Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Challenge to DADT

Log Cabin Republicans have forced a legal challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", after a California federal judged ruled that their case against the government will proceed on June 18th. A similar suit filed by the Servicemembers's Legal Defense Network is awaiting a ruling from a Boston federal judge, after the SLDN sued for the reinstatement of 12 soldiers discharged under DADT. Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA), chair of the House Armed Services Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations filed a bill last month that would overturn DADT, if approved.

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MacArthur Parking

Bay Area commuters have a big mess to contend with after a section of the MacArthur Maze collapsed yesterday due to a tanker fire which melted the steel supports. The MacArthur Maze is a confusing knot of superhighways that join together at the Oakland end of the Bay Bridge and has probably caused more emergency last-minute lane changes than Miami's Golden Glades interchange, and that's saying something. Public transit is free in the Bay Area today and the governator has declared a state of emergency, enabling agencies such as BART and the ferry services to be refunded by the state. Oy, the hundreds of hours I wasted stuck in the MacArthur Maze. And that was just coming back from Steamworks!

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No Menus

The super of my building recently got fed up with all the restaurant menus being shoved under everyone's doors by delivery guys, so he posted a sign on the front door: "No Menus!" When that did not slow the piles of fliers, he posted a new sign: "DEFINITELY No Menus!" Oh, definitely? Yeah, that didn't work either, considering that most of the food delivery guys barely speak English. Some New Yorkers have been known to get so fed up with the menu litter that they call false orders into the offending restaurants. NYC is currently considering a bill making it a crime to leave advertising materials at buildings that don't allow it. Good. Businesses and homeowners can already be fined for allowing advertising litter to remain on their sidewalks. After Starbucks cups, advertising junk seems to comprise the bulk of the litter on the streets.

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Morning View - Park Avenue

Looking north from 14th Street. If you embiggen, you can sort of make out Grand Central Terminal nestled in front of the Met Life building.

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More Trouble For The Boy

Boy George is in jail in London after a prostitute told police that he'd been chained to a wall all night by George and another man. The hooker had arrived at midnight for an $800 "photo session" after meeting Boy George on Gaydar.com. He later escaped George's London apartment in his underwear, calling the police from a local shop. George is charged with forced imprisonment and assault. Our English pop stars just can't seem to stay out of trouble these days. Is Elton John the only one who still has all his marbles?

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Unfriended

Sunday 2pm, Starbucks, Upper West Side

Young Mother: Do you want to have a playdate with Lindsey tomorrow? I can call her mother and set it up.

5 Year-Old: No! I don't like Lindsey anymore. She's poor.

(Overheard by Jeff.)
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dem Leaders Rock Cali Con

Rex Wockner, intrepid gay reporter/superhero, covered yesterday's California Democratic State Convention yesterday, where Barack Obama stepped on his camera. That mishap aside, Rex got some great photos of Obama, Hillary, and Nancy Pelosi. Check out his story and photos here.

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Morning View - Window Kitty

Victory is mine. She slept on my pillow last night. That grumpy look is because she's waiting for me to open the blinds. She is already the boss of me. OK, I'll stop now.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

American Fiesta: Love And Logic,
Taught Via Ceramic Bowls

Last night Aaron and I attended the New York premier of American Fiesta, a one-man show at the Vineyard Theatre, whose recent big hit was the pre-Broadway Avenue Q. Written by and starring Steven Tomlinson (an Austin native, where the show originated), American Fiesta is an exploration of gay marriage, family, and the neuroscience of politics, told through the metaphor of the narrator's obsession with collecting Fiestaware, the multi-hued Depression-era dinner sets that were sold piece by piece to money-pinched housewives.

Tomlinson, a Stanford-educated college professor, corporate speaker, and lay Episcopal preacher, doesn't act so much as he lectures, using a series of back-lit slides to contemplate his Church of Christ-going parents' reaction to his plan to marry his partner in Vancouver, the 2004 election, and the way the brain functions to excite or pleasure. He unfolds his theories via the show-long metaphor of his eBay-fueled mania to collect the complete, perfect, non-flawed set of Fiestaware, the holy grail of those so obsessed. Tomlinson voices many characters in his performance, his husband, his parents, an antiques dealer, using hand gestures and subtle but effective changes in his Texas twang.

The show has lots of laughs, but most of them are laughs of recognition, of nodding and saying "yes, it IS like that", rather than punchline-driven gags. And listening to Tomlinson recount the insane market for Fiesta collectibles, where a bowl can go for $500, as he continuously moves the bowls from shelf to shelf is a bit nerve-wracking, as I'm sure others in the audience must have worried that he would drop one. I know I did. American Fiesta is a rather quietly contemplative show and while I found Tomlinson often reminded me of motivational speaker Tony Robbins or televangelist Joel Osteen, I enjoyed him immensely.

In the audience last night we spotted Nathan Lane, Terrence McNally, and other theatre notables, so the buzz must be strong already. Interestingly, the main producer of American Fiesta is former U.S. senator and NBA star Bill Bradley. The Vineyard Theatre is a small house, with excellent sight-lines, and is located right off Union Square. Tickets are available here. Highly recommended.

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JMG: Year Four Begins

Today is JMG's 3rd blogiversary. My first post:

I was born and raised in rural North Carolina.

My fondest childhood memory is of playing in the dense, acrid, poison fog that was belched out by the county mosquito control truck, during it's daily dusk-time trip down our dirt road.

The cry of 'Smokey! Smokey!' would fly up and down Nine Foot Road, once the first faint sound of the pest control truck's generator was detected in the distance. Trailer screen doors would slam open and kids would pour into the street for 10 minutes of gleeful, giddy, mad dashing around in the thick white clouds of DDT. We would smash into each other with full force in the blinding swirls and just scream and laugh hysterically, pick ourselves up and start running again. Parents had not a whit of concern about their children playing directly behind the spewing pipes of a pest control truck. In fact, NOT being allowed to play in the poison fog was often held out as potential punishment for misbehavior.

I think this explains a lot about me.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that this here website thingy would turn into what it is: a vibrant little community of activists, malcontents, and smart asses, complete with beloved frequent commenters (Lynette!). And I certainly never thought that I'd be doing occasional stand-up shows or radio appearances. The blogosphere, she is teh crazy. As some of you know, I actually started this blog because I was frustrated by the lack of character spaces afforded by the Manhunt profiles, where I'd been sort of mini-blogging snarky commentary on the wacky online hook-up scene. So props to Manhunt for launching me to JMG, but more so to you, gentle readers. Many of you have become dear real life friends and many more of you have become cybermates. I still don't know where all this is going, but I can tell you that JMG is just about the best thing that's ever happened to me. I thank all of you for dropping by.

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Kitty: Day Two

I swear that JMG is not going become a cat blog (not that there's anything wrong with that), but since there was such an interest in yesterday's post, I thought I'd give y'all an update.

Last night Shelter Kitty slept on the sofa instead of under the bed, which is pleasingly rapid progress, yes? She's still very quiet, I haven't heard her meow once, but she does chirp and purr loudly. I put a comforter on the windowsill and she's been hopping up there to look out at the rain, in between manic gallops from one end of the apartment to the other. I do notice that if I approach her bowl she will rush over to eat, as if she's used to having her food removed. But best of all, she comes when I call her or snap my fingers.

The APSCA's vet called this morning and gave me a rather lengthy and informational instruction about FIV, telling me that Shelter Kitty's diminutive stature could be because of her positive status. (Hey, I could do a Paris Hilton and carry her around in a murse, since she's about the size of a chihuahua!) I also learned that some cats "clear" the virus on their own, but that mine probably won't, because she's tested positive three separate times over the last year. There's more than a good chance she'll live a healthy, normal lifespan, but I should especially vigilant to respiratory infections and make sure she not be vaccinated again, as the shot can sometimes trigger the virus into action.

I cannot praise the people at the Manhattan ASPCA more highly. From their vet to their adoption staff to their volunteers, everyone I've dealt with have been absolutely brilliant. It goes without saying that I urge you to use the ASPCA or a no-kill shelter if you are looking to adopt. Paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a pure-bred animal versus the APSCA's very modest $75 fee (which includes spaying, shots, microchip, and more) is just appalling. And by the way, when I mentioned "Sanjaya" as a possible name, the vet screamed.

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Giuliani Reverses On Civil Unions

Rudy Giuliani has reversed his previous position on civil unions, saying he is opposed to yesterday's New Hampshire civil union vote. His campaign issued this statement: "Mayor Giuliani believes marriage is between one man and one woman.Domestic partnerships are the appropriate way to ensure that people are treated fairly. In this specific case the law states same sex civil unions are the equivalent of marriage and recognizes same sex unions from outside states. This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it."

Giuliani had previously said that he supported civil unions but that "marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman." I wonder how his good friends, the gay couple he stayed with during his divorce, feel about this. What a douchebag.
UPDATE: Sirius OutQ host Michelangelo Signorile has posted an old clip of Giuliani supporting civil unions on his show. Listen to the clip, recorded in 2003.
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Morning View - Union Square

Located near NYU and poised atop a major subway station, Union Square is the heart of NYC public political activism, hosting rallies on every major cause: anti-war, gay rights, immigration reform, etc. After 9/11, Union Square was the focal point for public expressions of grief, as it was the closest gathering point to Ground Zero of any size. Embiggen to cruise.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Progress Around the Nation

  • The New Hampshire legislative approved of same-sex civil unions today, sending the bill to Gov. John Lynch, who has said he will sign it, joining NH with New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont.
  • Iowa today extended civil rights protections to LGBT folks in an ENDA-tpe bill that took 15 years to gather enough votes to pass.
  • Almost two-thirds of polled New Yorkers statewide support Gov. Spitzer's forthcoming gay marriage bill.

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I Exist, And....

And now for the most cliched blogpost: I exist, and I have a cat. After my Tuesday bike ride past the window of the ASPCA, I came home and went to bed, where I dreamt about the sad kitty I'd seen in the window. Taking that as a sign, last night I returned. Window Kitty was on "behavioral hold", unavailable for adoption for the time being, for reasons she demonstrated to me immediately.

However, as these things happen, I noticed a tiny cat sitting alone in an isolation booth. "Oh, she's not a kitten," I was told. "She's over a year old, actually. " I said, "Oh, is she one of those dwarf cats? Her legs are so short!" The staffer said, "Oh, no, she's a Dilute Calico. She just happens to very small. I think she weighs 3 or 4 pounds. She's been with us for a long time because she's FIV+."

And that was that, wasn't it, gentle readers? After a rather rigorous interview, in which the staff actually called two of my references, I was in a taxi with a tiny, timid cat the shelter had uncreatively named "Little Grey". I kept her in the bathroom overnight, to keep her calm, where she purred like a little monster, rubbed all over me, but was otherwise quite skittish, resistant to being held or picked up.

I let her out this morning and she promptly attempted to climb up my chimney. Luckily, I got to her just before she was out of reach, then I shoved a pillow up the fireplace to keep from trying that route of escape again. I'll get a better picture of her soon, right now even the camera's shutter noise makes her flinch. Right now, she's under the bed (which she can walk under without ducking her head), but she will come out for moment to be petted.

So I've got my work cut out for me getting this kitty socialized. I've never had a female cat, all my cats have been ginormous males, like last month's houseguest, the 21-lb Maine Coon (we think) that I abandoned with my ex when I moved to San Francisco in 1995. The first task, however, is getting her renamed. I'm open to all suggestions (should this have been an Open Thread Thursday?), but I typically don't like traditional pet names like Scamper or Mittens. In fact, my first cat as an adult was named BVBD (buh-vih-buh-duh), which seemed really funny in 1980. I also don't care for grandiose names like Anastasia du Bon Marche' (sorry, Allen!). I remember somebody naming their weiner dog Glenn Harris Milstead Jr. (Divine's real name), and that always made me laugh.

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Non-HomoQuotable - Sanjaya

"I got teased in school because people figured I must be gay because I understand women. I think that's why guys didn't like me – because I got along with girls so well. When I went up to girls they would give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek like I was their gay friend. But I was the straight guy that understood them." - Sanjaya, telling People that he is not gay.

RELATED: Now that he's off the show, the story has come out that 2 years ago Sanjaya's mom was arrested after police found 310 marijuana plants growing at their house. She only got a 30-day sentence, claiming the pot was "medical" marijuana. Hmm, her glaucoma must be very bad.

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Seattle Pride Saved

On Tuesday, Seattle's gay pride organization, Out And Proud, announced that they were cancelling this year's pride celebration and declaring bankruptcy, due to the organization's $102,000 debt from last year's event. But upon hearing the news, Seattle's mo's came rushing to the rescue, pouring in enough donations to retire the debt by the end of that very day. Amazing! Seattle's pride event is now back on, scheduled for June 24th.

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Morning View - W Hotel Union Square

The Beaux Arts-style W Hotel in Union Square was built in 1911 as the German Insurance Building but had its named changed to the Guardian Life Building during WWI. Starwood Hotels bought it for their "W" brand in 2000. Did you know that "W" stands for "Whatever, Whenever"? Yeah, me either. The lobby is beautiful, I recommend sticking your head in, next time you're in Union Square to shop at Discount Shoe Warehouse.

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Open Thread Thursday

Let's play like the chat room kids. A/S/L?
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BK Tops Most Blogged List

Brooklyn has the bloggiest 'hoods in the country, according to a study that tracked 100,000 posts about 3000 neighborhoods. Unsurprisingly, the ten most blogged-about neighborhoods in the nation are hotbeds of education and the creative arts. Here are the top ten nabes for hipster hype.

1. Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
2. Shaw, Washington DC
3. Downtown Los Angeles
4. Newton, Massachusetts
5. Rogers Park/North Howard, Chicago
6. Pearl District, Portland OR
7. Watertown, Massachusetts
8. Harlem, Manhattan
9. Potrero Hill, San Francisco
10. Coconut Grove, Miami

In the print version of today's NY Post, where I first saw this item, the author said something like, "People in Brooklyn feel a real connection to their neighborhoods, like they can personally impact what is happening. Unlike in Manhattan. The Upper East Side doesn't exactly inspire blogging." I suppose I should feel insulted.
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First Gay Rights Writing Discovered

An English scholar has unearthed a scroll of parchment containing what he says is the earliest English-language writing on the topic of gay rights. Ancient And Modern Pederasty Investigated And Exemplified, a book written by Thomas Cannon in 1749 is a "defense" of homosexuality containing citations from ancient Greek and Roman literature.

The book was suppressed upon publication, with all copies destroyed and the printer forced to flee the country to avoid prosecution. Dr. Hal Gladfelder of the University of Manchester said of the author, "It's a fair assumption that Cannon was writing for a gay subculture at the time - which has largely remained hidden. Though he lived in anonymity - possibly because of the notoriety of his pamphlet - I certainly regard him as a martyr."
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Wolfpack Takes Motown

Congrats to Ray at North Carolina State, our winner of this week's Swag Tuesday prize, a collection of CDs from Universal Music Enterprise's Number Ones series. Ray says, "Well, I'm absolutely thrilled to get these CD's. As a poor college student, I don't get a chance to pick up many collections, but these just jumped out at me when I first saw them. I'm sure that'll make the long walk to my classes just a little bit shorter. Thanks for the opportunity!" Ray was chosen by Lady Randomizer as the 105th commenter on yesterday's post. And as a born-Tarheel, let me add: Go Pack! PR folks, if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, email me.

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Rosie Leaving The View

Rosie O'Donnell is leaving The View after her one-year contract expires in June. After her F-bomb-laden and crotch-grabbing performance at Monday's New York Women in Communication awards, O'Donnell has been the subject of a furious campaign by various right-wing groups who have threatened to boycott Disney-owned ABC and their advertisers. The usual Fox News wingnuts (O'Reilly, Hannity & Colmes) have been going ballistic as well.

At the opening of today's episode, Rosie announced that she and ABC could not "come to terms" and that while she regrets leaving the show, she plans to return occasionally to guest host. Barbara Walters said, "To say the least, this has been an interesting year. It has been fun-filled, provocative, and you will be missed. I would like to make one thing perfectly clear, I did not participate in the negotiations. This is not my doing or my choice."

Rosie has been a breath of fresh, angry air on The View, where the opening Hot Topics segments were a platform for O'Donnell to rant daily against the Bush administration. I became a devout viewer when she joined the cast and her departure will leave a huge void for (admittedly strident) progressive voices on network television. Her style is not for everyone, but it IS for me. We need more pissed off people with a big megaphone and I can't think of anybody I'd rather have one than Rosie O'Donnell.
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Morning View - One East River

The 50-story One East River on E.72nd Street is one of the city's oddball flock of "super-luxury" rentals, built for folks that don't mind dropping around $40k-$80K a year to rent an apartment. It's a soul-free glass box, more like an office building than a home, but I do rather like the funky slatted window vents that actually open. On nice days, One East River looks like a snake shedding its skin. Still, I would never live in a high-rise without balconies for enjoying the view. In NYC, isn't that the point?

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AFA Attacks ENDA

The American Family Association says...

Several corporations are now supporting the homosexual agenda. These companies have been convinced by homosexual activists and the mainstream media that in order to be “fair and tolerant,” companies must make special rules for homosexuals and provide company money and resources to help promote their lifestyle. Many companies, at the urging of these groups, have also begun to support same-sex marriage.
Several corporations? How about thousands, including 87 of the Fortune 500. What fucking liars. Now go to the AFA site and fuck with their survey, current results below.

If a corporation supports the homosexual agenda, would you:

  • Be more likely to do business with that company - 6,238
  • Be less likely to do business with that company -188,722
  • It would not affect my buying decision -3,946
Next AFA survery: Slavery. Good thing, bad thing?
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ENDA Introduced To House


ABOVE: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) speaks about ENDA, which he and Reps. Deb Price (R-OH) , Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Chris Shays (R-CT) introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. More photos are here. (via - Human Rights Campaign.)

Rep. Baldwin: "Twenty-five years ago, my own state of Wisconsin was the first in the nation to add sexual orientation to anti-discrimination statutes. Since then, 16 states have done the same. We call on Congress now to set a new and higher standard. With the support of the House leadership and members of both parties, I am hopeful that this Congress will close this loophole in existing law and pass a truly comprehensive and inclusive bill to outlaw employment discrimination.”

This is the 7th time since 1994 that a version of ENDA has been introduced to Congress, and under the new Democratic leadership, this is the best chance ever for ENDA to pass. Everybody cross your fingers and contact your Congressperson.

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HomoQuotable - Jackie Beat

"Ann Coulter is a horrible witch -- you know that some queen is bleaching and straightening that hair. And who designs her little black dresses and shoes? Trust me, it's gay men! I would love to see Ann Coulter in a gay-free zone -- she would have coarse mousy brown hair, poorly applied drugstore makeup and walk around in a hideous floral housecoat and comfortable flats. You can't have it both ways, Ann." -Drag performer Jackie Beat, speaking to QVegas Magazine. (via - Rex Wockner's Quote/Unquote.)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

East Harlem Run-On

(Taking a deep breath):I dusted the bike off for the first time this year tonight and had a long ride along the East River, starting at the bridge over the expressway that runs under the Hospital For Ominous Surgery, rolling by the Blackwell Island Lighthouse (built in 1872 so boats didn't run into the NYC Insane Asylum), continuing past our current nuthouse (built in 1899 and the biggest mental hospital in the world at the time), veering around the Ward's Island Bridge, then leaving the bike path to watch an inning of the East Harlem Little League, where the parents cheered the batters in Spanish and the kids jeered the pitching in Beyonce' ("to the left, to the left") as the Orioles made hay of the Nationals, and since baseball makes me hungry, I then steered into the drive-thru of White Castle where the girl at the window looked at my bike and said, "Choo mas be keeding me," but served me three delicious cheeseburgers anyway, which I ate bouncing to reggaeton on Tito Puente Way (dedicated in 2000), then finishing my tour by spending a heartbreaking 15 minutes gazing at the cats in the window of the Manhattan ASPCA, where a sad fellow totally knew how to work the crowd. (Inhale.)
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Broadway Bullet Points

  • As of yesterday, Spamalot has run longer than Camelot.
  • The Producers closed yesterday after six years and a $300+ million gross.
  • John Waters' Cry-Baby is in workshop, NYC premiere unknown.
  • New York state may deregulate ticket scalping. Current law expires in June.
  • Semi-flop The Pirate Queen may be evicted for Young Frankenstein.
  • Frost/Nixon, starring Frank Langella, opens tonight.
  • Mary Poppins most with 11 noms from Outer Critics Circle.
  • Wicked tops this week's grosses.
  • Drowsy Chaperone starts a 30-city national tour in September.
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  • HomoQuotable - Jim McGreevey

    "Although it is clear that the Defendant (Dina Matos McGreevey) knew of my sexual orientation before our marriage, she chose to either ignore it or block it out of her mind, even when questioned by her friends." - Former NJ governor Jim McGreevey, claiming his wife always knew he was a gay American, in divorce papers filed yesterday. McGreevey's "amicable" divorce has turned nasty, with his soon-to-be ex-wife claiming that the gay gov exposed their daughter to gay porn, in the form of a large nude poster (possibly NSFW) in his bedroom. A bitter custody battle is underway.

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    Sticky News For Astroglide

    Whoopsie. Wired is reporting that lube maker Astroglide has accidently exposed a list of over 250,000 customers. Google searches on their customer's names now reveal their addresses and their preferred lube. Google is working on removing the info from their caches and many of the links are now dead, but apparently the information has been out there for years. There are some big names on the list, according to the article.

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    Gay Church's Billboards Defaced

    Well, that didn't take long. God's gentle loving people in Indianapolis have already defaced some of Jesus MCC's startling pro-gay scripture billboards, spray painting "Lie, Lie, Lie" on one of them. Get the story from Indiana LGBT site, Bilerico, who notes that the vandals had to use tall extension ladders to reach the billboards.

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    Morning View - Metronome

    Hovering on the facade of Union Square's Virgin Megastore/ Circuit City location is not a digital commentary on overpopulation, or the national debt, but the Metronome, built in 1998 as one of the largest private commissions of public art in the history of the city. Created by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel at the bequest of the building's owner, the piece's elements "suggest the instant and infinity, astronomical sequence, geological epoch and ephemerality." Oh, brother.

    Almost everybody I know thinks the thing is interesting, but damn fugly, from the rock/needle/sunburst to the inscrutable spinning "New York minute" numbers (which supposedly give the time of day and the number of hours and minutes left until midnight, although it never seems right to me.) The hole in the sunburst emits random puffs of white steam "as a symbol of the city's eternal energy", which would be neat in Times Square, I suppose. This is what $3 million dollars could get you in 1998.

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    Swag Tuesday

    Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises, this week's Swag Tuesday booty is a collection of six great CDs from their new Number Ones series: Marvin Gaye , Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Tempations, Dance #1's, '80s Soul , and '90s Soul. These are UME's "eco-friendly" packages and you can download complete liner notes direct from UME's site.

    As before, this week's winner will be chosen from the comments on this post, this time using a number randomizer. Only your first comment on this post will count, make sure you leave your email for notification. You have until midnight to enter and the winner will be announced tomorrow. Thanks very much to UME! Publicists, ect: Email me if you'd like to be a part of Swag Tuesday on JMG.

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    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Protesting Is Sexy!

    A reader sent me this pic of a very sexy concerned citizen keeping track of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claiming "I don't recall" over and over again during his Senate testimony. YouTube has the embarrassing video. Employing your civic right to comment on our government's abuses is sexy. Muscular arms are sexy. Beards are sexy. And Alberto Gonzales is a non-sexy putz emblematic of the sinking, stinking morass of ethical cesspoolery that defines the Bush II regime.

    UPDATE: The protester's name is Adam Kokesh and he's a member of Iraq Veterans Against The War. Gonzales' testimony was also protested by Code Pink, a women's peace organization, garnering them a great photo in Friday's NY Times. Thanks to DC blogger Chrisafer for the information! Princess Sparkle Pony also has great shot of Adam.

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    ENDA To Be Re-Introduced Tomorrow

    This just in...

    WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, April 24, at 1:00 p.m., Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Chris Shays, R-Conn., will introduce the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill addresses discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
    Tomorrow's event has been long in the works. In 33 states it is still legal to fire someone for being gay and in 42 states you can be fired for being transgender. This is the first version of ENDA to be introduced that will include gender identity among its protections, long a sticking point for some gay rights orgs that refused to work on the bill until transgender folks were added. I would love to be in the gallery tomorrow when this historic event takes place. With the Matthew Sheppard Act introduced last week, and now ENDA on the table once more, 2007 truly promises to be the most meaningful year in the history of gay rights. More on this tomorrow, of course.

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    Christians Disrupt Daisey

    Friday night in Cambridge, monologist/writer Mike Daisey had his show at the American Reperatory Theatre disrupted when 87 members of a Christian group decided to leave the theatre in the middle of the show, with one man pouring water on Daisey's notes as the group filed past the stage. It seems to be unknown why the Christian group decided to attend Daisey's show, which is known for strong language. The video is already getting wide play on YouTube.

    CORRECTION: Contrary to Mike Daisey's description of the disrupters as a "Christian group", it appears that they were a public high school choir group with many Christian members.

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    Spitzer To Post Gay Marriage Bill

    Governor Eliot Spitzer has announced his plan to introduce a bill to legalize gay marriage in New York. The bill is not expected to pass. Same-sex marriage legislation has never made it to a floor vote in the New York Assembly or Senate. Still, marriage equality activists are heralding Spitzer's plan, saying his move will lend "strategic and symbolic weight" to the cause. From Spitzer on down, every statewide-elected politician in New York now supports same-sex marriage. It's the pesky local pols that are gumming up the works.

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    HIV Blocking Peptide Found

    German researchers have identified a peptide that blocks HIV and have synthesized a variant that is 100 times more potent than the natural peptide. The synthetic version has been tested safely on animals and human trials are set to begin later this year. This peptide could obviate existing HIV drugs as it appears to work equally well on all strains of the virus, including drug-resistant ones. The drug is made by IPF Pharmaceuticals of Hannover.

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    Morning View - Christopher Street


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    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    Saturday. In The Park.

    Yesterday's glorious sunshine allowed us to renew our favorite warm weather tradition, lazy Saturday afternoons spent sprawled above Central Park's roller disco. The DJ starts up around 2PM, beaming old school disco and R&B classics to a wireless speaker system, while a crazy group of show-offs and eccentrics perform tricks and roller-boogie around. We spotted most of our favorites yesterday: Bottlehead, Bladey Flowness, Energizer Bunny, and Disco Grandma.

    By the end of last summer, we were having 20 or more friends show up for our lazy picnics, smuggling white wine in Sprite bottles and usually getting slightly loaded before the DJ packs it in around 6pm. (OK, sometimes more than "slightly" loaded. The boys are still telling the story of when your humble narrator drunkenly climbed on the statue of Balto and shouted, "The dingo ate my baby!" My life, lived in quiet dignity.)

    There are no leaves on the trees yet, so our usually shady spot on Bear Hill actually got us a bit sunburned. (Father Tony insists that we call our spot "Blogger Hill", but that just doesn't have as nice a ring.) The Central Park Dance Skaters Association sets up every weekend day, weather permitting. Some of the best things in NYC are free. Embiggen for the proof.

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    Friday, April 20, 2007

    Cyndi Lauper Shouts Out To JMG


    Here are the deets on the tour: Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry, The Dresden Dolls, The Gossip and The Misshapes with host Margaret Cho take the celebration of the first annual True Colors Tour to support the Human Rights Campaign. The 15 city nationwide tour, presented by Logo, kicks off Gay and Lesbian Pride Month on June 8th at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. The concert features 5 hours of nonstop music with other exciting guests appearing on select dates throughout the tour including Rufus Wainwright, Rose O’Donnell and The Indigo Girls with additional guests to be announced. I can't wait!

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    Family Pride Wins Grant

    Kevin Bacon's charity website, Six Degrees, has named Family Pride as one of its six charities to win a matching grant, after the gay families group raised over $30,000 from 1138 donors. Bacon had pledged $10,000 to each of the top six groups with the most unique donors. Family Pride placed third, winning the additional money and a mention from Bacon on the Tonight Show this evening. Six Degrees, taking its name from the game Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, was founded as a clearinghouse for donations to disaster relief, charities, and other causes. Congratulations, Family Pride! Make your own donation to Family Pride here.

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    Spider-Man: The Musical. No, Really.

    Bono and The Edge are penning a Broadway musical version of Spider-Man, and auditions are already underway for a first reading, with Julie "Lion King" Taymor set to direct. That this news comes just as April 30-May 6 has been named "Spider-Man 3 Week In NYC" is pure coincidence of course. Producers are said to be looking for an actor in his late teens with a "great pop/rock voice" to play Spidey. Hmm, I know a certain aspiring singer who suddenly has time on his hands.

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    Jerusalem Bomb Protests Pride

    This morning a bomb exploded near Jerusalem and investigating police found leaflets protesting the upcoming Jerusalem gay pride parade. Ultra-orthodox Jews are suspected to have planted the bomb, which slightly injured a farmer when his tractor rode over the device. Noah Sattah, executive director of Jerusalem Open House issued this statement: "Jerusalem Open House could not more strongly condemn this act of violence and hatred directed at us. This violent act is just one example of the religious bigotry, prejudice and violence lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the world are confronted with every day." There has been previous violence involving ultra-Orthodox protesters at Jerusalem pride events.

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    Bloomberg To Unveil Huge Wish List

    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg will unveil a massive list of capital improvement projects for the city at an Earth Day ceremony this Sunday, including a new midtown trans-Hudson tunnel and a plan to begin "congestion pricing" for drivers entering crowded midtown and downtown areas during peak hours. London has had success with a similar plan, which has not only raised revenues for the city, but has reduced gridlock. There is already a considerable movement to block congestion pricing for NYC, which has been called a tax on low income New Yorkers. The fee may be as high as $8, minus toll if you are coming by bridge or tunnel. Maybe some Londoners can weigh in with their opinion on how congestion pricing has worked for them?

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    Sprung

    There seems to be an strange and bright glowing light in the sky. Odd. Tomorrow feels like a good day for Central Park.

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    HomoQuotable - Curtis Dahn

    “Thirty-three people were killed. Some were queer, and others were straight allies. The GLBT community at Tech grieves in the same way as others — deeply and as part of a greater whole.” - Virginia Tech GLBT Student Alliance president Curtis Dahn, reporting that gay students are among those killed in Monday's massacre.

    Dahn declined to name or number the gay students killed, saying, "Yes, there were gay people that were killed. One was a very close friend of mine. But I don’t feel comfortable talking about it because I haven’t talked to the families and I want to be respectful to the families, first and foremost. I don't want this to be a gay thing, because it’s not a gay thing. It’s an everybody thing.” (via - NY Blade)

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    Survey On Gay Neighbors

    In a survey of 24 nations conducted between 1999 and 2002, homophobia was shown to be the most prevalent form of bigotry in the western world, compared to bigotry based on race, religion and national origin. Titled Human Beliefs And Values, the survey was conducted by a international group of social scientists, who asked Europeans and Australians the question "Would you mind a homosexual living next door to you?" The percentage of respondents who said "yes" varied greatly by country. Some of the most offended:

    Northern Ireland - 36%
    Italy - 29%
    Austria - 26%
    Greece - 26%
    Portugal - 25%
    Australia - 24%
    New Zealand - 22%

    The most welcoming country for homos was Sweden, with only 6% objecting to gay neighbors. I'll try to find the complete list and post it here. I suppose we should be comforted that even in the most homophobic nations in the survey, around 70-75% would have no problem with gay neighbors. How do you think the USA would rank?

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    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Goodbye Sanjaya

    Wearing a t-shirt that said "Life Is Beautiful", Sanjaya was voted off of American Idol last night, ending a national obsession. After the result was announced, fellow contestant Lakisha gave Sanjaya an extremely long embrace as the audience gave him a standing ovation. And then, as is tradition, Sanjaya was given to mic to perform a final number, in which he changed the lyrics of Bonnie Raitt's Something To Talk About, singing "Let's give them something to talk about, other than HAIR!" Good for him. His supporters, the "fanjayas", are swarming the message boards with notes of grief and enduring love. And now I can return to ignoring American Idol.

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    Deca Disappears

    Watson Pharmaceuticals has discontinued production of its AIDS-related wasting drug, the anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate (brand name Deca-Durabolin), citing diminished availability of the medication's active ingredient. Some AIDS activists are protesting the move, claiming that Watson has discontinued Deca in order to focus on their recently acquired license to manufacture a generic version of Oxandrin, another anti-wasting drug.

    In some circles, Deca-Durabolin has been long known as the "Lazarus drug", for its remarkable ability to transform nearly skeletal AIDS patients into robust, athletic-looking men. In fact, some HIV activists actually blame the drug's transformative powers for helping create the media-led misperception of HIV-infected gay men as muscular, mountain-climbing, gym bunnies, as so often depicted in HIV pharma advertising. Deca-Durabolin's HIV-related usage is "off-label", the FDA approved the drug to treat anemia. Deca is considered relatively safe, cost-effective, and is an approved ADAP medication.

    Not all activists are accusing Watson of pulling a fast one, citing the company's long history of generous patient assistance programs. Tim Horn, senior writer for AIDSmeds.com, says that Deca's end is the fault of activists themselves, who should have been more aggressive in getting the drug FDA-approved as an AIDS medication. Oxandrin, Deca's defacto replacement, is more expensive and unlike Deca, can cause liver damage. Activists successfully forced Deca's return to the market after its previous manufacturer discontinued it in 2002. For the sake of my friends who depend on Deca, I hope they are successful again.

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    Bathhouse Betties

    The current issue of The New Yorker features an article about the Ansonia Hotel, former home of the legendary Continental Baths:
    What is it about the Ansonia Hotel, at Broadway and Seventy-third Street, that makes people want to take off their clothes? In the nineteen-sixties and seventies, naked men, sometimes ten thousand of them a week, used to hang out downstairs in the sauna, Turkish baths, and massage parlor of the Continental Baths, where Bette Midler got her start (clothed), singing torch songs poolside, accompanied by Barry Manilow, to an audience of men wearing white towels (black towels on formal nights)—the very same outfit worn by the undercover cops who frequently raided the place. In 1977, women started getting naked, too, when the baths reopened as Plato’s Retreat, the heterosexual swingers’ club. (Of course, they might have been there for the all-you-can-eat buffet of bagels, lox, and Scotch.)

    Look for more skin at this location now that it has been transformed into the newest branch of Loehmann’s. Many New York women have traumatic memories of zaftig matrons in giant bras and girdles preening in front of mirrors in the famous communal dressing room, and asking strangers to unzip them, while bored husbands sat in soiled armchairs by the curtained doorway, hoping to catch a glimpse of thigh. As one veteran shopper said recently, “As a child, everything scary I knew about women and female anatomy I learned in that dressing room.”
    Turning the site of a former bathhouse into a women's discount clothing outlet is a classic sign of the times, isn't it? However, I'm happy to report that despite earlier press accounts, another Manhattan landmark, the former Limelight nightclub is not becoming an H&M outlet after all. Several weeks ago the building resurrected itself one more time as its last nightlife incarnation, Avalon, and is packing in the boys on Saturday nights once again.

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    New Hampshire Civil Unions Likely

    New Hampshire Governor Bill Lynch said today that he will sign the civil unions bill which is expected to pass the NH Senate next week. When that happens, New Hampshire will join Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey as the fourth state to offer civil unions to same-sex partners. Gov. Lynch has said that he still opposes marriage for gay partners, but that civil unions are "a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination."

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    He's Your Dreamgirl, Boy

    Congratulations to Jake, who authors the Chicago-based blog, NoFo, the winner of Tuesday's Dreamgirls contest. Jake was our 46th commenter on my sister's 46th birthday, hence his selection. And by an odd coincidence, yesterday was also Jake's birthday!

    Jake says: "This makes me a bigger Dreamgirls winner than Eddie Murphy! This DVD is much more exciting than the new bathroom rugs I got from my mom. (That screaming you hear is probably from my Dreamgirls-freaky boyfriend, who will naturally claim the Dreamgirls glory as his own. He can be so Deena like that.)"

    Thanks go out to Paramount Pictures, who has already been in contact with Jake. Dreamgirls comes out on DVD on May 1st. There will be another giveaway next Tuesday, courtesy of Universal Music Group. Publicists - email me if you want to take part in Swag Tuesdays.

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    Open Thread Thursday

    Do you try to become friends with hook-ups/tricks/one night stands? Or are you happy if you never run into them again?
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    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Supremes Uphold Feds On Abortion

    By a 5-4 vote, today the Supreme Court gave the anti-abortion movement its hugest victory in many years, upholding the federal ban on "partial-birth" or late-term abortions. Predictably, dissenting justices were Ginsberg, Souter, Stevens, and Breyer. Justice Ginsberg objected so strenuously, she took the unusual step of reading her dissent from the bench, noting that this ruling will disadvantage adolescents and underclass women who often have difficulty gaining access to early-term abortions.

    Already the Christianist sites are crowing, hailing today's decision as the "first blow" towards of the reversal of Roe V. Wade and the end of abortion in America. The progressive listservs are also very active, with a protest march in Manhattan already scheduled for tonight. I expect that some of the major gay orgs will weigh in shortly, surely to the dismay of some gay activists who feel that gay rights groups should stay out of "non-gay" issues. As I've said here before, I strongly disagree with that mindset. Gay men in particular may feel that they don't have a dog in this fight, but they're wrong. Any encroachment into the personal liberty of Americans is everybody's concern and I look forward to seeing what position the HRC or the NGLFT will take.

    UPDATE: From the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force: "Today's decision is the direct result of President Bush being allowed to put Samuel Alito and John Roberts - ultraconservatives committed to elevating ideology over the health and safety of women - on the Supreme Court. With this decision, a majority of our nation's highest court permitted itself to be a tool of the anti-choice movement instead of preserving a woman's constitutionally protected right to make childbearing choices in consultation with family members and medical care providers. This is a sad day for America and our constitution." - Matt Foreman, Executive Director.
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    QJL Meeting Tomorrow

    Following along on the Queer Justice League's listserv, it's impossible not to be reminded of Monty Python's Life Of Brian.

    REG: Listen. If you really wanted to join the Peoples Front of Judea, you'd have to really hate the Romans.
    BRIAN: I do!
    REG: Oh, yeah? How much?
    BRIAN: A lot!
    REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.
    JUDITH: Splitters.
    FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.
    LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.
    JUDITH: Yeah. Splitters!
    REG: What?
    LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.
    REG: We ARE the People's Front of Judea!
    LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
    REG: People's Front!
    FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
    REG: He's over there.

    The next meeting of the Queer Justice League takes place tomorrow night, 7pm, at the LGBT Community Center.

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    Priorities

    Upper East Side, 1st & 71st, 8:30am

    A woman is walking her dog in front of an under-construction high-rise. A cement truck is waiting to back into the site.

    Construction Guy: Excuse me, miss! Can you please use the other sidewalk?

    Woman (pointing at dog): When he is done making HIS shit, you can go back to making YOURS.

    I was more startled by the polite construction worker than by the woman's response.
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    Madison Mayor Alters Oath

    "I cannot in good conscience take office without noting my strong opposition to the recent amendment that so blatantly discriminates against my fellow Wisconsinites who are gay or lesbian." - Madison, Wisconsin's newly elected Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, during yesterday's swearing-in ceremony. Half of Madison's city council joined Cieslewicz in altering their oaths of office, earning the wrath of conservatives. Fantastic.

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    Kucinich To File Against Cheney

    Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has announced that this week he plans on filing articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. Beltway insiders are claiming this move is merely a publicity ploy by Kucinich, who is trailing far behind in the polls. One quote: "We’ll see a Kucinich administration before we’ll see a Cheney impeachment.”

    Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either.

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    Net Radio Collapsing Under Ruling

    The internet radio industry was dealt a sharp blow yesterday when the Copyright Royalty Board refused to reconsider a ruling that sharply raised the royalties internet stations must pay to artists and record companies. Most internet stations such as 365Live.com now say they will not be able to go on under the new rules. Some of my personal favorite stations have already folded. Gaydar Radio is now free only in the UK and NPR says they may be cutting back on their online streaming. There are many online petition drives urging the FCC to change its ruling, but prospects appear dim.

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    National Day Of Silence


    Today is the 11th annual National Day Of Silence, in which students around the country will remain silent during their school day to draw awareness to homophobia on campus The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network has distributed stickers and cards for students to pay out. The material reads: "Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?"

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    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Clergy Back Hate Crimes Act

    Hundreds of clergy from all faiths have gathered in Washington today to lobby for the passage of ENDA and the LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill, which last week was renamed the Matthew Shepard Act when it was introduced in the Senate. HRC's Joe Solmonese: "For too long, there has been a false perception in American politics that faith and religion stand diametrically opposed to equality for GLBT Americans. The hundreds of clergy joining us are here because they understand that we are all God’s children, and our differing sexual orientations and our differing gender identities are not shameful sins, but rather amazing gifts from God."

    This year could prove to be the greatest year for the cause since 2003's Lawrence v. Texas. We're so close. So very close.
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    Sanjaya: Maxim's Girl Of The Day

    OK, now it's on. Laddie mag Maxim has just named Sanjaya as their Girl Of The Day. I'll admit that previously I joined in the Sanjaya bashing as gleefully as the next person, but Maxim has pissed me off enough to really start pulling for the kid. It's sorta how we're allowed to make fun of our own, but The Others are not, dig? I can't imagine that Sanjaya is not One Of Us (and I hope he is), and even if Maxim is just taking a good-natured poke at him (and I think they are), I feel we must now claim him. Sanjaya lives! (via - Towleroad.)

    UPDATE: Having seen tonight's show, I'm fairly confident Sanjaya's ride is over. He was just impossibly bad.

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    Linky Love

    From a few of my blogroll favorites...

    -Beloved-by-all JMG commenter Lynette tells a poignant story of AIDS and enduring love.

    -SuperDaddy Mark visits San Francisco and dreams a golden dream.

    -Top (chef) Aaron photoblogs his latest masterpiece.
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    HomoQuotable - Matt Foreman

    "Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been utterly wasted on 'abstinence-only until marriage' programs. Why? To appease a rabidly vocal minority that cares more about getting our government to promote their religious ideology than they do about the health of young people. 'Abstinence-only until marriage' propaganda has been particularly insulting to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people because the most vocal opponents of marriage equality have been abstinence-only's most vocal proponents. Given this latest study - which confirms multiple other government and privately funded reports - it would be unconscionable for Congress to appropriate one more penny to these thoroughly debunked, ideologically driven, harmful and wasteful programs." - National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman, responding to the news that federal abstinence-only programs have not altered the sexual behavior of young people.

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    Dreamgirls Giveaway

    Today a lucky JMG reader will win a deluxe Dreamgirls DVD package and a collectible Playbill from the premiere screening, courtesy of Paramount Pictures, as they promote the DVD's May 1st release. Using a highly scientific entirely random selection process (asking my mom to pick a number), a commenter on this post will be chosen and notified by email Wednesday.

    Adding spice to the promotion, Paramount is staging a "Live The Dream" contest, inviting the public to submit their own a cappella video of themselves singing a song from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. The videos will be reviewed by Dreamgirls director/writer Bill Condon and producer Laurence Mark, with the winner receiving a $5000 shopping spree. There have been a handful of videos already submitted and the one below is not too shabby, but I'm hoping that there's a JMG reader out there than can top her. C'mon, boys. You know you've been singing that song in the shower for years. I'll be highly tempted to post any reader videos here, so be warned.

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    Monday, April 16, 2007

    33 Dead At Virgnia Tech

    A lone gunman killed 33 people at Virginia Tech today, in what is being called the deadliest school massacre in American history. It appears that most of the dead are students, some of whom were shot in their dormitories.

    GUN CONTROL.

    GUN CONTROL.

    GUN CONTROL.

    It's the only answer.

    UPDATE: A Virginia Tech student live-blogged his wrenching day. News media reps are leaving comments, begging for interviews.
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    Indy Billboard Campaign Quotes
    Gay-Friendly Bible Verses

    Jesus MCC of Indianapolis has launched a city-wide billboard campaign that counters the prevailing opinion that gay love is condemned in the Bible The church's site, Would Jesus Discrimate, says about the billboard picured here (one of six in the campaign), "Throughout Christian history, Ruth's vow to Naomi has been used to illustrate the nature of the marriage covenant. These words are often read at Christian wedding ceremonies and used in sermons to illustrate the ideal love that spouses should have for one another. The fact that these words were originally spoken by one woman to another tells us a lot about how God feels about same-gender relationships."

    Even though I'm a rather militant atheist, I dig this billboard campaign, although I can imagine a few car accidents occuring as outraged Christians hit their brakes while they blow their tops. And I'll all for people blowing their tops, even in the name of Jeebus.

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    Iraq Improves Stance On Gays

    Last week, Deb Price of the Detroit Press managed to get the Iraq government's spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, to now condemn the killing of Iraqi gays, when she demanded, "Does the Iraqi government condemn the killings of Iraqis targeted specifically because they're homosexual?" The spokesman responded, "Iraqi government condemn each and every killing -- whoever are being killed. Definitely we condemn it. Due to any reasons."

    Price calls the latest statement "encouraging", especially in light of al-Dabbagh's previous comment on the U.S. State Department's report regarding anti-gay hit squads in Iraq: "There was information in the report that we cannot accept here in Iraq. The report, for example, spoke about the phenomenon of homosexuality and giving them their rights. Such statements are not suitable to the Iraqi society. This is rejected. They should respect the values and traditions here in Iraq."

    In her column, Price calls for American intervention on behalf of Iraqi gays, saying, " U.S. officials need to do more -- publicly denounce any targeting of sexual minorities in the fledgling democracy. In Iraq, all of the violence against innocent civilians is horrifying. But if a stable, relatively peaceful Iraq is ever to emerge and join the ranks of civilized nations, it will have to be a place where government tries to safeguard the rights of all, including its most vulnerable citizens." Yes, indeed, Ms. Price.

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    Google Launches Free 411

    Google has launched another innovative service, a free local 411 directory. Dial 1-800-GOOG-411 and they'll connect you for free to any business. I think my cell phone company charges about a buck for each 411 call. Now I've got to figure out what Google is getting out of this.

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    Firefighter Wins Discrimination Suit

    A male firefighter was awarded $1.7M by a Los Angeles jury for anti-gay discrimination he claims he suffered for coming to the defense of a lesbian firefighter. The firefighter had claimed he was forced out of the fire department after he supported his coworker in her homophobic bias suit against the department. I presume the male firefighter is straight, making this another ironic example of how workplace protections for LGBT people can benefit all.

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    Wettest Day In 119 Years

    Holy crap! We got 7.81 inches of rain in Central Park yesterday, the wettest day in NYC in 119 years, and almost breaking the 1888 record. That's Florida-style rain right there. But there's no flooding around Manhattan, at least none that I've noticed. I guess we've got great drainage 'round these parts.

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    Morning View - Jefferson Library

    Looking spooky in this rain, the West Village's Jefferson Market Library was built in 1874 and was used as a courthouse until 1945. The adjoining buildings on the property were used as the New York Women's House Of Detention. When weather permits, the library has a lovely flower garden open to the public.

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    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    PotatOH!

    I'm proud to report that I have taken my food preparation laziness to new dizzying heights, with the advent of the pre-washed, individually packaged Express Bake PotatOH!, which is ready for immediate microwaving. I don't know if this is a new gimmick or if I just noticed them, but it pleases me greatly.

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    Saturday, April 14, 2007

    Instant Disco History #12
    Ooo-Wah, Ooo-Wah

    Ooo-wah, Ooo-wah. How I hated it. That frenzied, bizarre, dance floor chant that arose during peak moments in gay clubs of the 70's. Ooo-wah, Ooo-wah. Never once in 30-some odd years have I ooo'd or wah'd. Always it would seem to arise during the exact moment of a song I was particularly enjoying, shattering the moment as I gritted my teeth to glare at my partner, letting him know that he was NOT to take part, not ruin my Donna Summer, my Gino Soccio. I still hear it today, on rare occasions, and I still have the same reaction.

    Record producers were quick to incorporate the sound, which my straight friends christened the "queer call." Around 1977, it was not uncommon to hear that cursed sound in a half a dozen songs over the course of evening, So despite my enduring distaste for ooo-wah, ooo-wah, here's a trio of hit songs that successfully rode the ooo-wah train to chart success.

    Michael Zager Band had the biggest ooo-wah club hit with Let's All Chant, an inane bit of disco puffery with the immortal lyrics, "Your body, my body, everybody move your body." Zager was a one-hit wonder with Let's All Chant, although he had lots of success producing other artists such as Whitney Houston's mom, Cissy. Michael Zager Band - Let's All Chant (Private Stock Records, 1977) #1 Dance, #15 R&B, #35 Pop. (Download. Stream.)


    Foxy, a Miami-based trio that included Tito Puente's son on percussion, had a smash with Get Off, which still can be heard ooh-wahing around R&B oldies shows. Foxy frontman Ish Ledesma went on to produce some of the biggest hits of the mid-80's "Miami sound", including Company B's Fascinated (which featured his wife and sister-in-law) and Promise Circle's Be Mine Tonight. Foxy - Get Off (TK Disco/Dash Records, 1978.) #1 Dance, #1 R&B, #9 Pop. (Download. Stream.)


    Heatwave gave the world Rod Temperton, writer of many hits for Michael Jackson, Rufus, Brothers Johnson, and many of the other biggest Quincy Jones-produced hits of the 70's & 80's, so for that, I forgive The Groove Line, whose ooo-wah, ooh-wah lingered at the top of the charts for most of the summer of 1978. Plus, Heatwave gave us Always And Forever, providing endless karaoke hilarity for the last 30 years. Heatwave - The Groove Line (Epic Records, 1978.) #1 Dance, #3 R&B, #7 Pop. (Download. Stream.)

    Previously on JMG:
    Instant Disco History #1: Voggue
    Instant Disco History #2: Luther Vandross
    Instant Disco History #3: Skatt Bros.
    Instant Disco History #4: Karen Finley
    Instant Disco History #5: Disco Orchestra
    Instant Disco History #6: On Broadway
    Instant Disco History #7: New York City
    Instant Disco History #8: Disco Lucy
    Instant Disco History #9: Morning Music
    Instant Disco History #10: Don't Leave Me This Way
    Instant Disco History #11: Disco Xmas
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