Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Weirdest, Gayest Things You'll See & Hear This Week

Another quickie music post. The Pixies have a new album out and a new video for their single 'Bagboy.' Both are exceptionally weird and wonderful. Alt music fans have been loving these guys since the mid-80's and there's a reason they're still around. Yes, the song is very weird, but it's still oddly compelling.

And while Industrial Rockers Nine Inch Nails may well have an Oscar-winning frontman, the video for their new single, 'Came Back Haunted' is directed by none other than David Lynch and comes with a warning for photosensitive epileptics. Lynch's films range from absurdist philosophy (Eraserhead; Lost Highway) to haunting drama (The Elephant Man). I'd want him to direct my music video, too.

And finally, proof that most Str8 boys are just a six-pack* away from being gay. These drunken frat boys aren't afraid to do let their disco shine.


Bagboy:



Come Back Haunted:



Str8 Boys' Gay Catwalk:



*I bet you were expecting this.

More, anon.
Prospero
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Friday, June 28, 2013

A Few More Thoughts on SCOTUS

The FRC's New Logo. 'call 2 fail'
Hahahahahahaha! On your right is the Family Research Council's response to Wednesday's landmark SCOTUS decisions regarding LGBT rights. And while I will get to the graphic and the slogan in just a bit, I have to ask these morons one question. Assuming there is a "God;" an invisible Supreme Being who is watching everything we do; answering the deserving prayers of the Just... oh. There it is. Don't you think that if God agreed with you (i.e. thought of you as 'Just'), he would have answered your prayers and swayed SCOTUS with some deus ex machina move of some sort? I mean, I don't know - He could have appeared to Justice Sotomayor in a dream as George Burns (or Charleton Heston) and told her she would burn in hell if she didn't stop the satanic queers from destroying an institution which existed long before any currently recognized religion. God answers the prayers of the Righteous and the Just, right? Or maybe Satan is finally winning the war between Good and Evil (The Force is strong with this one..).

No? God's stronger than Satan, isn't He? Or... oh, you're not gonna like this idea, FOXNews viewers -- What if... what if God was answering the prayers of all the good, loving people who knew that this had nothing to do with Him and everything to do with what's right and what's Constitutional. What if God wanted us to win? Where does that leave you? Certainly not joining your loving deity on a higher plane of existence. Don't worry, there'll be plenty of sulfur to cover the smell of you constantly pooping yourself in hell.

And as for the ridiculous FRC graphic and motto... "On our knees for America?" Seriously? We've been there and will go there again, you morons. "I'm in." That's what he said! And the graphic was obviously designed by someone who's spent more than a few hours in an airport and/or Macy's restroom (not that I would have any first-hand knowledge of that... ). The dopes at FRC need a new advertising staff. Or brains equipped with reason and basic human compassion.

Here's a terrific Superclip (via) of Wednesday's events:



And making me even happier, the Senate n my native state passed a bill banning "Conversion (or Reparative) Therapy for minors. It now awaits centrist Republican Governor Christie's signature. Christie, who took full advantage of POTUS' support after Superstorm Sandy, has previously vetoed a house and senate approved bill for Marriage Equality in NJ, saying he'd rather put it to popular vote. And he has responding negatively to Wednesday's decisions. Local scuttlebutt says that even Christie knows how damaging such 'therapy' can be and expect New Jersey to join California in preventing young LGBTQ people from being subjected to the lies, fear and guilt these programs instill in them. 

As for the events of this past Wednesday... Yes, a major victory was achieved but the fight's hardly over. It's a State by State battle now, with a goal of full national Equality within 5 years. I don't see that as unattainable, no mater how many states are dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. I'm sorry so many who would have loved to see this day are gone, but I'm so happy for those who no longer have to live without rights that were previously denied us. No child born after today will ever have to feel ignored by his or her leaders because of who he or she is, or who his or her parents are.

We are no longer 'Less Than' in the eyes of our government. We will never be so again. That's a good thing.

More, anon.
Prospero
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Music Quickie: Father Tiger

Greg Delson and John Russell are Father Tiger

MUST get to bed early (or at least earlier), so I hadn't planned on posting at all tonight.

That was of course, until I came across the video I am about to share. I'd only encountered Father Tiger one other time* before coming across this clip on Towleroad tonight. And I was very pleasantly surprised.

'First Love' is an instantly infectious song with a decidedly danceable 80's vibe and an absolutely charming video featuring the adorable Father Tiger frontmen: Greg Delson and John Russell. Please don't ask me which is which - I don't know but I'm sure everyone will know soon. Especially if they keep putting out stuff this fun and timely:



*The first time I saw/heard them was in their homoerotic competition video for their Rockabilly single "Head Hung Low" (embedded below) and thought "Hmmm." Of course, after hearing/seeing 'First Love,' I revisited the former and am now officially declaring myself a fan:



I think I may have been too distracted to appreciate the music, the first time I saw that... Watch it again, but listen to the song, this time.

But it was their cover of Adele's 'Set Fire to the Rain' that sealed the deal for Uncle P:



Reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys; Yaz; The Psychedelic Furs and any other number of 80's groups and singers, Father Tiger is the essence of pop music, with some decidedly timely messages thrown in for measure. I adore these guys and wish (and predict) only good things for them!

Love, love, LOVE these boys! I am adding Father Tiger to my Amazon Wishlist as soon as I finish this post. Which is now.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Adele / Cute Boys / Father Tiger / Fun / Love Is Love / Marriage Equality / Music / Music Video / New Music / The 80's with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/new-music-quickie-father-tiger.html. Thanks!
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Gayest Thing Every One Has Seen This Week

Most LGBTQ bloggers have been reporting and commenting for several hours since SCOTUS' rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8. And yes, I am thrilled - No - beyond thrilled by today's rulings. We're one step closer to joining the 21st Century and the rest of the countries already there. But unlike most bloggers, I've all had all day to ponder and digest amidst the celebrating. 

Now, I know I've mentioned Alvin Toffler and his 1970 book "Future Shock" and the subsequent 1972 documentary (narrated by Orson Welles) based on it. I was 13 years old when I (along with all my classmates) was shown Future Shock in our Health Studies class (taught begrudgingly by our Phys Ed teachers). The premise is that technology is moving so fast, humans can't keep up and will eventually suffer from Information Overload (a term Toffler created, by the way) and civilization as we know it will break down into chaos. Of course, humans invent and create technology, which makes the concept absurd. 

Anyway... as part of the 'collapse of society' section of the movie, there was a scene where two men get married in a church. My classmates all giggled and hooted. I did, too. I mean, I knew I was gay by then, but the idea seemed silly. That of course, was part of the shame I was feeling about who I was, but I as 13. Who isn't ashamed of themselves for something at 13? I spent an inordinate amount of time being ashamed... as do many of us. Then, with some help, I stopped being ashamed and found out I really had no reason to be. And once I stopped, it seemed like the whole world changed. And just kept on changing.

Flash-forward several decades and I'm on the board of an organization that raises funds for people afflicted by HIV/AIDS & Arts Education; Anti-Bullying and Suicide Prevention charities. I am out to everyone at the Day Job (without having had to out myself and no one caring) and I write openly here and on Facebook about who I am and the things in which I believe (and don't believe) and I don't care who has a problem with it. I have yet to lose a real-life or Facebook friend over any of my opinions or beliefs and if I did, they weren't my friends in the first place and good riddance to bad rubbish.

I have been very clear about stance on Marriage Equality from the beginning and today feels like... well, it feels like I may actually see the day when my friends and I (and those who will come after) can never again be made to feel (in the words of Dustin Lance Black) "Less than." Make no mistake, this is the beginning of the end of one of the last Civil Rights movements in the U.S. I will be so happy to say "Goodbye" to Bryan Fischer; Brian Brown; Maggie Gallagher; Pat Robertson, at al when they die and fade into obscurity, their over-stayed 15 minutes reduced to a very brief footnote: "These idiots were wrong and they lost."

But we can't get overly excited, just yet...

There is still ignorance, bigotry and hate. Crimes against gay men in Manhattan in the past few weeks alone have been more than alarming and crime against trans people continues to rise. We have a long way to go. I said I couldn't wait to say goodbye, because those idiots aren't going away or shutting up anytime soon. They'll be at until they croak, even when they're only left listening to one another.  The churches will still lie and cover-up their bigotry. I won't be around to see it, but they will lose all relevance, too.

Rational Secular Humanism is on the rise and while superstition still rules much of the east, reason reigns in the world's civilized countries (at least, I hope it does - it sure seems like it does, anyway). There are still bullies and families that ostracize their gay kids and preachers who want to exorcise the gay demons. There are still men and women in positions of power (ecumenical; secular; educational & governmental) who believe that I have made a conscious choice to disobey the natural order; that I am unnatural. I am evil, simply because I am attracted to other men. To these people, regardless of what the 5 have said today is true and fair, will always think of me as "Less Than." And not that I care what those people think. Hardly. I know they are wrong. Still, it makes me sad when fear repels truth.

Of course, still not having found "The One" (in fact, I'm beginning to doubt the existence of "The One"), it's unlikely that today's rulings will ever really have an impact on me, personally. At Uncle P's age, the odds are not in one's favor. Of course, I keep trying. I've had both wonderful and awful experiences (T comes to mind as the most recent of the latter - and no, no details on any of that, thanks), but I keep hoping. And that's what today is really about. Hope for the future. Hope for a time when superstition and fear are eradicated, like the diseases they are.

I know... such a downer for such a great day, right? Well, here are some things about today that made me smile and cry in good ways:



Weeping again...



Go, Nancy! Go, Nancy! It's your birthday! Go, Nancy!



Thank you, Mr. President!

In my lifetime I've witnessed a lot of history. The Moonlanding. Kent State. Nixon Resigning. The Iran Hostages. The Fall of the Berlin Wall. Operation Desert Storm. 9/11. Operation Iraqi Freedom. AIDS; Avian Flu; SARS; MRSA; E-bola; Anita Bryant; Leonard Malkovitch; Harvey Milk; Computers; The Internet; Daniel Choi; Ellen Degeneres; Lance Bass; Ricky Martin. 

Today, though.... Today was a day I honestly thought I'd never live to see. Today I witnessed justice and the upholding of the self-evident truth that "All men are (indeed) created equal..." Today was a ginormous step in the right direction, for all the right reasons. Today was just as historic as each and every one of the events I've cited, all of which continue to lead towards the ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" so wisely envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. When the Tea Party is joke gotten only by historians and a POTUS and his First Husband live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I won't be here to gloat at the haters, so I'm doing so in advance. 

Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah!

Suck it, haters! (Even though you know you've secretly longed to do just that, anyway). Read a book by a reputable author, losers. I mean, if prayer worked, don't you think you might have won? Nope. If there is a 'god,' She hates you for hating me. But don't worry... it's a dry heat.

Stay strong, stay truthful and stay visible. Never stop fighting the bullies, folks. You will always win.

More, anon.
Brian
You have read this article Gay / History / Joy / LGBT / LGBT Rights / LGBTQ / Marriage Equality / Politics / Prop 8 / SCOTUS / The Future / The Gayest Thing / Win! with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-gayest-thing-every-one-has-seen.html. Thanks!
Monday, June 24, 2013

Visit My New Blog: 'Malaprop Mom'



I may be insane, but I'm trying  to do yet another blog, inspired by my very inspirational and very funny mother.

I won't be posting there nearly as much as here, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do. Like just now, for instance. You should go visit MalapropMom now, if you know what's good for you! Go on, click the link. You know you want to.

You don't get dessert until you go here: http://prosperosmother.blogspot.com/

Just you wait until your father gets home! 

Don't you dare give me that face!

I'm calling the police!

Wait... what? 

I love my my Mom. Hope you will to.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Blogging / Crazy / Funny / Malaprop Mom / My Mother / New Blog / Silly with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/visit-my-new-blog-mom.html. Thanks!
Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Weirdest Nonsense You'll See This Week, Among Other Things

Lots of good things going on this weekend, including the fact that I will be able to audition for a show in which I very much want to take part (my upcoming Day Job trip to the City on the Lake is the same weekend as regular auditions and the producers have graciously agreed to see me early. Yay!) Last night I had a great time at the movies with a friend and while today saw the usual Sunday tasks, none of them were particularly stressful and I got to enjoy plenty of time to decompress. So even though it is the end of the weekend, I'm still in a really good mood.

Of course, there's almost nothing that puts me in a better mood than a bit of good, old-fashioned nonsense. And it just so happens that Jonco, over at Bits And Pieces shared plenty of nonsense today, and I wanted to share some of it with you. 

First is something called "Face Folding" The Daily Dot (I've never heard of it, either) says 'Face Folding Turns Every Movie Into a Horror.' Honestly, I'm not sure I agree with that, especially when they use clips from Sci-Fi and Fantasy films and manipulate actors' voices to illustrate their point. The effect is sometimes creepy, but more often just... Extraterrestrial.





And there's this delightfully hilarious bit of editing nonsense that had Uncle P quite literally LOL'ing more than once. Enjoy:



It was the IRL QWOP clip (link has NSFW language) that got me started giggling uncontrollably. The rest was just more fuel for the fire.

In "Only in America" News: The County Fair at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, California held it's annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Beagle/Boxer Winner Walle gets his owner $1500.00 and national TV appearances. I guess it's a good thing that these poor doggies have no idea they're ugly.



Finally, among other things and on an only semi-nonsensical point, if you're a regular then you know the only Reality/Talent show I watch is AGT (a guilty pleasure, to be sure). Well, for the first time in a very long time, I have an early favorite. Kenichi Ebina is a rather amazing dancer and I can see him moving on to the finals (though not sure this early that he can win - no dancers ever have).



Hoping your week stays silly (in the good way, of course). I, for one, will be seeking a shrubbery. A nice one with a path down the middle so you get a lovely two-level effect (ooh - what a give-away!).


More, anon.
Prospero

PS - I love how meta this post turned out, even if it's only meta to me.
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review -- 5 For & 5 Against: "This Is the End"

This Is the End, Featuring Everyone
If you read my pity party post last weekend, then you you'll be glad to know that yes, I am over it. Part of that has to do with not only how quickly the work week seemed to go despite how slow we are, right now (Oh, don't worry - this is our regular slow season; this particular NPO isn't going away any time soon). And while I did just as much yard work (if not more) today as I did last weekend, I also got to actually see a Summer movie that was on my list, and spend some time with my friend, Mike. Again, the movie's been out for a week and a half, the big reviews are out and any spoilers I might spoil have already been leaked (though I promise to alert you to them as always).

While there have been movies about the End of the World for almost as long as there have been movies, it seems to me that comedies about the End are few and far between. Last year's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was less than hilarious, though 2009's Zombieland was very much so. Kubrick's comedic genius is quite evident in 1964's Dr. Strangelove and Roman Polanski's 1967 horror-comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers does end with the vampires taking over the world. Then there's Ivan Reitman's 2001 alien invasion comedy Evolution. Basically a Sci-Fi re-hash of Ghostbusters and a massive fail, Evolution  could have been so much better than it was, though I don't know of anyone who remembers seeing this movie, but me and my friend Laura. So that's five off the top of my head... if I'm missing any, please let me know.

Based on an NSFW short film/faux trailer made by stars Seth Rogan (doing his best MacCauley Caulkin in the photo above) and Jay Baruchel called Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse (see it here - again, NSFW), This Is the End is an End-of-the-World Stoner Comedy featuring every young(ish) comedy star working today, playing and parodying themselves. James Franco; Jonah Hill; Danny McBride; Craig Roberston; Michael Cera; Emma Watson; Mindy Kaling; Christopher Mintz-Plasse; Paul Rudd; Aziz Ansari and the Backstreet Boys make up just some of the dozens of celebrities who find themselves facing an apparently Biblical Apocalypse, complete with the Rapture. Mike and I both liked This Is the End, though he more than me. Here are my 5 For and 5 Against, this time starting with 5 Against:

5 Against:

5. Danny McBride remains as annoying as he always is in every thing I've ever seen him in. And while the movie is constructed to make us hate him, I always hate him. He's rarely, if ever, funny.

4. The movie's second act, despite including an hysterically bad home-made sequel to Pineapple Express, drags a bit. Co-directed by Rogan and Evan Goldberg (Superbad; The Green Hornet), the two just don't seem to know when a joke has run out of steam.

3. SPOILER (highlight to view) -  Urine drinking! Ugh!

2. Again, why include jokes/scenes/visuals in the trailer which don't end up on screen? 

1. While giving some memorable performances, Aziz Ansari and Paul Rudd are terribly under-used. Especially Paul Rudd, who is never even given the chance to be naked. Paul Rudd should be naked at least once in every movie in which he appears (though is seems like he usually is). I know that at my sweet (and quite unsane like me) Mia would agree. Admit it... you do, too. Oh, Paul...

5 For:

5. The well-executed, occasionally cringe-worthy and quite often hilarious CGI.

4. Well-used isual and dialog references from Ghostbusters; Left Behind; The Exorcist; Jurassic Park; Rosemary's Baby and probably dozens more apocalyptic movies.

3. Rhianna gets swallowed into the Abyss.

2. SPOILER (highlight to view) -  Heaven Has Roller Coasters!!!

1. Michael Cera, delivering the movie's funniest performance as what is essentially the 'Anti-Cera.' The scene where Baruchel walks in on Cera in Franco's bathroom is the most uncomfortable belly-laugh you can imagine. And it just gets more hysterically offensive as it progresses.

The very 'Hard R' rated comedy is probably the funniest comedy I've seen in a while. **1/2 (Two and a Half Out of Four Stars). This Is the End is rated 'R' for Apocalyptic Violence; Gore; Language; Sexual Situations; Male Genitalia; Drug Use and Gross-Out Humor. 

And once again, as with the last movie I saw with Mike, there was an very inappropriately aged child brought in by (presumably) his parents. What the...?!?! Have fun explaining all the sexual references the adults found funny to your 9-year old and telling him not to use profanity, a-holes. Then call Family Services and relinquish your parental rights, because you are horrible parents.



More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Apocalypse / Comedy / Demons / End of the World / Fake Trailers / Horror Comedy / James Franco / MIke / Movies / Nonsense / Religion / Reviews / Seth Rogan with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/review-5-for-5-against-is-end.html. Thanks!
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Let's Play "Foodie, A-hole, Racist or Jerk!"

Eat This, Y'all
Wow. The Food Network continues to prove that their talent bookers have issues with vetting their stars. Their first scandal involved British chef Robert Irvine and his claims that he cooked for the Queen. That turned out to be a lie and Irvine was fired (though hired back again after he proved to be a fan favorite). Then 'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten refused to cook with a cancer-stricken child whose Make-A-Wish wish was to do just that. Soon after, douchebag extraordinaire, Guy Fieri, was outed as a sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic creep who can't look a woman in the eyes. And last week, photos of sexy British chef Nigella Lawson hit the web, being choked in public by her husband.

Today it was revealed that the network's most beloved star, butter-loving diabetic Paula Deen (pictured above) is a racist. Yup! During testimony in a civil trial, Deen admitted that she not only regularly uses the "N" word, but had actually hoped to plan a wedding using African-American wait staff pretending to be slaves

Holy crap! What the hell is wrong with the talent bookers at Food Network? They certainly don't seem to be doing a good job making sure their stars are worthy of stardom. If I were a Food Network exec, I'd be loosing my mind right about now. 

Can you imagine Julia Child embroiled in such a scandal? I know I can't. 

I have always had an issue with many of the people Americans venerate as "stars," especially in the age of so-called 'Reality TV.'  When chefs like Child; Friedman 'Chef Tell' Erhardt and Grahame Kerr made their marks on TV in the 70's, the world was a different place and any scandals in which they may have been involved (though I doubt there were any), weren't fodder for the Internet and anyone with a PC to see. They were about the food, and their quirky and delightful presentations.

Wanna be famous? Want adoring fans and tons of money for hosting a show or making public appearances? Then you better make sure you have nothing to hide. In the Information Age, everything is public and you'd better be prepared to face the consequences of your unsavory past. Or at least make sure that either your past isn't unsavory or be willing to embrace your unsavory past with grace and aplomb. 

Here's to your heart attack, y'all!



Let's not get into Deen's son Bobby and all the rumors about his sexuality (I'm no Perez Hilton) for now. I'm just asking that you be aware that the 'celebrity' you love, may not be the perfect person you might like to think he or she is.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Bigotry / Cooking / Food / Food Network / Homophobia / Hypocrites / Nonsense / Paula Deen / Racism / Reality TV / Scandal / TV with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/let-play-hole-racist-or-jerk.html. Thanks!
Monday, June 17, 2013

Everything That's Wrong (And a Little Bit Right) with Broadway Today

Esther Hannaford and friend in King Kong Live
Ever since Rogers and Hammerstein created the first true 'book musical' (Oklahoma!) in 1946, the genre has been about telling stories with songs and dances which actually advanced the plot. Over the years, there have been many innovations to and variations of that concept. Personally, I find most musicals written before 1967 to be colossal bores; dated, silly, naive and supremely indicative of the times in which they were written (I said 'most,' not 'all' - there are exceptions to every rule, even mine). 

In 1967, Rado and Ragni's Tribal Rock musical Hair changed everything. Musicals (despite R&H's anti-racist South Pacific) became socially relevant. Their stories and songs did more than entertain, providing avenues of social comment and discourse. The 70's brought us shows like Pippin; A Little Night Music; Chicago; A Chorus Line and Working. Broadway finally had something to say. The 80's continued the trend with Evita, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon. They also brought us the show that would start the trend of musical spectacles, the amazingly still-running Andrew Lloyd-Weber version of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera. A falling chandelier; a mechanical elephant and grand staircase filled with outrageously costumed characters started the trend of the Broadway Spectacle. Of course, in the 90's Disney invaded Broadway with director Julie Taymor's wildly successful production of The Lion King and there's been no going back. Ever since, Broadway musicals have gotten more and more elaborate, requiring more spectacle, more effects and bigger stunts. Stephen Schwartz's hilarious 2003 Steampunk adaptation of Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked sealed the deal and the shows have gotten bigger and more outrageous ever since. See Taymor's ridiculous Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for prime examples of modern Broadway's excess.

In development for over five years, the new musical King Kong Live saw its world premiere in Melbourne last month and from all accounts, the show is a quantifiable hit, extending it's initial limited run Down Under through August. Featuring an 18 feet + tall gorilla puppet and a decidedly anachronistic score (you can listen to parts of some of the songs here), King Kong Live is slated for Broadway sometime in 2014/15. 

I get it. Tech-savvy 21st Century audiences expect more for their theatre dollars. If I'm spending $110 or more for a ticket, I want to be wowed too. But where does it end? Transformers The Musical? Ironman Sings? Godzilla!? The original 1933 King Kong may well be the movie that made me love movies, but will King Kong Live be the show that ends my love affair with the Broadway musical? I certainly hope not.



Wow! That's certainly impressive. And while I would love to see the show (assuming I can actually afford the ticket price), I am much more excited to see Neil Patrick Harris in the announced revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Broadway may well be 'The Great Invalid,' though spectacles like Kong and Spider-Man may well be the shows that price it out of reach for most folks. My advice to Broadway producers harkens back to that of Henry David Thoreau: Simplify. Audiences are expected to suspend their disbelief. They don't need 18 foot-tall puppets to do that, no matter how amazing they may be.

More, anon.
Prospero
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy Issues

If you met my father or worked with him, you would have thought he was a pretty great guy. Often funny; fairly intelligent; somewhat handy and occasionally a good cook, my dad presented himself as a perfectly decent human being. 

Those of us who lived with him, knew better. A racist, anti-Semitic homophobe who was fascinated by Alexander the Great; Napoleon and Hitler, my father was actually quite a jerk. He cheated on my mother (who foolishly took him back after the first time he left her for the woman who gave birth to my half-brother) at least twice that I can confirm. His vacations were spent painting the house or doing other things that excluded the rest of the family and never took us anywhere for more than a day (and even then, only when he had free passes to wherever it was we went). Of course, I didn't realize what a jerk was when I was younger.

Truth be told, as a child, I idolized my dad. As most kids do. I have tons of happy memories spent with my father at the movies; at family cook-outs; on day trips to the Jersey Shore; learning to cook my grandmother's recipes... He instilled in me a love of classical music and certainly informed my sense of humor. He taught me about classic movies and introduced me to the Universal Monsters. He showed me how to build a perfect wood grill fire and attempted to teach me how to drive. He told lots of jokes and taught me accents which I use to this day.

As I got older and reached adolescence, it became clear that my father resented my mother, my sister and I. And although I never officially came out to him, once he realized I was gay, he shut me out completely. He often quoted Thoreau to me: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." He complained, "There are men exploring uncharted regions of the world while I am stuck here, paying bills and painting walls." And whose fault was that? As a young adolescent, he repeatedly reminded me that I had an acne problem (his face was heavily scarred from his own, much worse bought with it) and complained because I didn't participate in sports. He absolutely HATED the fact that I discovered Theatre and constantly berated me for not wanting to become a doctor, lawyer or some sort of executive at a boring, soul-crushing corporation.

Don't get me wrong. I loved my Dad. I loved him right up until the day he died from a neuroblastoma at the age of 59 in 1998, less than ten years after he left my mother for the second time and married a trashy, wealthy widow who dragged him to Las Vegas for the last five years of his life. That wedding was one of the unintentionally funniest events I have ever attended, though it's a story for another time. I loved him, but didn't like him very much at all.

Dad died alone, with no one from his real family nearby. Six months before he passed, we had a phone conversation in which he said "I love you" to me for the first time in my memory.

I was camping with my then boyfriend in Provincetown when he passed-away on July 5th, just three weeks shy of his 60th birthday. When Ric and I got home that afternoon, Mom told me he had passed and honestly, I felt nothing. Just like the gal in that number from A Chorus Line. And for the longest time, I felt guilty for feeling nothing. I mean, this was huge. My father had died. I should feel something, shouldn't I? 

After several weeks of legal wrangling (impeded by the meddlings of the aforementioned second wife), Dad's ashes were finally sent back East and we buried them along with his father mother in St. Stephan's Cemetery in Trenton, NJ. The ceremony was attended by myself, his sister and exactly five other people (one of whom was the funeral director). It was then that I finally realized that everyone else who had known my father knew what a jerk he was and that they had stayed away in droves. And while I have long ago forgiven him for being such a creep, every Fathers' Day I resent the fact that I don't get to share with everyone else who has or had a really great Dad. And then I realize that given the chance, I would have made a pretty great Dad, having learned so much from having such a jerk for a father.

I know I'm not alone in this. Plenty of folks have absolute monsters for fathers. He never beat us, or stole money to support a drug habit or killed anyone. He worked hard to support, feed and clothe his family. He just wasn't all that into it, I guess. 

I hope you have or had a better Dad, than mine. I'd like to imagine that given the opportunity, I would have been a better father than mine was. And I do have to thank my mother, whose kindness, compassion and love of Rock 'N Roll counterbalanced all of his negativity. I have no idea how or why she put up with him as long as she did. Without him, my sister and I wouldn't exist, so I have to give him credit for that, too. Still... I wish I had a Dad I would want to wish a Happy Fathers' Day. 

To all of the fathers reading this, please know how much you mean to your children. Love them no matter what. Don't give them reasons to hate or resent you. Make them want to be at your side on your deathbed and give them reasons to mourn your passing. They'll be all the better for it.



More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Childhood Memories / Fathers' Day / Jerks / Movies / Music / My Father / My Mother / My Sister / Personal / Ramblings / TMI / Uncle P / Universal Monsters with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/daddy-issues.html. Thanks!
Saturday, June 15, 2013

D'Oh! or: Uncle P's "First World Problems" Weekend

"I Could Ride That Lip All the Way to Trenton!" ~ Uncle P's Mother
Once again, some links in this post may be NSFW.

So, last night... Uncle P spent 90+ minutes writing, researching and linking hilarious and informative links in a post which I failed to revert to draft, forcing me to re-log into Blogger and lose everything I had painstakingly worked on to give you, what few faithful readers I have, a few moments of weird entertainment. I wasn't happy, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world, nor the first time my own neglectfulness had led to such an issue.

Today, my sweet, thoughtful mother (who is nothing like the Gerald Scarfe illustration linked in the Pouty Picture's caption) presented me with an "Anti-Fathers' Day" present. And before all you Grammar Nazis question it, the apostrophe is used the way it should be used in this case, meaning all fathers, rather than just yours, which would be written as 'Father's.' (Can you tell I'm in a mood? Thought you might.) Anyway... In the wake of my previously mentioned BIL's greatly appreciated semi-decimation of my long-neglected backyard's overgrowth, the task of disposing over-sized nuisance flora left behind by his Herculean effort seemed nothing short of over-whelming to yours truly. Mom, in her infinite thoughtfulness, saw this set of ratcheting pruning shears on my sister's competition and ordered them (in blue), thinking they might save me time and effort

And boy, was she right. I tried them out almost right away and found that they cut through some rather tough branches with little effort and thinner ones with almost none at all. Like 'buttah.' The hand shears took on weeds, smaller shrubs, saplings and rose branches just as easily, once I figured out how to open the damned things (no instructions led to some consternation when it came to figuring out the safety lock). I honestly haven't been so pleased by a practical gift in a very long time. If you're looking for a gift for Dad; Mom; Dads; Moms or even if you're just a homeowner with an overgrown yard, I highly recommend them. They were purchased from the major home-shopping channel that is not located in the F state. And if that doesn't help, it starts with the same letter as one of my dearest friend's name.

Sadly, my joy over the amazing pruners was soon negated, once again by own stupidity. Plans had been made for Q, Dale, K and I to see Man of Steel at our central (i.e. default) AMC multiplex. In an effort to control my credit card spending, Uncle P chose not to buy tickets online, instead picking up K in time (or so I thought) to buy tickets once at the theater. For the first time in all my of memory, Uncle P was shut out of a sold-out movie. Of course, Q and Dale (like sane people) had pre-purchased their tickets on-line. After much texting and an actual phone call; malfunctioning automated ticket machines and an aborted attempt to buy tickets to another movie at the same time (thanks to the aforementioned MTMs) K and I went for a drink and then went home. I will have other chances to see Man of Steel this week, though there's nothing like seeing a movie with one's best friends. 

While I'm still hoping that Dear D, Mike and I will see This Is the End this week as well, I came home to find a friend had sent me a link the very Bromantic video embedded below, which actually made me feel a little better. What can I say, but 'Kiss Me, Guido?'



Yes, I know there are people who can barely feed their families, let alone afford to go to a movie. Yes, there are far worse things in the world than lost blog posts and sold-out movies. I'd like to think of myself as someone who not only has compassion and empathy for others (i.e. 'Not a Jerk'). I volunteer and do charity work. I smile at everyone (even those who refuse to smile back), though I don't suffer fools, easily. 

None of that means that I don't get to pout now and then, does it? I mean, I know plenty of folks who pout regularly (in fact, almost incessantly) on various forms of social media. Am I being a 'drama queen' tonight? Maybe. Churlish? Possibly. A 'White Whiner?" Perhaps. But who isn't, at least once a while? Damn! I really wanted to see some Cavill, tonight!

More, anon.
Prospero
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week - NSFW Version

Johnny McGovern and 'Friends'
Self-described 'Gay Pimp;' comedian and singer Johnny McGovern has a new single out called "The Gayest of All Time." 

Johnny may be very gay, but the 'Gayest?' Not sure about that. I think Clay Aiken and Adan Lambert have him beat in that race. Still, Johnny's often tongue-in-cheek songs and music videos usually tend to poke at fun of the community of which he is so proud to be a part of, providing humor and hotness (and often some VERY hot, half-naked extras). An unabashed Bear with a predilection for featuring hot boys in his music videos, Johnny's latest features some cute twinks, lots of drag queens and a boy in a very NSFW ball cap. 



It looks like everyone involved with this shoot had a great time, though I still question whether this video is the 'Gayest of All Time.' Personally, while I love Johnny and his videos, I can think of plenty gayer clips and songs. And I'm sure you can, too. Just be careful about with whom you share them.

More, anon.
Prospero
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe...

Lizzie Andrew Borden
On June 20th, 1892 in Fall River, MA, Lizzie Andrew Borden was found Not Guilty in the brutal axe murders of her father and step-mother. After the trial, Lizzie took the name 'Lizbeth' and she and her sister Emma moved to new home in the pricier section of Fall River. After a falling out over a party Lizbeth threw for the actress Nance O'Neil, Emma moved out the house known as 'Maplecroft.'

No one else was ever accused of murdering Borden's father and her step-mother, though many theories were later presented. And rumors persist that Lizzie killed her parents after they discovered she was in the throes of a lesbian affair with O'Neil. After over 100 years, no one knows for sure who actually hacked Andrew and Abby to death, 

When Uncle P was a child, I knew the silly rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

Andrew was actually struck 10 or 11 times, while Abby took 19 blows to the head. The crime and subsequent trial was quite sensational and they inspired the rhyme above. It also inspired a 1975 ABC Movie of the Week, The Legend of Lizzie Borden starring Elizabeth "Bewitched" Montgomery; Fritz Weaver; Fionnula Flanagan (The Others; "Lost") and Katherine Helmond (Brazil). The movie posited that Lizzie had actually committed the murders and had gotten away with it. I remember being both fascinated and horrified that the sweet, gorgeous Montgomery could play such a role.

Now comes word (via) that indie darling (and former Wednesday Addams) Christina Ricci will be playing Borden in an upcoming Lifetime TV movie. While probably a better physical fit for the character, I have to wonder if Ricci will be able to bring the same depth to the role as Montgomery, who was nominated for an Emmy for her performance. I remember everyone being shocked at the time by Montgomery's performance back in the day. I hope that Ricci can still still shock audiences 30 years later in a 110 year old story. Regardless, this may well be a Lifetime movie that Uncle P can actually sit through without groaning.

I tried to find a video of the trailer (or at least some of the ABC movie) online, but was unsuccessful. Instead, here's a clip of Montgomery on the Mike Douglas show in 1966:



I hope the upcoming movie sheds some new light (or at least visits some other theories) on the Borden murders. And I hope Ricci can come close to Montgomery's performance in the new film. Either way, I'll be watching.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Christina Ricci / Elizabeth Montgomery / History / Lifetime TV / Lizzie Borden / Movies / Murder / TV / TV Movies with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/lizzie-borden-took-axe.html. Thanks!
Friday, June 7, 2013

Potential Cinema Nerdgasms

Well, it looks like we may well have another summer and fall of potentially terrific movies ahead of us. I have yet to see Ironman 3, but I thought Star Trek Into Darkness was a lot of fun. Of course, even Will Smith couldn't save M. Knight Shayamalon's latest, After Earth, though for once, I can't fault M. Knight alone. The concept was Smith's and it is obvious from many a publicity still that the movie had two directors. Does the Philly-based director get a pass, then? Nope. He lost his pass with The Village. He went on to lose all credibility as a writer with the abysmal Lady in the Water. I honestly don't understand why studios and/or producers continue to pay this man to direct movies no one wants to see.

Still, there are plenty of upcoming films that give Uncle P a Nerd-On. Starting with Man of Steel. This year, my  Birthday Present Movie from Christopher Nolan is Henry Cavill as possibly the hottest Kal-El ever. I know I've both complained and gushed about this movie, but the more I see of it, the more I want to see it. I've already sent a "Save the Date" email to the Usual Suspects (D, K. Q, Dale, etc.), while trying my best to keep my expectations in check. Still... Cavill is absolutely breathtaking; Amy Adams will always be one of my favorite actors ever and the involvement of  Nolan all give me hope that Zach Snyder's reboot of the original Superhero will be as good as the trailers promise:



On the silly side, opening just a few days earlier is the all-star apocalypse comedy, This Is the End, a movie I've reserved to see with D (Trailer NSFW):



The following weekend features three releases, only two of which have my attention. First is Pixar's prequel to Monsters, Inc., Monsters University:



Brad Pitt's World War Z opens the same weekend. I found Max Brooks' novel to be boring and derivative, and certainly unfilmable as is contained no true narrative plot. Brooks has already disavowed the film and there is nothing in any of the trailers that makes me want to see what is sure to be another big budget flop. Is it unfair of me to already hate this movie?



Also seeing release that week is the remake of the 80's slasher Maniac, starring everyone's favorite Hobbit as a serial killer (may be NSFW):



There are plenty more, like my Birthday Gift from Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim:



And James Wan's take on 'Demonologists' Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring:



And since we're already talking about Wan, his sequel to one of my favorite recent horror movies is scheduled for release on Friday, September 13th. D has already promised to see it with me, though he said he can't promise not to cry:



There are tons more movies I (and probably you) want to see this summer. I'm taking the season off from theatre (for the first time since 1987) so I might actually get to see more films this year

More, anon.
Prospero

PS - Watch for links updates to this post.
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bitchiest Nonsense You'll See This Week or: When Local Goes National

Carol Erickson and Her Dogs
While I've lived here and there from time to time, I've spent the majority of my life as a suburbanite in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. My local news has always been one of the major three Philadelphia affiliates, though for longest time I've been partial to our local NBC news. Because it is two hours of repetition between 4 and 6 PM, I know I can drop in at almost any time for half an hour and see everything I need to. It's news for the Information Age. 

When I was a kid, the local ABC affiliate was the news to watch. The stalwart channel loves it's stars and ancient anchor Jim Gardner (whose been at it since the 70's) is still chugging away at a dusty old station which somehow seems to have lost touch with the 21st Century. Most of the reporters on Action News have been there for at least 25 years and only seem to be replaced when they retire or die. The "Murder She Wrote" and "Matlock" crowd watch this broadcast.

Then there's the local CBS station. A decent station with
Nicole Brewer
a combination of both older, more experienced staffers and younger up-and-comings. It's my second choice. 

Before I go on, I have to tell you that sometime in the late 90's, the Philadelphia NBC and CBS channels switched affiliations. I don't know if that's ever happened in any other market, but it happened here and it resulted in some confusion for the first few months. What didn't change at the time, were the news teams. Now, for those of you who weren't alive, there was an up and coming newswoman in the 70's named Jessica Savitch. Savitch worked for the (then) local NBC affiliate in the 70's and went on to be the NBC Network weekend anchor. Many thought she was on track to become a major star; possibly the first Female Network anchor, even. Sadly, Savitch died after the car she was riding in crashed into the Delaware Canal near New Hope, PA in 1983. The story went national. It was even the basis for the film Up Close and Personal, with Michelle Pfieffer and Robert Redford.

Flash-forward to 2008. The station is now a CBS affiliate. Anchor Larry Mendte is accused of hacking into former co-anchor Alycia Lane's email account 537 times! The resulting scandal costs Mendte his job. He pleaded guilty to felony hacking charges and admitted to having an "improper relationship" with Lane. The story went national.

This time, it's a mere 5 years between viral stories for this beleaguered news team. Veteran meteorologist Carol Erickson (who's been with this station since the 80's) and morning anchor (and former pageant queen) Nicole Brewer are the subject of speculation that they despise one another and have been openly displaying their venomous relationship on air (via):



Okay - the tragic death of an up-and-comer? Yes, that's ceratinly worthy of national attention. A sex scandal involving email hacking? A little tabloid-y, but yes. Worth noting for the tech element, I guess. A verbal bitch slapping contest between an established Queen Bee and a pert-breasted pretender to the throne? Bitch, please. Is this what TMZ and 'The Jersey Shore' have reduced us to? If I believed in a god, I wouldn't blame him for smiting us.

Nonetheless, I am all over Carol in this. Give up, Nicole. You aren't worthy of attempting awful banter and terrible puns with a woman who has been in the business since before you were a snot-nosed toddler, crying for your Mommy. Learn your place, gurl. In 25 years, if you're lucky, the shoe will be on the other foot and all the plastic surgery in the world won't hide the vain, empty shell beyond those pretty little eyes!


The new fridge is here (it's a Frigidaire) and working! The food and condiments I managed to save are all in it, though it is slightly (.2 CF) larger than the Fridge of Despair and looks very empty. The freezer has already managed two batches of cubes since 2 PM and all is right with the world once again.

More, anon.
Prospero
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Good Riddance to Evil Appliances

Keep Away from Belladonna and Baby's Blood
My house is Mid-Century Cookie Cutter. Of course, some unusual renovations to the interior by the original owners have left me with some very limited choices when it comes to where and how things fit, particularly in my already small kitchen. Eight years ago, my 25-year-old refrigerator gave up the ghost. Of course, like an aging pet or an elderly relative, the older it got, the more I prepared myself for its eminent demise. When I went to replace it, finding one to fit the space I had wasn't easy and I ended up with a Kenmore which I quickly grew to despise.

The non-adjustable shelves were in a very odd configuration, leaving little space for tall things like pitchers and bottles. The freezer had one wire-rack shelf with too much space between the rungs, making it almost impossible to have a level stack of packages, let alone a stable place for ice cube trays. Within a week of running out of warranty, one of the vegetable crisper drawers partially disintegrated in my hand, rendering it practically useless. The exterior was some kind of textured vinyl, making it almost impossible to keep clean and while the freezer door refused to not swing all the open, the fridge door had to be tapped with a knee to close tightly. 

Still, I expected the Effer to last longer than 8 years. Yes, after a slow but steady decline that started with milk-shake-like ice cream two weeks ago ended tonight with me unloading and purging the whole damned thing, filling both my big trash can and my recycling bin to the brim. The thought of lugging them to the curb tomorrow night, along with the yard stuff I managed to get done yesterday, makes me cranky, like a baby with a saggy diaper that leaks. I was able, thanks to a giant cooler and bagged ice, save a lot of the newer produce and dairy. And the chest freezer on the back porch is full, so no one's going hungry anytime, soon. Seems like I just did this last Fall...  

A replacement is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. When I finish this post, I will take my vodka out of the freezer and unplug the hellspawn forever. Of course, I fear that when they take it away, they'll forget to take off one of the doors at the dump and a diseased rat will be trapped in it and die. And then a small dog or a raccoon, followed by some form of Belladonna and some baby's blood and it will become an unstoppable demonic machine, devouring anyone in it's path and growing larger and larger with the ingestion of each victim.

Well, that's just silly, isn't it? No sillier than the nonsense that's been going on around Uncle P's house, lately. I have to check with my electric company (PECO here in southeastern PA) because I may get an energy credit for the new one (the commercial for which is where that goofy monster fridge image comes from).

To quote the great Gilda Radner (look her up!):
"It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another. Either you smoke or you have a sweatball hanging off of your nose." Seriously, if you don't know this, look it up. Gilda was a comedy genius. Anyway, as much I hate the rigamarole and extra work the Kenmore's death has caused me, I will be very happy to have a brand-new fridge when I get home from the Day Job, tomorrow. I know there is a Robot Hell, but is there an Appliance Hell? I hope so. And I hope that horrible old Kenmore fridge rots there, writhing in imaginary anthropomorphized pain for all eternity. That is of course, until that first rat...



Sorry. I'm in a mood. What are you trying to do, make me sick? Goodnight my little Roseanne Rosannadannas! I hope you clicked those links!

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Appliances / Evil / Gilda Radnor / Headaches / Links / My House / Nonsense / Ramblings / Rants / Silly / Suburbia / Uncle P with the title June 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/06/good-riddance-to-evil-appliances.html. Thanks!
Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Gayest Month You'll Start This Week

The Gayest Breakfast You'll See This Week (4 Bears Only)
Notice: Some links in this post may be NSFW, depending on where you work. I hope by now, no one really needs the link to that acronym. 

Anyway...

I actually did make pancakes and sausage this morning for brunch, though not nearly as many  of the Pride Cakes (Flip Jacks?) as you see in the image on your left. Mine were actually much smaller, rather misshapen* and regular pancake colored, even though they were whole-wheat. And I used local honey in place of syrup. I do try, though I simply refuse to give up butter. I don't go nuts, but I'm not about to eat something even poop-eating flies supposedly won't touch. Butter's flavor and texture are so necessary for so many recipes. While most, if not all of them, can be made using less butter combined with olive oil, they simply cannot be made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are far, far worse for you than honest-to-goodness cow's milk butter. 


Sorry for the tangent... because this post isn't about food or cooking or diets or anything other than the fact that June 1st marks the start of Pride Month here in the U.S. Usually at this time of year, Uncle P is either directing or in a JTMF benefit show (our only event this year isn't until October, but more on that, anon). This year, I have the leisure of being able to attend multiple Pride events, should I so desire, without having to man a booth or table at any of them. I've never been to NYC Pride or even Philly Pride. I've only ever been to NJ Pride which is held in Springsteen Central, Asbury Park at the Jersey Shore, which is being held tomorrow. I've been three times, but have never gotten to see the parade, because I was always manning the JTMF table, in hopes of drawing audience members and/or donors. I have a very funny NJ Pride story about D & Siah; a Velcro fly; a very drunken, horny twink named Noel and an Evil You-Know-What for another time. While I have always had time to wander the grounds and visit the other booths, I was never able to see the parade or really mingle with the multitude of gay Guidos on hand.

Here's the thing: I'm not sure I really want to go to any of them. But I actually kind of do. I may decide to brave the traffic and the crowds and go to Philly Pride next Sunday. I've always had a great time checking out the different booths and vendors at NJ Pride (yes, and the hotties), and expect I'd like Philly's version just as much, if not more. I just need to convince someone to join me. Any takers?

Although, if this is the best promo they can come up with, maybe we're all better off staying home:



Really, Philadelphia? Find a new agency, quick, before the Copyranter craps all over that crap. As well he should.

This June, celebrate yourselves, no matter what you sexuality! Celebrate your loved ones who support you and love you for who you are!. Celebrate your partner, if you are lucky enough to have one. Celebrate love, because that's all any of us want and everything all of us deserves. Don't ever stop fighting the haters and the liars.

We've seen more wins than defeats, this past year. Hopefully, SCOTUS will rule in favor of Marriage Equality and the U.S. will join the 21st Century along with the 14 other countries who have embraced marriage rights for all their citizens.

More, anon.
Prospero

*Don't even say what you're thinking, perv!

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