A Banner Year for the Prince of Darkness

My snark meter is off the charts. This is great!


2014 was a banner year for the Prince of Darkness. When he wasn’t personally bedeviling Christians, his minions were erecting statues in his honor or forcing themselves upon innocent city council meetings. Lord of Lies — this was your year!

January witnessed the unveiling of a 7-foot tall likeness of his lieutenant Baphomet that will be placed in front of the Oklahoma Statehouse. Decent Christians responded by drafting an “unlettered little bill” that would have allowed cities to erect similar monuments to Mein Kampf.

In February, Satan’s plans to destroy the economy went awry, but that didn’t stop the Dark Lord from having some big gay fun, both here and abroad. He was, however, disappointed that his scenes in The Bible ended up on the cutting room floor.

But his disappointment was short-lived, as March saw Lucifer reach new heights in the entertainment world as his film, Frozen, successfully created the next generation of lesbians. He was also able to stymie the Kickstarter campaign for Bible Chronicles: The Call of Abraham, not because he “perceived it to be a threat to his kingdom,” as the Christian extremists claimed, but just because it looked God-awful.

April was another big month for Satan — not only did he gay up some graham cracker commercials, his minions started a campaign to ban corporal punishment in schools.

May wasn’t looking so good after the Supreme Court ruled that Christians could open town hall and city council meetings with prayers — but Satanists exploited the equal-is-as-equal-does loophole in Court’s logic and flipped it to the Father of Lies’ favor. He did, however, suffer one minor legal setback, but it involved ice cream and that fellow wasn’t a true unbeliever anyway.

All things considered, though, May slots in the win column, what with getting those wily Benham boys fired from HGTV and helping his buddy Chuck Darwin grab a “toehold” on young minds.

Satan mostly took June off, only stopping by to welcome some shunned homosexuals into his flock after their Christian parents abandoned them.

But July was business as usual, as the Great Deceiver was officially recognized by everybody’s favorite Pope. He and ol’ Chuck stormed some more classrooms, then he and some secularists crashed a few weddings. More importantly, the whole ice cream fiasco was forgotten after those in his thrall twisted the Hobby Lobby decision against its original intent — after which Satan reportedly said, “Suck on that, Scalia!”

After that, August was bound to be a little bit of a letdown — and it outside of a some minor chicanery about a “black mass,” it was.

Everything was gangbusters again in September, though, starting with an old-fashioned witch hunt at the Naughty Girls Donut Shop. “Naughty girls burn in Hell!” the townsfolk shouted to no avail, for the power of Satan sustained the future Culinary Institute of America graduate against the doughnut-hating hordes.

After cornering the small-town doughnut market, the Dark Lord scored perhaps his greatest victory — a legal avenue to despoil the minds of Florida’s children with his Satanic activity book. Next to that, yet another city council invocation barely merits mention.

October opened with battle plans being drawn for this year’s War on Christmas, but Satan spent most of the month toying with tiny Christian brains. He convinced Kirk Cameron that Halloween was really a Christian holiday, then convinced another one of those Benham boys that it’d be a good idea to bust in and break up some lawful wedding ceremonies.

Contrary to popular reports, however, he had nothing at all to do with knocking down the monument to the Other Guy’s laws.

In November, the Son of Perdition hawked his new energy drink, and he would need it — what with all those activity books to deliver and the War on Christmas around the corner.

Because what a war it would be! Hobby Lobby continued blowing up in Christianist faces, Satanic holiday displays were being erected both hither and thither — even Santa defected!

Which is not to say there were no casualties — one self-styled “Catholic Warrior” got a lick in, but who would even notice after the year Satan had?

Eleven Facts That Could Save Your Life Some Day

1. If you get stuck in riptide, remain calm and swim parallel to shore. Swimming to the shore will just tire you out faster.

2. When crying for help, call out specific people (e.g. “You with the green shirt!”). It makes people more likely to act and not be affected by the bystander effect.

3. In survival situations, while it will change depending on your body, remember the rule of threes:

◆ 3 minutes without air (maybe you’re buried in snow following an avalanche)

◆ 3 hours without shelter against the elements

◆ 3 days without water

◆ 3 weeks without food

4. Most phones are able to dial 9-1-1 even without service or a SIM card.

5. Additionally, 1-1-2 is the international 9-1-1 in most places.

6. If you see a photo of yourself (or anyone else – particularly children) where they only have one ‘red eye’ from the flash, this could be a sign of retinoblastoma (a type of eye cancer).

7. If caught in a burning building, get low. The breathable air will be near the floor.

8. Learn the Self-Heimlich.

9. Do you have a desk job? Be sure you get up at least once every two hours and walk around for 5-10 minutes. Doing this reduces the chance of developing blood clots in your calves.

10. If you’re a man and you pee on one of those pregnancy tests and it comes up positive you may have testicular cancer.

11. Just because the light turns green doesn’t mean its safe to go.


Laden With Symbolism

I realized the other day that it has been nearly thirteen years since I left San Francisco. Thirteen. Years.

And yet, The City still appears in my dreams—always accompanied by feelings of frustration, abandonment, and a profound feeling of sadness at no longer having a home there. (Ironic, because at least consciously I have no desire to return; San Francisco is very much a city of the young and wealthy and I no longer fall into either demographic.)

In my most recent San Francisco dream, I found myself South of Market with my friend Rick (who still lives in the City). There were new highrise glass and concrete buildings everywhere I looked and I was feeling very irritated because everywhere I turned I was being presented with wonderful photographic opportunities and I’d come to San Francisco without my DSLR, only having my iPhone with me.

(In this dream, like many others I’ve had surrounding the City, my visits have been impossible day trips, driving up and returning home in a single day.)

I tried several times to get one particular shot of the late afternoon sun glinting off one of these new buildings, but people either walked in front of me and wouldn’t move, or when I moved the angles of the building in the shot were unacceptable.

I finally gave up and joined Rick for dinner in a restaurant, hoping to salvage at least a couple of the photos I’d taken. The iPhone camera app was very funky with none of the usual controls and it was confusing the hell out of me. Night fell, but the camera seemed to taking very good pictures in the restaurant even though there was no way of actually confirming it.

Rick left restaurant and I followed a few minutes later. It was once again light outside (which should’ve clued me in that I was dreaming, but sadly didn’t). I lingered to finally take that one impressive photograph up the street heading to the financial district that I was trying to capture the before; the sun was again low in the west and the sky was dappled with clouds. Everything lined up in the photo, but again, I had no way of checking if it was actually any good or if the camera had even recorded it.

After that I lost track of Rick. I walked back up to Market Street and found myself in a very confusing Civic Center station. It was a morass of vendor stalls, intersecting stairways and undulating escalators. I took one escalator down but found myself in BART. “That won’t get me to Grand View Avenue,” I thought, and headed back upstairs. I knew I needed a clipper card to ride MUNI, but didn’t have one and didn’t know where to get one.

I was carrying two bags, one from the Apple Store and one that was full of clothing. No one could provide any help in getting a clipper card and there was no place in the station to buy one. Finally one guy told me I needed to go to somewhere far north of the station to pick one up. It would’ve been too long a walk, so I finally decided to just go back up to the surface and catch a cab.

I took my phone out and saw it was completely banged up and scratched; then realized it was only the case. “That can be replaced,” I thought as it started pouring rain. I had no umbrella and resolved to getting drenched. I started walking up Market but ended up a bit north on one of the side streets. I called Rick, but had a horrible connection. I told him I was on my way back to his apartment and that I’d be there shortly. I couldn’t find a cab anywhere, so I started walking up Market Street toward the Castro.

I woke shortly thereafter.

Just Because

Time to spread the wealth. At this point I have no recollection of where or when I found the majority of these, so if you are the original artist and want attribution, let me know. I have years worth.

It’s Magic

Since one particular day back in 1979 when my friend Steve casually mentioned, “I was listening to so-and-so’s new album while I was in the shower today, and…” I have been incredibly jealous of the fact that he had his entire house wired for sound.

This was not common in 1979, but since he worked as a DJ at one of the popular gay clubs in Phoenix at the time, it also wasn’t particularly surprising.

It wasn’t until many, many years later while living in what was to be my last San Francisco apartment, that I was finally able to realize my dream of being able to have decent sound in the bathroom while I was showering.  I ran wires from my rig in the bedroom down the hall and into the bathroom, where they connected to some small Infinity satellite speakers I’d picked up. When all was said and done, I was admittedly kind of disappointed; it sounded great, but a lot of the anticipated thrill of doing this had disappeared during the intervening years and it got to the point that my downstairs neighbors were dropping so many snide comments about hearing 20 year old disco first thing in the morning I eventually took it all down.

When I moved back to Phoenix I wasn’t able to run the wires in a way that could be as easily hidden as they’d been in San Francisco, and an extended period of being out of work forced me to sell the gear I’d been using so I gave up on having hi-fi in the bathroom.

Fast forward to 2012 or thereabouts and the arrival of Bluetooth technology into my life.

Now I have a speaker smaller than a power strip that pumps out great sound from my iPhone at a moment’s notice. No running wires or having to mount anything on the wall. Tunes in the shower anytime I want.

It’s magic.

Seriously, SyFy? Seriously?

“Too many cooks spoil the story.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

Maybe I was a sucker for believing the buzz that this was going to be the next Battlestar Galactica, but after suffering through three nights of Ascension all I have to say is, WHAT. THE. FUCK.

You sir, are no Battlestar.

The premise of the show that SyFy was throwing out was that this was going to be a story of the passengers and crew aboard a Generational Ship secretly launched in the 1960s en route to Proxima Centauri. Instead, at the end of the first night we found out that wasn’t it at all; it was some kind of secret, elaborate, possibly psychological experiment run by some shadowy organization that may or may not be affiliated with the government.

The fact it was cast with a group of B-, C-, and D-List actors should’ve thrown up red flags. But then, prior to the BSG reboot, how many people had really heard of Jamie Bamber, Mary McDonnell, or Trisha Helfer? And speaking of Ms. Helfer, her presence in this production initially led me to believe this might not be a complete waste of my time.

“Hello, my name is Trisha Helfer and I’m only here to lend an air of legitimacy to this production and provide some MILF sexiness to draw in the 16-25 male geek demographic. You know, the ones who have never kissed a girl. And oh yeah…I needed the money.”

Oh, how wrong I was.

Even Six finds herself fighting the urge to shake her head and say, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Mess doesn’t even begin to describe Ascention. Too many storylines. Too much unnecessary soap opera drama that didn’t make any sense in context to begin with. The “ship” has been in “space” for fifty plus years, and sexual dalliances and interpersonal tensions are just now coming to a head?

“You like a man in uniform, don’t you?
“Oh, it looks like we’ve got another one who read the whole script.”
Whadda ya say we blow this joint and go play a few rounds of Penny Can?

Obviously trying to piggyback on the popularity of the Mad Men aesthetic, we have retro 60s fashions and vacuum-tube television technology, but it’s interspersed with LCD displays and advanced MRI imaging. WHAT?

Paging continuity! Please pick up the white courtesy paging phone!

Okay, to its credit SyFy did come through with enough eye candy to at least keep me coming back, even after I felt like I’d been bent over at the end of night one and thoroughly penetrated (and not in a good way). I mean there really wasn’t anything else on…

It’s amazing what you can do on with glue-on facial hair these days.
“Hello, my name is P.J. Boudousqué and you know what demographic I’m here to appeal to.”

And just to make sure the story is current and culturally hip, there’s the requisite lesbian character—but not part of the ship’s complement—because—it was explained that on board the “ship” there are no homosexuals. (It was “launched” in the 60s, after all.) No homosexuals? Have they figured a way to breed it out of the genome in only two generations? Even with the current, very conservative 3% metric, with 600 souls on that “ship” there should be at least 18 boys and girls who aren’t interested in pushing their genitals up against those of the opposite sex.

Oh for Chrissake, just take your clothes off, will ya?

By the time we got around to night three and had learned of the onboard prostitution ring, the simmering class warfare, and the fact that the guy whose father engineered this whole psychological mindfuck (the experiment itself, not the miniseries) apparently isn’t producing results—whatever they might be—fast enough for the shadowy organization overseeing and apparently financing this endeavor. Much drama ensues as it appears he is to be removed and put six feet deep into a cornfield somewhere.

But then BOOM! The “star child” (yes, she was really called that) who somehow knows this is all an elaborate ruse, manifests her power and we learn that this is the whole reason for the 50-plus year charade being perpetrated on the passengers and crew of Ascension.


How many tired tropes can you stuff in one show, SyFy?

Anyhow, as things start falling apart and apparently the 50 years of peace our “travelers” have enjoyed draws to a close, the lawyer from Ally McBeal (yeah, that guy) regains control of the project just as the shadow organization orders the extraction of the star child from the ship and sends in a standard thug from central casting to bring the girl out.

He’s not wearing the mask for lack of oxygen; at this point in the story the smell of bullshit became overpowering.

More drama ensues as thug-from-central-casting reaches star-child and another semi-important character who was having an affair with the press-on-beard guy’s wife arrives just in time to engage in a bit of rolling around in the muck. Star Child is having none of this and fully manifests her power, making both of them disappear.

Cut to her rescuer finding himself on an alien planet (with a double sun—of course—but apparently not Proxima Centauri), and everything fades to black.

Really, SyFy? Really?

So in short…

I share Star Child’s opinion of this production.

Morning Commute

A gift from a friend. It’s really growing on me.

My first exposure to Bette was (as to be expected) shortly after I came out. I was hanging around with the guy who had been my “first time” (another story for another time) a few weeks afterward in his dorm room one afternoon, and he pulled out Live at Last.

I’d never even heard of Bette Midler (remember, this was 1976 and she wasn’t the household name she is now), and admittedly I wasn’t wowed by what I’d heard (other than the Sophie Tucker jokes), but he let me borrow the album—along with his copy of Bette Midler.  I gave them both an extended listen but still wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t until many years later that I finally got Bette.

In the intervening years, I’ve followed Miss M through her highs and lows, her various albums, movies, incarnations and reinventions and have loved every minute.  With It’s the Girls, it seems she’s gotten back to her roots and it sounds good.

Quote of the Day

“Look at Marcus Bachmann, Michele Bachmann’s husband. Anybody who has gaydar—anybody who has eyes—looks at him and sees a tormented closet case who has externalized his internal conflict and is abusing other people, doing his reparative-therapy bullshit. It’s so sad and pathetic. A lot of the self-destructive behaviors gay people are prone to drifting into are directed inward, and then you have these shitbags like Marcus Bachmann for whom it’s all directed outward. Marcus Bachmann is the photo negative of the guy on the last bar stool in the gay bar, drinking and smoking himself to death, except instead of destroying himself, he’s destroying other vulnerable queer people in an effort to destroy the queer inside himself.” – Dan Savage, speaking to Playboy.

The Visit

Behold the befuddling, yet enticing trailer for Michael Madsen’s The Visit. Part of the 2015 Sundance lineup, this is the first look we’re getting at the mockumentary that asks how the world would respond to alien life.

Here’s the official synopsis from Sundance:

The Visit / Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Finland, Norway (Director: Michael Madsen) — “This film documents an event that has never taken place…” With unprecedented access to the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs, leading space scientists and space agencies, The Visit explores humans’ first encounter with alien intelligent life and thereby humanity itself. “Our scenario begins with the arrival. Your arrival.” World Premiere (Part of World Cinema Documentary Competition)