Monday, June 30, 2008

Tiaras and Tears

I have confessed before in this forum my weakness for beauty pageants. Some people watch horror movies. I watch grown women play dress up in some gay man’s interpretation of what a chaste straight man would find “sexy.” Got that?

I giggle uncontrollably at the fake smiles, the awkward posture and the cheesy music.

Well, this year, it got even better. A longtime friend of mine was actually asked to be a JUDGE. So I had to watch. Right?

Now, this was Miss Texas USA, which has always sort of been the skankier half-cousin of the Miss America feeder pageants. The makeup’s always a bit more garish. The gown’s just a bit more risqué. You know.

So right off the bat, they parade the nubile lasses out in matching swimsuits. I’m sad. One of the most pleasing parts of the show is watching a young woman parade her chosen swimsuit for the judges. Screams, followed by paroxysms of laughter and a heartfelt round of “bless her heart.” Alas, they all match.

But then they start the bio bits:

Miss Montgomery County! Once participated in a poverty simulation where she took the role of a homeless person for a weekend. In Waco.

Miss Houston! She has lived in or visited 15 countries around the world.

Miss Rio Grande Valley! 3 Time regional finalist in diving. In high school she wrote and co-directed a student produced play. (And she almost fell off the stage.)

Miss North Central Texas! Her dream job would be traveling the world and rating 5 star hotels (uh . . . aren’t they already rated? Isn’t that why they call them “5 Star Hotels?”). One of her strongest talents? Walking in high heels. (That’s called a “skill” honey, a “skill.”)

Miss Dallas County! 3rd generation pageant competitor. (That’s it?)

Miss South Central Texas! Has had two original poems published.

Miss Lake Austin! She’s blonde.

Miss Port Laredo: Her mental strength is what makes her unique. (Bend my spoon! BEND my spoon!)

Harris County! Hey, she’s also blonde.

Miss Laredo! She’s fluent in English and Spanish. (Which comes in real handy when you live on the US-MEXICO BORDER!!!)

Boy, this is going to be fun!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stupid Political Tricks

I have spent plenty of time in the trenches of political campaigns. I have run campaigns. I have counseled candidates. I have written speeches. I have even served on the staff of someone I worked to elect. Why? Because I always maintained a degree of idealism, a naïve notion, perhaps, that one individual—the right individual, could effect change and actually make a difference.

The Bush League, in a woefully ironic twist, actually proved my conjecture. They also proved that it’s much easier to be an evildoer than to be an agent of positive change.

And I think this is because most Americans are stupid. As a rule. Not as an exception.

We’re arrogant. We’re quick to stick to our often woefully underinformed opinions and beliefs. And we adhere to this imperialistic notion that we know better about everyone else’s business than they do themselves. (OMG, am I turning into a Libertarian?!?! I hope not. I truly don’t understand the dewey decimal system. Wakka wakka.)

Given that it’s a presidential election year, the US political equivalent of a Roman orgy, I knew we were going to see some bullshit. I knew most of it would come from the R camp. But there is a particular malady amongst the D’s that I knew would provide good fodder, while breaking my heart.

See for most people in the political world, it’s a game. A grown up version of Risk or Stratego. It’s why James Carville and Mary Matalin can actually get horny for each other. They don’t really care about which side of the issue is right or wrong. They just want to outsmart the other. And in so doing, they often resort to the dumbest things.

Texas Republicans are the motherload of dumbfuck. I’m sure no one missed the recent state convention where buttons were on sale that said “If Obama is President will we still call it the White House?” Forget the clumsy racism. This was at a STATE political convention. What should the be brightest, most engaged political people, gathered to debate the important issues of the day.

But instead they make buttons that come with a side of snickering and sophomoric elbows to the ribs. Of course, if you really, really want a scary read, go online and find the Texas Republican Party platform. It will send big, scary chills down your spine. You’ll be double-checking that you’re reading a document from 2008 and not something that begins with “Ye Shall.”

And I so wish that it were only the R’s. Washington State Democrats, in an attack ad on Gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, used the theme from the Sopranos. When they got called on it, they replied that they hadn’t meant to imply Mr. Rossi was linked to the Mafia. "It's a catchy song, which we thought jibed stylistically with our communication," said their mouthpiece. Motherfucker, please. What, you just wanted to remind voters that he was Italian? His name is DINO ROSSI!!!!! I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s ever eaten spaghetti figured that one out.

Just yesterday, my mom said we should “throw ‘em all out and start over.” She was talking about the politicians. I’m thinking maybe we just get rid of the politicos.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Teensy Weensy Thong, Oh My! Poke a Cougar in the Eye

According to Perez Hilton, the blogger god, via The Smoking Gun (which would be the greatest place in the world to work if you were a lawyer who didn’t really want to practice. Or if you were Gladys Kravitz) an LA woman is suing Victoria’s Secret because she was injured by her thong.

Macrida Patterson, 52, claims that a design flaw caused a little decorative metallic piece to fly up and injure her eye.

Okay, first of all honey, YOU’RE 52!!! I’m not saying you need to be jumping into the Wal-Mart granny panties yet, but seriously? A thong? Are you sure it wasn’t those rolls of cellulite trying to keep from being forced into that little fabric that flipped the little metal thing up? Or maybe it was just God’s way of telling you to TAKE THAT SHIT OFF!

Now even though I’m not all that interested in Ladies’ undergarments, as a gay man, I do have license to critique fashion decisions. And I’d like to announce today a new movement: THONGS ARE WRONG. In all cases. On men and women. Cougar and kitten. European or Alabaman. Or Linda (Bollea) Hogan.

I don’t care how hot your ass is. I don’t care how many hours a day you spend doing squats. I don’t care that your waxer gives the best Brazilian in the western hemisphere. I don’t even care if you have a stripper name like Macrida. STOP THE MADNESS.

It ruined Sisquo’s career. And it will ruin yours too. (disclaimer: there is no actual empirical evidence to suggest that wearing a “thong” will in any form, shape or fashion actually jeopardize your career. In fact, if you are a sexy woman and have a ridiculously heterosexual boss, it could temporarily give you a leg up, so to speak.)

But back to the lawsuit. I’m hoping Victoria’s Secret will use a product defamation defense, whereby they accuse the Cougarlady of devaluing the underwear by wearing them. Hopefully now she’s back to buying her underwear in the three-pack.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We All Do

So my mom, knowing that my Beloved and I spend a fair bit of time in California, asked me on Father’s Day if I thought we’d get married again now that it was legal in California. I got the real sense that she thought it would be fun to have a big gay wedding.

You have no idea how far this woman has come. Raised a Southern Baptist, she was terrified that I was going to hell. But completely conflicted because she loves her babies HARD and there’s NOTHING that could get in the way of that. But she didn’t understand the intricacies of being an out gay man in contemporary society. (She thought it was all about “bedroom behavior.”) She’s not quite Debbie Novotny yet, but I’m awfully proud of her.

Unfortunately, I had to tell my mom no. There are no plans for a legal ceremony. Why? Because it ain’t legal when I get back home to Texas. So, until I live somewhere it actually provides me with some legal benefits, I’m as married as I’m going to be. But I really do believe these dominoes are falling. And I think 8 years of having someone in the White House who doesn’t equate homosexuality with terrorism will finally push the creepy zealous right back into their caves.

Speaking of which, it’s no surprise that the members of the hellbound Westboro Baptist Church plan to picket the first weddings in San Francisco. What is surprising is that the mainstream media continues to provide coverage of their antics.

Here is the text of their news release:

“WBC will picket the godless and blasphemous same-sex marriage farce scheduled to take place in God-forsaken, Hell-bound San Francisco—Tuesday, June 17, at 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.—at the San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., San Francisco, CA.

In Religious protest and warning; to wit: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” Gal. 6:7. God Hates Fags & Fag-Enablers. Ergo, God hates the people participating in the filthy same-sex marriage orgy and Satanic Sodomitical outrage masquerading as holy matrimony. GOD HATES CALIFORNIA.”


Whether you are pro or con, seriously, doesn’t that just sound like the rantings of some deranged soul? I’m especially fond of the “Be not deceived; God is not mocked” quote. Hello, Pot? Kettle!

And the biggest irony is that the first couple to marry has already been together for 55 years!!! Talk about role models. Not to mention the complete visual disconnect between a couple of sweet little old lesbians and a “filthy same-sex marriage orgy and Satanic Sodomitical outrage.”

Hmmm. Maybe I want to get married again after all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Attack of the Hogs

This past weekend, 40,000 bikers descended on my little corner of the world. Not the Lance Armstrong kind, but the Pee-Wee-on-a-bar-dancing-for-his-life-in-the-busboy’s-shoes-to-“Tequila” kind.

At least that’s what they want you to think. I got the impression that this was more like bait shop owners than Hell’s Angels.

I like the vests though. There were some really cool patches for the various bike clubs represented. And in spite of the fact that they’re not really my peeps, I find it vaguely romantic and old-fashioned (in that lock-up-the-wife-and-kids kind of way) for a “gang” of motorcyclists to come roaring into town and take over the place. Several times, I thought seriously about getting out my white platform shoes and heading out to look for trouble.

The highlight of the weekend for me, though, was when I saw this one biker dude pulling a small cart behind his motorcycle. On the cart was his scooter. You know the kind that people with weight or leg problems use to get around the grocery store?

I immediately had a visual of him, in full biker gear, hopping off his hog and hopping on his scooter to do a little shopping. Kind of hard to cop the biker attitude when you’re essentially on a grown up tricycle. I wondered if he drove through the aisles making a “potato, potato, potato” sound and terrorizing people in the cereal aisle.

Coincidentally, my brother, the conservative CEO also took his Harley out for the weekend, meeting up with an equally posh friend in Santa Fe for some “hogging.” Hmmn. Is that a Merlot in your fanny pack, Thurston?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

See Mama, I Can SANG!

Even though I grew up in banjoland I’ve never really taken to country music. There are certainly exceptions to that rule, artists whose craft transcends the genre. I think Wynonna Judd is amazing. Ditto Garth Brooks. But I guess it’s the pop-ier sounding acts that catch my ear. (And Keith Urban sure is pretty. Bonus points for being Aussie.)

So, inexplicably (okay it can probably be explained by the tequila and a lonely hotel room) I tuned into the first performance episode of Nashville Star. Having been a devotee of American Idol, I thought it would essentially be a parallel yokel universe. And in many ways, it was. There was the judge who used the word “pitchy” a lot (conveniently seated camera left) and Jewel’s use of the word “pageanty” to describe another contestant. Honey, just ‘cuz you’re seated in the Simon seat doesn’t mean you need to steal the vocabulary.

And can I just ask why all these country performers are dressed like rock and pop stars from 15 years ago? I mean, Billy Ray Cyrus (of the achy breaky hair fame)? Dude, why did you steal that Chris Gaines look from Garth Brooks? That little aside was the worst mistake of his career. And curly, long-haired blond boy? WHAT UP with that mane? You should have given that wig to Farrah Fawcett when she was going through her chemo. It would have worked on her.

And Cowboy in the Middle? Working that black hat and moustache like he was J.R. Ewing. There was a reason why they shot him, you know?

I do have to give props to Jewel, though. She was excellent in her critiques (which wasn’t hard since everyone sucked) and even got a good dig in on Blondie—“What are you talking about with your one octave range? What do you know?” Tee hee.

Oh, you’re probably wondering about the performances. Atrocious. Awful. Abysmal. How’s that for unequivocal? There wasn’t a single performer who stayed in tune through the whole song. Until the fat lady sang.

Yep, that’s right. The producers of this mess let a plus-size mother of three get through to the finals. And in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge moment, let her sing last. And boy was I glad I stuck through the crap. Because my big sister ROCKED THE FREAKIN’ HOUSE! She was awesome.

I’m sure lots of the other contestants (including a yummy underwear model from LA) were nervous about their big moment. But not my girl. She carpe diem’d the shit out that song.

Don’t know that I’ll bother watching again. Although it could be a goldmine for this blog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Report from the Deep South

Don’t know why they call it the “deep” south. Seems like the shallow end of the gene pool to me. I’m in Atlanta working right now and boy, is this place surreal. It’s like a clone of Dallas, but everyone here sounds like they have brain damage. Or they’re in a pageant. Six of one . . .

I thought Texas accents sounded hick, but this is ridiculous. Although it’s not as ridiculous as Kyra Sedgwick’s cartoon accent in The Closer. I watched an episode of that last night in my hotel room. Can someone please explain to me why this show is a darling of the critics? It was badly acted, badly written and horribly shot. The hair and makeup and wardrobe were all terrible. I’m betting the craft service table is all day old pastries and store brand sodas.

And speaking of sodas, everything is sweet here. No wonder this is where Coke is headquartered. My first meal on Sunday consisted of fried chicken (which had some sugar component in the batter), macaroni and cheese (which had some sugar component in it) and sweet tea. Maybe that’s why everyone has that sugary sweet demeanor.

I have to confess that it’s not as humid as I was expecting. Apparently they’re in the midst of a two-year drought, which has even sucked the moisture from the air.

We’re not talking desert conditions, but at least you don’t feel like someone clamped a wet washcloth over your face when you walk out the front door.

Then there’s the ubiquitous Peachtree street names. Seriously, there is every permutation. Street. Road. West. Circle. The list goes on and WAY on. . . .and this is my other brother Daryl.

But I have to hand it to ‘em for one thing. The toniest part of town is called Buckhead. So named because there used to be a tavern in this area that had a stuffed buck head above the door. On the outside. And it became a geographical reference.

Hey, it beats Peachtree.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Recently, the speaker of the California Assembly came under fire for his official spending habits. A lifelong Democrat, the (now former) Speaker Fabian Nunez apparently liked to shop and travel (and yes, the middle “n” should have a tilde over it, but I don’t know which key that is. Does that make me racist?).

The LA Times uncovered big dinners in Paris ($1,795 for one meal), $2,562 in “office supplies” from Louis Vuitton (are we sure he’s straight?) and a “business meeting” at a winery in Bordeaux ($5,149). Sounds like one of my “business meetings” only I’m more likely to be found at the bottom of a bottle of cheap Mexican beer.

When all this came to light, it apparently pissed off Mr. Nunez. He felt the time had come to comment.

"Because of the fact I am Mexican, they think I have to sleep under a cactus and eat from taco stands."

Por favor, girl. (are we sure he’s straight?)

Okay, first off, Bitch, you are not Mexican. You were born in San Diego. Pretty sure that makes you an AMERICAN. You may be of Mexican ancestry, but there are a whole lot of people who actually ARE Mexican who would be happy trade places with you.

AND . . . you look like a whitebread Republican. Or a news anchor. You’re not exactly an “uvas no!” type of guy. Come to think of it, you actually DO look like the type who would drop a couple thou on a sweet meal in Paris.

Second, I’m betting a lot of your constituents would RATHER you eat at a taco stand than spend their money on a Vuitton briefcase or a nice Bordeaux. But you know, the more I think of it, the more I realize that maybe I’m just jealous. I mean, my beloved buys me Louis Vuitton, but it’s not the same as a stranger doing it for you.

Therefore I am officially establishing the O’Pine Extravagance Fund For Change and Excess. I personally guarantee that any money contributed will be used as frivolously and decadently as possible. And I will personally blog about what I did with YOUR specific contribution.

You COULD send a little chump change to feed some kid in Africa. BORING! Why not send me those greenbacks and let the fun begin. I’ll send you photos of me trying on ridiculously tight Gucci trousers in Monte Carlo (Is that Diddy in the background?) or me at some AMAZING restaurant in Paris sending the escargot back disdainfully after remembering I don’t’ like them. The possibilities are endless. But only with your help.

Can’t you find it in your heart to give?

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Vehicular Equivalent of a Mullet

My Sweet Mama had to have a little reparative surgery on Friday. The hospital was about an hour north of my burg, but I dutifully burned my $4.09.9/gallon and went to "sit," as we say in Texas. The drive and surgery were uneventful.

The pain meds made my mom say loopy things, which kept us in stitches. The really cool thing was that she realized she was being loopy, but loved the fact that it was cracking us up, so she didn’t bother trying to override the high.

In my experience, I’ve found that’s for the best.

So I get back on the crazy, crowded highway that connects the two cities, (along with Mexico and Canada) and begin fighting Friday afternoon traffic. Even though it was only an hour or so, I had to leave God’s Country and get back to Sanityville. And there ain’t no God’s Country like Texas’ God’s Country. Because it’s basically a bunch of stupid people who know they believe absolutely, but probably couldn’t tell you exactly what the teachings were that they believe.

Anyhoo, I’m cruising south when I see a limousine coming up fast on my right. It’s one of the gigantic SUV monstrosities, built on some sort of pickup truck platform, but stretched about 3 times.

Imagine my surprise, when I realized that this wasn’t a stretch SUV, but an actual stretch pickup. It was a pickup limousine. And the cherry? There was a camper top on the bed.

Rich rancher? Country titty dancer who won big in a scratch-off game? Or maybe just a single FLDS family vehicle.

Whoever it was must have had some serious income. I mean, how much of that $4.09.9 do you think that monster was burning through?