Caan?

[The preceding was an anecdotal remembrance of a series of events. It may be unclear in places and contain inaccuracies; should you the reader note any, please don't hesitate to contact me so I can make the necessary corrections.)
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Do Not Adjust Your Set

On a whim Sunday evening I stopped in at Chapter's. I got Jake Arnott's "The Long Firm" about a gay male gangster in 1960s London (a la Ronnie Kray), and "Do Not Adjust Your Set". The following article describes the thing better than I ever could.

I must say, it's nice to see children's television that doesn't talk down to its audience. There's very little difference between "Do Not Adjust Your Set" and "Not The Nine O'Clock News", except that the former eschews an occasional naughty word and political satire where the latter revels in it. It also, in a way, prefigures "You Can't Do That On Television", which, sadly, has yet to be released on DVD, but which would be much appreciated.

(Catch "You Can't Do That on Television" while you can on YouTube. Who knows? "Do Not Adjust Your Set" might be there too.)

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Do Not Adjust Your Set UK, ITV (Rediffusion, *Thames), Children's sketch, b/w, 1967 Starring: Denise Coffey, Eric Idle, David Jason

At Last The 1948 Show led directly to Monty Python's Flying Circus and so, in equal measure, did Do Not Adjust Your Set , a children's show of inspired sketches and skits featuring the combined - and then still largely unknown - talents of Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. It also propelled a decidedly untried young actor into television: David Jason, discovered by producer Humphrey Barclay in an end-of-the-pier show in Eastbourne. The fifth member of the team, by no means the least, was Denise Coffey, a versatile and naturally funny comic actress whom Barclay spotted in a play at the Edinburgh Festival.

As producer of the excellent BBC radio sketch comedy I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, starring John Cleese and all three of what would become The Goodies, Barclay was invited by Rediffusion executive Jeremy Isaacs to produce, along similar lines, a witty TV show for children. (The title Do Not Adjust Your Set came from the standard fault card screened during TV breakdowns - still a common sight in the late 1960s; I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again had been titled from the standard newsreaders' apology on radio.)

The key to the show's success was Barclay's decision to produce the funniest comedy he could, irrespective of the age of the viewer. The tea-time scheduling was not overlooked, but neither did it govern the material, avoiding the most common pitfall of children's TV: the patronising attitude. Idle, Palin and Jones kept this creed firmly in mind and generated some terrific material that was satirical, surreal, absurdist and even, at times, macabre. When a sketch was felt too risqué for the hour it was simply set aside for future use elsewhere. Inevitably, Do Not Adjust Your Set quickly amassed a cult following, many adults finding excuses to leave work early and rush home for the 5.20pm transmissions. It also won a major international award, the Prix Jeunesse, in Munich in 1968.

Subtitled 'The Fairly Pointless Show', Do Not Adjust Your Set was strong in every department. Every edition featured a musical interlude by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Likened by Denise Coffey to 'Spike Jones and his City Slickers on speed', the Bonzos were terrific value, their lead singer Viv Stanshall, one of the great British eccentrics, never failing to create an impression. (The band also helped out in some of the sketches.) The final few editions treated viewers to the work of a young American artist new to British TV, Terry Gilliam, who provided drawings. Another bonus was a weekly serial, Captain Fantastic, which featured David Jason as a bowler-hatted, old-raincoated and moustachioed superhero trying to rid the world of the evil Mrs Black (Denise Coffey). Such was its popularity, Captain Fantastic enjoyed a life of its own, new episodes being incorporated into Thames' children's magazine Magpie from its premiere on 30 July 1968. (Thames also took over DNAYS when it won the franchise from Rediffusion.)

Five months after Do Not Adjust Your Set came to an end BBC1 launched Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.


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Blog Fodder - The Denver Colts

Blog Fodder is a new department devoted to those times when I do something stupid. I expect Blog Fodder will not only become our most productive department, but our most popular as well. - MSM

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(Indianapolis Colts quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning, doing one of those things they do with that ball they use.)

At dinner Saturday night with Seumas and the eight musicians composing Oran nan Car I was determined to impress. I'd brought all my witty banter in the most sparkly handbag I had, and I was doing pretty good as well until talk turned to the topic of the Super Bowl. I knew it was Bears/Colts, and I knew that the Bears (dah BEARSS!) are from Chicago.

I have no idea how many times I said Denver Colts before I was gently corrected.

Oh well... At least the Indianapolis Colts managed to win despite my gaffe, and that's the important thing. Unless, of course, you're a fan of the Bears. (dah BEARSS!) It scarcely needs to be said that I am a fan of the bears (dah BEARSS!), the twinks (dah TWINKSS!), the frat boys (dah FRAT BOYSS!)... I think you get the point; too bad I don't.

WHOA! Watch out for that tangent!
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Say Hullo To Queen Bea For Us, Ma'am!

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This is the most anticipated meeting of two reigning Queens since the last time my friend Doug came over.


On Monday 5 February 2007, Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will travel to The Netherlands. The programme for their visit is as follows:

The Queen will be met by Queen Beatrix at Rotterdam Zestienhoven Airport.

The Royal party will then visit the International Court of Justice in The Hague where they will be met by Dame Rosalyn Higgins, President.

Meanwhile, The Duke of Edinburgh will attend a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme engagement. Afterwards, The Royal party will attend a service and reception marking the four hundredth anniversary of the English Church in Amsterdam.

Cor, sounds like a ripping afternoon, don' it?"

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Happy 100th Post!

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Once again I feel like the hangover victim who wakes up after a wild night and swears "Never again." Only since I'm not a drinker, my hangover comes from writing about politics. Because this kind of hangover has no physiological side effects, it also takes a damn sight longer to go away.

Since her recent death from cancer I've been rereading Molly Ivins' "Who Let The Dogs In?", hoping to capture that special quality of whimsy in the face of politics which was her hallmark, and which should temper the more inflammatory impulses I must have gleaned from Carl Hiaasen. Perhaps I should also look into Sarah Vowell before I read any Christiane Amanpour.

I'm tempted to write about Eliot Spitzer next, but I need to marshal my resources more thoroughly before deigning to criticize another big liberal hero. Maybe I'll find a Republican to pick on next - that shouldn't be too difficult. Or else I need to visit my shrink, Dr. Panza, and investigate my need to tilt at windmills.

* * *

Further to that, things here in Pop Culture land are otherwise coming along swimmingly. I have just had tags explained to me - slowly and with the big words removed - so I will be hard at work this week adding tags to all my posts. I'm still a ways off when it comes to links, as well as posting audio, but I must remember my baby steps. It looks like video will be an easier thing to do, so look for that in the days ahead.

It's a fine line you tread when attempting comedy, and without a doubt when I'm wearing my Dayton's that fine line gets pretty well obliterated. But I want to be a better person and a better writer (most days even in that order) so it's back to work for me - only not just yet. I think I'll treat myself to an afternoon off while honing my smartass skills by watching one of my all-time favourite movies "Stage Door" (1937).
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I Want Her Job

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Blah blah blah Macy's Herald Square blah blah blah. Blah Elizabeth Hurley blah Jordache blah blah. Blah blah blah, MILF blah blah, blah circle jerk.
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And Now For The Good News...

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My First Scandal!

(The origin of this piece is a reply to a comment made on the previous post. Once published it was clear to me that the length the piece needed to be was going to be longer than suitable for the Comments section. Also, given the importance of the issues and their current place in the public debate, I made a unilateral decision to elevate them to a position of greater prominence - namely the front page.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I am honour-bound to report that earlier today I received an anonymous comment regarding the previous post, "Boring Old Sex Scandal". It was brought to my attention that I had inadvertantly published a factual inaccuracy: I said Gavin Newsom was married which he is not. Obviously, I immediately corrected the error, and (like I said the last time this happened, and will probably say the next time) I will endeavour to do better about fact-checking in the future.

The comment also mentioned that since Mr. Newsom is not married, he was not cheating. Once again, this is a matter of semantics. I say aiding and abetting a cheater is cheating. Had it not been cheating he also wouldn't have had to apologise. I will give the man credit though, since loads of people have done lots worse and never apologised at all.

The comment likewise took umbrage (albeit the gentlest kind) with my opinion of Mr. Newsom's character. I stand by my opinion of him, as well as my original assessment of the unlawful and heavy-handed way he approached the issue of same-sex marriage. Besides having to essentially declare San Francisco a city-state to do it, I believe his methods hurt the cause more than helped it. Given how touchy (and powerful) its opponents are, poking them with a stick won't win us any allies.

I also felt that he was using us - the gay male community - as a diversion for his real agenda of grabbing more autonomy for the city. That's fine, do that, I wish the entire world would devolve into city-states overnight. But I am sick of being made the villain - yet again! - because it happens to be both politically expedient and easily spun to satisfy liberal consciences.

Factual inaccuracy, enough tinder to start a raging debate on the nature of cheating, the rearing ugly head of a second even more politically charged issue, and a flamboyant character assassination; not bad for six sentences. In no time flat I'll be appearing before the Grand Jury having to explain why Renee Zellweger wants me dead.

Also, as much as I love receiving comments, I never publish them if they're anonymous. Nothing personal.

(As an aside to you, whoever you are: can I thank you for your manners, or should I thank your mother? It's such a terrible time now, with most discourse being reduced to so much ugliness. Your comment gave my post more honour than it deserved, since I will agree that, in the name of humour I may have been a tiny bit more outrageous than I needed to be. Probably if you'd been negative I would have gotten that way too, and that's where the problem arises, both personally and societally. I'd like to thank you, a total stranger, for helping me earn another little something towards my own self-actualisation. - MSM)
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boring Old Sex Scandal

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San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, one-time Democratic golden boy and future pop culture flame-out, has apologised for having an affair with the wife of an aide. Given his constituency, this story could have had a happy ending, but no. He cheated with a woman. I never get what I want.

I could make some kind of snide comment about how obviously sacred marriage is to heterosexuals (as opposed to we folk) but even I wouldn't kick a dog when he's down. It's enough for me to know that somewhere a grandstanding egomaniacal pretty boy is getting his comeuppance.
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Chute The Dog

This from Jen Chung, over at Gothamist...

"A 5 month old puppy was dropped in a trash chute by his owner during an argument. The Daily News reported that ex-con Anthony Blow had been arguing with Robin Hines and threatened, "You don't think I will do it?" before dropping the pit bull terrier mix through the chute seven stories. Hines called the police, who managed to rescue the dog after breaking into the compactor room.

"Sergeant Rick Khalaf said, "The trash was knee-deep on the floor. Rats were running everywhere, and then we saw him. He was encased in garbage, surrounded by bottles, food and the metal edges of cans, and just looked like he wanted to say, 'Hello everybody.' It could have been a terrible death." The dog who only suffered a couple scratches was renamed Lucky and another officer, Andrew Dorsett, offered to adopt him, saying, "I just couldn't see him spending his life in a shelter and possibly being put down."

"Blow was arrested. Since Lucky is deaf (!), Blow was charged "abandonment of a disabled animal" as well as other animal cruelty charges. Blow also allegedly said about throwing Lucky away, "It's my property and I can do what I want with it."

Karma being the bitch it is, something tells me there's another chute about to be dogged. Enjoy your stay at Riker's Island, Mr. Blow.
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