A&E

A&E

In my ongoing feeble attempts to introduce some new slang into the vernacular (i.e., “celph” = cell phone, “Mr. T” = toilet), here’s the latest: A&E. It’s more than just a cable network I don’t watch. It’s an attitude I can’t stand. “Arrogance and entitlement.” Of the people I hate, it’s the #1 thing I usually hate about them.

Examples of A&E:

  • Parking your Porsche sideways across two parking spaces.
  • Refusing to move over to let someone pass by on a sidewalk, forcing them to walk on the grass.
  • Blocking a lane of traffic outside a parking garage while you finish your cell phone call.
  • One person saving eight seats in a movie theater.
  • That guy’s seven friends.
  • Invading a country without the consent of the rest of the world, and then asking the rest of the world to help foot the bill.

No, wait. That last one is just absurd.

CANCELLATIONS

CANCELLATIONS

If you’ve been putting off buying your copy of Bachelor Bob Guiney’s CD “3 Sides”, which I mocked last week, looks like you’re out of luck. Bob has apparently pulled it from the market in hopes of making it suck less. The album won’t be out until February 2004 at the earliest. Good idea, Bob. You don’t want to capitalize on the publicity of the TV show. Wait until long after it’s off the air to push your singing career, because then, people can really concentrate on, you know, the music.

Over 1,000 people have cancelled their LA Times subscriptions because of their last-minute article on Schwarzenegger’s busy hands. The public has spoken once again. Sleazy journalists: boo! Sleazy politicians: hooray!

DISPOSABLE INCOME DIGEST, Issue 1: I guess I have to buy Clay’s album when it comes out tomorrow. I mean, I’m as creeped out by him as the next guy (man, I hope he’s straight — people hate gays enough already), but he has a great voice, and Simon’s right. If you close your eyes and you don’t have to see those winks and hip thrusts, “This is the Night” sounds totally dreamy. American Idol solo albums are 1 for 2 so far. Kelly’s was pretty good. Justin’s was really bad.

Also, Travis’ new album comes out tomorrow. It’s called “12 Memories“, which is pretty much how many bad memories I have of their last album, but “Why Does it Always Rain on Me” is such a good song that I’m willing to give these guys one more shot. It has a song on it called “Peace the F**k Out”, which, since they’re British, is probably aimed at George W. I think UK bands are required to have a token anti-Bush song on their CDs these days. I hear George is a big fan of Britpop, so I’ll bet he’s starting to get the message.

I saw a lot of movies this weekend, so here come the blurbs….

“Kill Bill” was super-fun, in a Tarantino kind of way. There were enough slow parts that Harvey Weinstein probably should’ve made Q cut it down rather than splitting it in two. (It was a creative decision… right???) P.S. Lucy Liu is the most adorable assassin ever!

“Intolerable Cruelty” is also fun, in a Coen brothers kind of way. The best part of it was some guy I’d never heard of, who played George Clooney’s sidekick. I’ll bet he’ll get a lot of press out of it and probably a sitcom role next season as somebody’s sidekick.

“Mystic River” was really well made, with great performances and a terrific storyline, and the more I think about it, the more I think it stunk. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the movie sets up its dramatic situation so well that it’s easy to go along with it, expecting the resolution will be just as satisfying. You might even be so dazzled by the artistry that you think you’re satisfied by the resolution once it happens. But you’re not. Think about it on the ride home. You were cheated, and cheated bad. Bad Clint Eastwood! Bad!

ANOTHER DAMN SURVIVOR POST

ANOTHER DAMN SURVIVOR POST

Is anyone else getting annoyed at how CBS is falsely teasing Survivor episodes? Just look at a couple of things promised to us by the official CBS website for last night’s episode:

    Andrew and Ryan go in search of a good fishing spot, but instead they find themselves in a dangerous situation: lost in the jungle without water.

This is true only up to the comma. Yes, Andrew and Ryan went looking for a good fishing spot. Then they misread the map and ended up in a bad fishing spot. That’s it. They were never really lost. Trying to make a story out of nothing, Burnett added a cheesy insert shot of an apparently nearly-empty canteen (footage that was probably shot sometime last week) as well as a comment from Andrew that leaving camp without adequate water wasn’t the brightest idea. They don’t seem to have been the least bit dehydrated. They were never in any danger, nor were they in the jungle. And the whole thing was never resolved. The show cut away from this storyline, then the next time we saw Andrew and Ryan, they were back with the tribe.

    Lubricated by whiskey, one Survivor creates a spectacle at a Tribal Council that is not to be missed.

Did anyone else see a drunken spectacle? I sure didn’t. Sure, Burnett wanted a drunken spectacle. Probst even tried to nudge Jon into creating one by acting like Jon had said something terribly offensive about his tribemates (in actuality, it was the same kind of vague response everyone gives to Probst’s questions at TC). The sad truth is, Jon’s a lame drunk. He’s one of those drunks who, when he gets drunk, just sits there with a moronic grin on his face thinking about how drunk he is. He’s more fun when he’s his usual annoying sober self.

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In other reality TV news: this was probably announced ages ago, but there’s going to be another “Celebrity Mole”. This one’s called “Celebrity Mole: Yucatan”. (Ooh, Yucatan! How exotic!) It gets worse. The cast will be made up of Ananda Lewis, Mark Curry, Angie Everhart, Tracy Gold, Keisha Knight-Pulliam and Dennis Rodman. Hey, I like Rudy Huxtable as much as the next guy, but would anyone watch anything because any of those celebrities were on it? Six random strangers off the street would be just as telegenic and way more interesting than this cast. Oh, and Stephen Baldwin and Corbin Bernsen are back. Notice I didn’t say “by popular demand”. Ditto Ahmad Rashad. Ditto no “popular demand”. No air date yet.

Further evidence that you can ruin any good TV show by putting the word “Celebrity” in front of it.

(Oh, Anderson, I miss you…)

MISTER MISS MATCH (2)

MISTER MISS MATCH (2)

Well, I finally have a follow-up on my recent matchmaking attempt, and sadly, it’s not good.

I spoke with the woman from my office, who told me that she’d had a very good chat when she met the guy for coffee. They spoke for about 45 minutes, discovered some common interests and learned that they even went hiking on the same mountain. She said he seemed really nice.

And then he never called her.

How strange, I told her. I ran into the guy the day after they’d had coffee — or more accurately, he saw me and came jogging up to me to thank me again for the introduction and give me an update — and he told me that they’d had a very good chat. He said they spoke for about 45 minutes, discovered some common interests and learned that they even went hiking on the same mountain.

It didn’t make any sense. He definitely seemed interested in her when I spoke to him, so why wouldn’t he call? Maybe since he made the first move, he figured it was her place to make the next move. But this guy was in his 40’s — doesn’t he come from a generation when men usually made all the moves? Was he terrified of expressing his interest by making a follow-up call and willing to blow the whole thing rather than pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I had a nice time. Would you like to meet for dinner next time”? Was he really that shy and insecure?

I ran all these possibilities by the woman, and suggested maybe she should call him if she’s interested. But she wasn’t having it. If getting together with this guy was going to be that much work, she figured, it just wasn’t worth it.

Anyone else looking for a soulmate? Looks like I’m 0 for 1.

REVELATIONS

REVELATIONS

Black artists take over US top 10

For the first time ever, all top 10 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 are by African-American artists. Wait a second… Chingy is black?!?

Hooray! I finally found a cached copy of the Onion’s unfortunately-timed editorial “Thank You, But That Was Siegfried’s Idea”, which appeared just a few days before Roy’s tiger mauling and was quickly taken down by the site in “good taste”. A quick scan reveals nothing morbidly ironic. Darn.

I finally figured out why I like Robert Randolph and the Family Band so much. It’s because they remind me of one of my favorite bands of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

I finally figured out what my neighbor’s vanity license plate means. It reads “3SCORE9”. (Hint: Think Lincoln.)

It reminds me of the time I was waiting at the drive-thru at Arby’s and I looked up at the giant hat, staring at their name. “Arby’s… R… B… Roast… Beef… Roast beef, but of course!”

It’s these moments of clarity that put me at peace.

CALIFORNIA RECALLS GRAY DAVIS

CALIFORNIA RECALLS GRAY DAVIS

“Hmmm… wasn’t he that guy who got removed from office?” — California recalling Gray Davis

Everyone knows by now who won the election, but what about the guy who came in last? According to the Secretary of State’s official count, that would be Todd Richard Lewis, an Independent who received a grand total of 172 votes.

Who is Todd Richard Lewis? Well, according to a quote he provided the LA Times, he’s an unmarried film producer, performer and businessman from West Hollywood who appeared as the “Bum Hunter” in the infamous “Bumfights” video and recently released his own video called “Bum Hunter”. He even has a web site.

His quote in the LA Times: “People are going to know the Bum Hunter is doing this, and hopefully it will get the young demographic to go out there, support me, register to vote, and be involved in future elections. And it will draw attention to the homeless people; no one realizes how many people are out there.” Well, apparently, less than 172.

He also wrote up a statement on fiscal spending which reads, in its garbled entirety: “Like the people I work with everyday(the homeless), our yearly salaries are no more than $3000.00 a year. Mostly made from panhandling. That is the kind of fiscal spending we need oin office”

Now we have the answer to what happens when you run a joke campaign for a very serious office. You either come in dead last, or you win.

KIDS

KIDS

The big lesson I learned from Disney’s California Adventure this weekend was definitely “Kids are exhausting”.

I know. Duh.

On Saturday, Drew and I went to Disneyland’s neglected and misunderstood stepchild with our friends Chuck and Meredith and their one-and-a-half-year-old son, Cameron. In addition to being one of the cutest babies in the world, Cameron is also one of the most well-behaved. Throughout eight hours of sensory overload, the kid only got cranky once. In fact, Drew cried more on the kiddie coaster than Cameron did all day, although maybe that’s not the best comparison, since Drew cried A LOT on the kiddie coaster. (Hopefully, outing Drew as a ride-o-phobe doesn’t undo the good will I generated by supporting his ride-o-phobia on Saturday. See Drew’s blog for details.)

I know that kids as easy-going as Cameron are hard to come by, but even if you’ve got an atypically chill baby like him, the fact remains: “Kids are exhausting”. And I’m not just talking about the fact that after holding a 26-pound toddler for five minutes, I was wondering if the symptoms I was feeling were typical of a hernia. (I kept thinking of all the teeny tiny young moms I see every day carrying around their porky youngsters. Props to them all.) But the only thing worse than holding a growing young boy is putting him down, because those suckers do like to run. As a parent (or in this case, a parent’s friend in charge of watching the boy while the parents are on Soarin’ Over California), your job is not to let the kid run too far, especially when you’re in a crowded theme park (although if you want to avoid crowds, California Adventure is probably your best bet). So I pretty much wore myself out weaving among strangers, blocking Cameron from running into the women’s restroom, and retrieving his ball from the spiky-haired punk kid who got beaned in the knees with it.

All that chasing is enough to make you want to put a leash on your kid. And by “you”, of course, I mean “you, you horrible monster. How dare you put a leash on a child?!?” I saw more than one parent choosing expediency over their child’s dignity by employing leash technology, and the only thing that disturbed me more was the fact that the leashes were emblazoned with the Mickey Mouse ear logo, as if they had been purchased in the gift shop alongside Ariel hair clips and Finding Nemo pencil tops. The thought that Disney sanctioned this kind of thing was particularly disturbing. Coincidentally, Saturday happened to be Disneyland’s annual Gay Day, which is an event organized by an independent group that’s not officially sanctioned by the park. Sure, they don’t want to encourage the gays, but they’re 100% behind child leashing. Sorry, I’m getting off-topic.

After I saw the first leash, I turned to Chuck and confessed my disgust. “Not being a parent myself, I’m reluctant to judge other people,” I said. “But I really can’t stand those leashes.”

Chuck not only agreed, but without any reservations over seeming judgmental. “Once you’re a parent yourself,” he said, “you don’t hesitate to judge other parents.”

So until I’m a parent, I won’t judge the guy on Soarin’ Over California, who was taking his six-year-old son on the ride for what seemed like the 10,000th time. As we stood in line, the eager dad went through every beat of the experience with the boy. “And remember when the golf ball comes at you? Whoosh! And then the jets? Eeeeeeeeaarrrrrroof!” I understood he was trying to keep his kid entertained and excited during the wait, but I could’ve done without all the spoilers. Then he played a game with the kid. “How much do you love Grandma?” he’d say. “A little,” the kid would say, and the Dad, as a goof for the kid’s lack of enthusiasm, would “punish” his son with tickles. “How much do you love Mommy?” “A little.” More tickles. “How much do you love Courtney?” “A little.” It was a delightful game, but one without end. I think Dad got around to quizzing the kid on the depth of his affection for the living room sofa by the time I tuned out. It was another example of how exhausting kids are, as well as a reminder that, once you’ve got a family, you can forget about discussing that fascinating article you read in “The New Yorker” or that charming French film you caught at the NuArt last week. With six-year-olds, silly sound effects and shameless tickle-baiting are sometimes the height of conversation.

I’ve always thought I wanted kids. It seemed like an easy decision. You got older, you had kids. And kids were fun. They were somebody to take to amusement parks, somebody to play video games with, somebody to teach how to curse. But now that I’m getting to a place where having them is looking like a definite possibility (though admittedly, for a gay man, having kids is no easy task), I look at every encounter with them as a pop quiz. Watching the dad on the line for the ride, I wondered if I was ready to live his life. Could I keep up with a kid, mentally and physically? Could I handle eighteen years of tickling and running and conversations about SpongeBob? And, most of all, could I do it without going crazy? As our wait came to an end and we buckled ourselves into our seats, I heard the dad, still hard at work, psyching his kid up for the ride. “Now let’s say ‘Thank you, Jesus!'” he said.

It was a great relief. So he was crazy.

It’s not that I have anything against people raising their kids in their chosen religion, but teaching your kids that Jesus is the kind of guy who likes to take credit for theme park rides seems like a bit of a liberal reading of the Bible to me. I couldn’t help thinking about what would’ve happened if the dad had asked him, “How much do you love Jesus?” and the boy had responded “A little”. Something tells me tickling would not have followed.

I’m sure most prospective parents have doubts like mine. The rest probably figure it’ll be easy, and they’re probably the same ones who slap leashes on their kids. (Sure, and if you lock your kids in a box, they’re no trouble at all.) Luckily, the more I question my own parenting abilities, the more certain I am of Drew’s. Whatever he’s called upon to do – hold the kid, watch TV, play peek-a-boo – he can do it for hours and not only without complaining, but loving it. (This is especially fascinating when watching him play peek-a-boo. It’s not a game that in theory seems very rewarding for an adult.)

While the rest of us went on rides, Drew was happy to stay behind and keep an eye on Cameron, and not just because Drew was scared to go on the rides, as he’d have you believe, but because there was clearly nothing he’d rather be doing than hanging with a baby. Drew is more natural with kids than anyone I think I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t be more relieved. He makes the thought of parenting seem easy and obvious again. I’d probably grow into my role as a parent if I ever had kids, and I’d learn to deal with the exhaustion, but even if I didn’t, even if I totally sucked at fatherhood, at least Drew would be there to do the hard stuff. How much do I love him for that?

A little.

ELECTION DAY

ELECTION DAY

Voting is one of the few things I’ll wake up early for.

As corny as it may sound, I always get a little choked up when I vote. When I’m in the voting booth, I feel a little surge of patriotism and a sense of pride at taking part in the democratic process. Even if I know my candidate or my cause is likely to lose, it feels good to have my say. I can’t help thinking of all the people around the world who only wish they had the right to elect their own leaders and how much they envy something most Americans take for granted. Voting makes me feel good. And voting in the morning before work gives a boost to my entire day.

So as usual, I woke up early this morning to vote. But it felt different this time. It was strange to vote in October, for one thing. And it didn’t seem right that I was handed a punchcard ballot. (I know, I said I was going to vote early on the touchscreens, but I eventually decided I didn’t want to pass up the excitement of election day.) The volunteer told me, “Be sure you check your chads.” The fact that she used a word like “chad” so freely was a reminder of how and why that word had entered our collective vocabulary in the first place. It didn’t seem right that, knowing what we know about chads, we still have to deal with them at all. It’s been almost 3 years since the disaster of Florida 2000 — isn’t that enough time to get new voting mechanisms in place? Of course, we weren’t supposed to have an election in October…

And then, of course, there was the issue of what was on the ballot. A recall, in theory, is a perfect example of democracy in action. It’s another way to give the public a voice in the government and hold the elected officials accountable. But what disturbs me about this particular recall is the way it’s been executed without any regard to determining the will of the people of California.

It was put on the ballot by one crackpot billionaire and a lot of out-of-state workers who were paid $1 per signature to get people to express their desire to fire a governor who, while certainly not a great leader, had committed no crime. Perspective candidates were treated to a truncated campaign window which didn’t allow the public much time to digest their platforms, or for their backgrounds to be investigated. (Arnold took advantage of this, knowing it was his best shot at winning an office he’s long coveted, and it came back to bite him in the ass, leaving him no time to respond to charges made against him.) And worst of all, there would be no runoff. In a field of over 130 candidates, the winner would be determined by a mere plurality of votes. So much for majority rule.

So I punched the card. I checked the chads. I voted “no” on the recall, “yes” on Bustamante (who, while better than all the other candidates, would probably be a worse governor than Gray Davis). But it wasn’t like election day. I didn’t feel proud or patriotic or excited this time.

I felt a little sick.

BOB THE BACHELOR

BOB THE BACHELOR

I’m wondering if the notion that women all across the country are swooning over Bob Guiney of “The Bachelor” is just ABC-created hype. I mean, I applaud the casting of anyone other than the typical buff personality-free himbos who usually represent my gender on dating shows. And I understand that lots of women fell in love with Bob on “The Bachelorette” last season because he was shlubby and humble and sweet. But now he’s lost weight, he’s a big TV star and in the new series, he no longer comes across as ANY of the things that set him apart from the pack. He’s turned right into another boring hunk.

Plus, let’s be honest: he was never that funny. I’ll agree that his self-deprecation was much appreciated among the overly serious stud boys who were competing against him for Trista’s love, but self-deprecation does not equal a sense of humor. And now that he’s toned, shaved and full of himself, all he’s got is a dopey grin and an apparent need to make out with every woman who comes his way. (Uh… yuck.)

Okay, so maybe my real problem with him isn’t that he erased everything women liked about him and yet is still popular with women, it’s that he has the nerve to release an album.

But considering that it comes out tomorrow and is, as of right now, ranked #702 on Amazon (By contrast, Clay Aiken, whose album doesn’t come out for another week, is ranked #7), maybe I’m not the only one who’s gotten over Bob the Bachelor.