Sunday, December 28, 2008

Best of 2008

Since many magazines, TV shows, and web sites are doing their best of lists this time of the year, I thought I’d do mine.

I am sure many other really good movies were released in 2008, but I only included the ones that Carlos and I saw. (Maybe Carlos will also do a list?)

Plus, my best of lists will NEVER include Will Ferrell or Tom Cruise.

Top 12 Best Movies I Saw in 2008
21
American Teen
Iron Man
Michael Clayton
Milk
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Slumdog Millionaire
Son of Rambow
The Dark Knight
The Express
Wanted

Top 8 Worst Movies That I Saw in 2008

Hancock
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Jumper
Paranoid Park
Pathology
The Happening
The Women
Vantage Point

Top 10 Favorite Movies I Have Rented From Netflix in 2008
(The year released is in parenthesis.)
12 Angry Men (1957)
African American Lives - Volumes I and II (2006 / 2007)
Confessions of a Superhero (2007)
It’s A Boy Girl Thing (2006)
Paris, Je T’aime (2006)
Primary Colors (1998)
Shelter (2007)
Spellbound (2002)
The Curiosity of Chance (2006)
The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007)

Top 3 Lists That I Started and then Abandoned

Top 10 Best TV Shows of 2008
Top 10 Best DVD’s of 2008
Top 10 Best CD’s of 2008

If you do best of lists, let me know!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Long-Suppressed Gay Star Trek Episode Comes Out

I have only seen a handful of Star Trek episodes (counting all of the different series). But I still thought this article was interesting.
-----------

David Gerrold, famous for writing the "Trouble with Tribbles" Star Trek episode, also wrote an episode that included gay characters - but it was shot down by Paramount. Now you can watch it online.

To make the episode, Gerrold teamed up with the fan crew behind Star Trek: Phase II, a web series that's intended to be the fourth season of the original series. He dusted off his gay-themed script, called "Blood and Fire," and also directed it. Originally, "Blood and Fire" was written for Star Trek: TNG, and approved by series creator Gene Roddenberry, but executives at the network balked. Gerrold says they told him they were worried they'd lose their advertisers because "mommies" would call in to complain that they'd seen gay people on Star Trek.

For the webisode, Gerrold re-wrote the script to bring it up to date with issues like gay marriage, and also to make the characters more openly gay. In the original, they were portrayed as friends - the only hint that they were gay was one character asking them how long they'd been together. In the new version, as you can see in the clip here, there's no question that they're lovers.



The episode is about the Enterprise responding to a distress call, and dealing with scary "bloodworms." It introduces a new character, Peter Kirk, the gay nephew of the captain.

According to AfterElton's Brent Hartinger, who has seen the full episode:
There’s tension between Peter and his famous uncle, who is determined to keep him out of harm’s way, even if it means treating him differently than the other crewmembers. Eventually, Peter reveals the real reason he requested a stint on the Enterprise: to be near his boyfriend, Alex Freeman (Evan Fowler). When the couple make plans to marry, Kirk agrees to officiate, but only “after the away mission” — which may or may not bode well for the future of this relationship . . . The portrayal of Peter and Alex's romantic relationship is treated no differently than any of the dozens of heterosexual relationships the various Star Trek incarnations have included over the decades. Indeed, the storyline is incorporated so naturally as to make the “official” Trek's inexcusable lack of gay characters even more obvious.

The first half of "Blood and Fire" goes online this Saturday on the Star Trek: Phase II website. The second half airs in February.

You can see more images and a longer clip at AfterElton.

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This entire article was copied from here.

My favorite posts in the comments section:

So, going where no man has gone before except for that one night at college?

The bottom guy's in red. I don't see them being together much longer.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 Quotes

I spent five days in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, driving there with my sister Christine and her girlfriend Karlie.

Carlos stayed in New Orleans. (Melissa and Steve were in town.)

Here’s a snapshot of my trip via quotes.

“Karlie says that nothing goes in the back seat except for her.” Christine (the spokesperson for their relationship) to Carlos and me as we smashed my luggage in the trunk, while observing Karlie lounging in the back seat.

“That’s nothing but static. Please turn that off.”
Karlie, expressing her feelings about what I was listening to on the radio as I was driving us back to New Orleans.

“You’re welcome to ride with me, but I’m not riding with y’all ever again. Your car has too many rules.” A future quote, whenever Karlie and Christine ask me to ride with them ever again.

“Go away, okay?” Eden, my niece (my sister Claudia’s two and a half year old daughter), carefully explaining to me that she doesn’t want me to be around her. She usually takes about three days to warm up to me. Then she and I bond.

“They have to let me in. I’m a Gay Breeder.” My parents live in Faubourg Marigny, an area of New Orleans that has the largest gay population in the city. My mom loves to swim. The closest swimming pool is a health club two blocks away, usually overrun by nude gay men. That doesn’t bother my mom at all, but my dad figures that they (“The Gays”) will be uncomfortable with my mom being there. My mom responded that she would have to play The Gay Card: “….I must be: two of my three kids are gay.”

Best Quote Ever.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Expert Witness

After my recent jury duty, I thought it would be years before I saw the inside of a courtroom again.

I was wrong.

Let me back up a bit. I have described my office in a little detail in the past. Here are some more. Our office handles all the printing for the entire university campus, including all the forms for the hospitals in our area. Pre-Katrina, I was the sole designer and typesetter of those forms, as well as managing the department that produced and distributed them.

Around campus, I was referred to as simply the Forms Guy. Our customers that have known me since then still refer to me as that, even though post-Katrina I have many additional duties.

As the Forms Guy, I receive regular emails from the hospital’s legal department, asking for copies of current and past versions of certain forms. (I keep on file every present and past version of all 1400+ active forms. I am the only one on campus that has this information.)

Last week, I received a request for a form, and sent it on. The next day, I received this email: “You may be called to court as an expert witness on our forms. Would you be available to discuss that?”

This past Monday, a lawyer for the hospital called me to ask me many detailed questions about a certain form. “How can you tell it’s an original and not a copy? Can you show that the form when sold has writing only on the front? Do you have examples of other forms that when sold are duplex?” And many, many other very specific questions about forms.

This past Tuesday, I was asked to testify in court at a civil trial (including a 12-person jury), and, after some questions about my job, its duties, and some other background information, I was sworn in as an expert witness.

I was on the stand for almost 30 minutes.

From what I can gather, a former patient was suing a doctor. The doctor had written some instructions about the patient on the back of a form that officially did not have a back. (That is, the form didn’t have lines on the back, nor “-front” at the bottom to signify that there was a “-back”.) The next shift at the hospital did not see the writing on the back and didn’t copy it. That missing information caused something to go wrong with the patient’s surgery.

I’m sure there are many more details, and I could have those details incorrect, but I only know about the case what I was told. I did not attend the beginning or the end of the trial. Only my part.

The hospital’s lawyer called me later Tuesday afternoon, leaving me this voicemail: “Thank you for your help today. I’m sorry the prosecuting lawyer was so harsh with you, but you handled him well. I will call you when the jury reaches a verdict. It’s nice to know you’re around. We may need you for future trials.”

She called me Wednesday. The doctor was found not guilty.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Discovery: Girl Talk

Oddly enough, I found out about Girl Talk because the new CD was reviewed on National Public Radio last week.

Here is one of their songs...



Actually, I guess that would be "his" songs because it's just one guy. To read about Girl Talk, click here.

If you want to buy the new CD, click here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keith Olbermann on Gay Marriage

In a follow up to my Hallmark Corners Gay Marriage Card Market entry, my friend Michael sent me a link to a recent segment on Keith Olbermann's show.



It also fits in nicely with this older post of mine.

Thank you, Michael.

Thank you, Keith Olbermann.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Day

I'm very pleased with this morning's headlines!



For another side of Barack Obama, see my other blog.

Monday, November 03, 2008

News Story: Northwestern State suspends fraternity

This is the chapter of Kappa Sigma that I was at in the late 1980's. They were a bunch of rednecks back then too.



NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State University chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended indefinitely by the university and the national office.

The move comes as NSU is asking the national office of Kappa Sigma to investigate actions of fraternity members at an off-campus party which took place Wednesday night.

Five members of the fraternity attending an auction were dressed in a racially offensive manner. Photos from the event were posted on the Web site Facebook.

The NSU chapter will not be allowed to have any official events until the investigation is completed. The investigation should be complete within two weeks.

“All of us at the university are disappointed in what appears to be poor judgment on the part of some fraternity members,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Randall J. Webb. “Our university embraces and promotes diversity and will not tolerate any actions or activities that jeopardize the climate of diversity and unity that exists at the university."


I have been trying unsuccessfully to find their Facebook page. I wonder what a "racially offensive manner" means.

My guess...



------------

Update: I found this forum - with over 250 entries - about the subject.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

One Big Happy Nielsen Family

I have been chosen as a Nielsen Family this week (actually from Thursday, October 30 through Thursday, November 6). During that time, I am supposed to write down every TV show I watch at least 5 minutes of.

I considered trying to look smart and only writing down PBS and Discovery Channel stuff, or trying to promote our Gay Agenda and only writing down gay-themed shows. Ultimately, I decided to be truthful.

Once the week is over, I'll post my entire detailed list here.

You can see for yourself what crap I actually watch.

I am supposed to also record the viewing habits of all visitors to my house. You'll get to see what crap Carlos watches too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tourist In Your Own Town – 2008

Missed Part I, our adventures last year? Go here


Carlos and I had a mini vacation this weekend – our second annual Tourist in Our Own Town weekend.

Here is a brief list of our adventures.


Friday –

We each took the afternoon off work, arriving at my parent’s Little Yellow House Bed and Breakfast around 2 pm.

Musée Conti Wax Museum

Entergy IMAX Theatre – to see The Dark Knight on the huge screen



A leisurely walk down Decatur and Frenchmen Streets, browsing through shops and Jazz clubs


Saturday –

Breakfast at La Peniche, a restaurant 2 blocks from our B&B

The Riverfront Streetcar to Canal Street and then we walked to…

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art

We wanted to start our day at the Confederate Museum, but it is closed until November.

World War II Museum, which we have been to numerous times, but we wanted to see a new exhibit – Lives Remembered: Portraits of a Community Lost

Beauregard-Keyes House, where my dad volunteers as a tour guide on Saturdays. We were the only ones on his 2 pm tour.

A walk through the French Market, where I bought some local art.

Dinner at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. (We were going to go to Drago’s, as we did last year, but changed our minds.)

We took the Riverfront Streetcar to the movie theatre at Canal Place, planning to see the French thriller Tell No One, but the movie had started 10 minutes before. The next showing was at 9:40 pm so we walked across the street to Harrah’s Casino. I spent $15.00 to make $22.50. Carlos lost $20.00.



Sunday –

Carlos and I walked down Royal Street before meeting my parents at noon. The four of us had brunch at The Court of Two Sisters. It was elegant, but a total of $50 per person so I don’t think we’ll be doing that very often.

Phew!

Now I’m resting and getting ready for work tomorrow morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Discovery: Arctic Monkeys

Damn you Pandora. I keep discovering New To Me bands and can't get anything else done.

My latest discovery - Arctic Monkeys.

Their best song is a click away below.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jury Duty

I was called to jury duty this week.

Monday -
We were asked to report at 8:30 am. In Gretna. Across the Huey P. Long Bridge from where I live. That took some planning, but I managed to get there on time.

Ray, an older guy, befriended me in the parking lot and ended up talking to me straight through until around 10 am. I really didn’t mind, seeing that we had nothing else to do but watch TV (we watched the Channel 4 Morning News, Regis and Kelly, The Price Is Right, The Young and The Restless, The Bold and The Beautiful, As The World Turns, and the rest of the CBS lineup.)

The highlight of all that TV watching: Agim Kaba from As The World Turns. He was shirtless from the opening scene until the end of that day's episode.



But I digress...

At almost 3 pm, 39 of us in the jury pool were called to the courtroom. Thirteen of us were randomly picked to sit in the jury box.

We were each asked these questions (with my answers in italics):
What is your name? Marshall -----
What is your occupation? -------- (Let’s keep that info off of here.)
If you are married, what is your spouse’s occupation? I’m not married. (I purposely did not say, “I’m single.” Hey, Carlos!)
Have you or any member of your family ever been convicted of a drug felony? No. (I wanted to say, to paraphrase a line from Stripes, one of my all-time favorite movies, “Convicted? No, not convicted.”)
Are any members of your family in law enforcement? My first cousin’s ex-husband was an Orleans Parish police officer, but was fired last year. The judge laughed at that. “A very tenuous connection”, he said.
Have you ever been on a jury before? Yes. In 1997. It was a civil case. A large boat swamped a small boat and the three people in the small boat fell out. They sued. I went into the case assuming I would side with the “little guy”, but after hearing all the facts – the large boat was following all the laws, the people in the small boat were (illegally) standing up, etc. – I voted for the guy in the large boat.

The 13 of us were taken back to the jury room while the judge and lawyers discussed.

When we were called back, 9 of the jury members were let go. I was one of the four remaining.

Tuesday –
By the time the four of us returned, the other ten jury members (12 plus two alternates) had been picked.

The defendant looked like Suge Knight.



He was charged with having almost 4 pounds of cocaine in a large bag hanging in his closet, and with having a gun – a Glock 9 – under his mattress.

The state’s first witness was a fingerprint expert. No, there were no usable fingerprints on the large bag, or on any of the smaller bags within the large bag.

The state’s second witness was a drug tester. Yes, that was definitely cocaine. Yes, that was definitely almost 4 pounds of it, in powder and in crack form. The lawyer showed us the drugs, but didn’t let us handle it.



The state’s third and fourth witnesses were two of the police officers who served the search warrant - breaking down the door to the house, and finding the defendant in one of the rooms, ironing a shirt. The police had just witnessed the defendant enter the house using a key.

Yes, all the other clothes in the same closet as the Hanger O’ Drugs belonged to the defendant.

Yes, some mail taken from the house had the defendant’s name on it.


The defense called one witness, the girlfriend of the defendant at the time of the incident.

She said that the gun was hers. She said that she did not know where the drugs came from. She said that the defendant did not even live there.

At the time of the incident, she was pregnant but had been seeing both the defendant and another guy. She did not know who the Baby Daddy was. She did insinuate that the drugs could have belonged to her other lover, but could not be sure. He was shot dead in December 2007, two doors down from this residence. (The incident happened in April 2006.)

Wednesday –
Closing arguments. Then to the jury room, with the judge telling us that we needed 10 out of 12 for a verdict.

When we first sat down in the jury room, the consensus from the other jury members was that I should be the foreman. I then said, “Let’s do it like we see it done on TV. Let’s get an initial feel for how everyone is voting.”

I counted the hands signifying the guilty and not guilty votes.

I don’t think I should discuss any specifics that we discussed in the jury room. I do think that I can say that there were many, many, many heated (but civil) discussions about the facts of the case. We all definitely took our duty seriously.

We sent three notes to the judge – the first asking for a clarification about “possession” and “attempted possession” of cocaine, the second asking to re-view the photos of the crime scene.

At the end of five hours, 8 jury members were set on one decision, and the other 4 were set on a different decision. It was obvious to all of us that no one was going to change his/her mind.

The third note: “We are deadlocked at 8 to 4. We do not think this will change. What are our options?”

We purposely did not reveal which way the 8 to 4 was leaning.

From the article about our case: “Defense attorney Davidson Ehle made the plea offer to prosecutors Mike Escudier and Charlie Carr after the attorneys learned the jurors were divided by 8-4, but were unsure whether the jury leaned in favor of a conviction or acquittal.”

The entire article is here.



About an hour after we sent the note, the judge came into our room. Since he had never been into our room before, and we had talked when we were composing the note about the possibility that he would be pissed at us for being deadlocked – too much TV, I guess – we were a bit nervous.

Judge: “The lawyers saw your note. The defendant has taken a plea bargain – 15 years plus a fine. He is guaranteed to serve 85% of the time. Since he has been in jail since being arrested for this crime, the earliest he will be paroled is 10 years from now.”
Us: Jaws open – and a bit relieved.
Me (as foreman): “Do you want to know the details on the 8 to 4 vote?”
Judge: “No. You should take that to your grave.”

He chuckled a bit, but we could tell he was serious.

He told us much more, but I don’t feel comfortable revealing it.

After an hour with the judge, we were escorted as a group to our cars – with two policemen in front, two in back and one on each side of us.

They watched over us until all 12 of our cars were on our paths home.

I will never watch the TV show Law & Order the same again!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Gustav III - Board Games at Night

Most nights while on evacucation in Atlanta, the six of us – my sister, her husband, my parents, Carlos and I – played board games after the two kids (3 and 2 years old) went to sleep.

Over the nights, we played Loaded Questions, Taboo, Imaginiff, and Scattergories. All four were great fun.

Some highlights:

- For Taboo, I suggested the three teams be the three couples. (Awww. How cute.) Oh, I came out to my parents about a month ago. More details on that in another post.

The word to get to was “Disease”.
Mom (giving the clues, after quite a bit of time to get to this point): Sick very bad
Dad: Fatal Disease
Mom: Half of that.
Dad: Fatal
Mom: The other half.
Dad: Illness

From Loaded Questions –
Name the most famous person you have ever met?
Sister: Darius Rucker
Dad: Edwin Edwards
Mom: Patricia Clarkson
Carlos: Fred Travelina

I’ll let you look up those people on your own.

What is the first thing you notice when you initially meet a person?
Sister: Teeth
Dad: Smile
Carlos: Teeth
Me: Teeth
Mom (who was guessing the answers): “I guess I should brush more. I thought everyone would say eyes.”

If you would write a book, what would be the subject?
Carlos: My Life
Me: My childhood
Mom: Me
Dad: A Biography

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Don LaFontaine R.I.P.

Don LaFontaine, the voiceover king whose "In a world ..." phrase on movie trailers was much copied -- and much parodied -- has died, according to media reports. He was 68.

LaFontaine died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, according to ETOnline, "Entertainment Tonight's" Web site. He died from complications from pneumothorax, a collapsed lung that causes air to build in the pleural cavity, his agent, Vanessa Gilbert, told "ET."

LaFontaine, who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, began as a voice actor in the mid-1960s while working as a recording engineer, according to his Web site. His strong, slightly gravelly voice was featured on trailers for thousands of films, including "The Godfather," "Fatal Attraction" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." For a time in the late '70s, LaFontaine was the official voice of Paramount Pictures.

Here is a sample of his work...

Hurricane Gustav II - The Evacuation Trip

Here is part 1 of my Hurricane Gustav story.

--------------

Carlos and I left New Orleans at 2 am Saturday (going into Sunday), hoping to beat all the evacuation traffic (or, as we informally call it around my office, "evacucation" - an evacuation vacation - because we got a week off of work).

We arrived in Atlanta, where my younger sister lives, at 10 pm Sunday night - 19 hours later. The drive from New Orleans to Atlanta normally takes about 9 hours. Since neither of us wanted to leave our cars behind, we both drove that amount of time - and with only three short breaks for food and gas.

Ugh!

We spent from Sunday night until this morning (Saturday) with my sister, her husband, their two kids, and my parents. It was great seeing them.

The return trip was only 8.5 hours; We arrived about an hour ago. My house is fine. Our electricity was restored yesterday afternoon. My fence has some minor damage. We were very lucky.

Now, we have to wait and see what the next storm, Ike, brings.

Double ugh!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hurricane Gustav I - Evacuating


Carlos and I are evacuating New Orleans and going to Atlanta, where my younger sister lives. That's assuming Hurricane Gustav stays on his same path.

More on that later.

I wanted to share with you the mixed CD I made for the 10+ hour car ride. The theme is Hurricane.

Like A Hurricane - Neil Young
When The Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
Flood - Jars of Clay
Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughn
Here Comes The Flood - Peter Gabriel
Flood - Sarah McLaughlin
Floods - Fightstar
The Levee - Jonny Lang
When The Levee Breaks - Dread Zeppelin
Riders on the Storm - The Doors
Stormy Weather - Etta James
Storm - Lifehouse
Shelter from the Storm - Bob Dylan
Riders on the Storm (live) - Creed
Riding The Storm Out - REO Speedwagon

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Male Stars Update

In addition to the two current Yahoo groups that I moderate - MaleStarsShirtless and MaleStarsUndressed - I have created a new one - MaleStarsUpdate.

Here is a sample of a picture I have posted to the group:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's The Little Things II


(To read It's The Little Things I, click here.)

Carlos and I have a new Saturday night tradition - dinner and a movie. (For quite awhile, we had been staying home watching movies on Saturday nights.)

The first week was Zea's and The Dark Knight at The Palace Theatre Clearview.

The second week was Country Flame and American Teen at Canal Place Theatre.

Tonight is Vaqueros and Tropic Thunder at The Prytania Theatre.

I tried looking up the restaurant to make sure it was open in our post-Katrina world, but I couldn't find it. When I called Carlos to update him, not only did he immediately figure out that I was spelling it like Brenda Vaccaro, but he knew her birthday was November 18, 1939.

Cute and knows everything about pop culture!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Discovery: The Subways


Every week, I watch Sundance Channel's TV show "Live From Abbey Road" . This week's show featured Gnarls Barkley, Herbie Handcock, and a band that I had never heard of before - The Subways.

No. Not all together, silly!

I really like their sound. They remind me of Dash Rip Rock or Reverend Horton Heat, yet they're from England.

Here's the video for their song Oh Yeah. It was released 3 years ago in the UK. I'm still a bit slow in getting hip to new music.



If you think the singer, Billy Lunn, is cute, check out my other blog devoted to Male Stars Shirtless (or my Yahoo group of the same name).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hallmark Corners Gay Marriage Card Market


From The Associated Press:

Not every state recognizes same-sex marriage - but Hallmark now does.

After California decided to join Massachusetts in legalizing the unions, the nation's largest greeting card company began rolling out its first same-sex wedding cards this summer to meet growing demand.

That puts them in a niche once served only by independent card companies, and one that No. 2 American Greetings Corp. has no plans to enter.

Hallmark started offering "coming out" cards last year, and the four designs of same-sex marriage cards are being gradually released this summer and will be widely available by next year. No sales figures were available yet.

The Greeting Card Association, a trade group, said it does not track how many companies provide same-sex cards but believes the number is expanding.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Three Is A Magic Number

As I do at work when I'm trying to avoid work, I was playing a round of Really Tough Music Trivia Categories via email with a friend of mine today.

The only rule is that the person who starts the category must also throw out the first example. Then the first person to miss loses. We try to make the categories as tough as possible.

My category today was "Bands that have exactly three members - and all three members are somehow related. First answer: Hanson...Go." We were able to come up with The Jonas Brothers and The Bee Gees before giving up. Can you think of any other answers?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Silly Quiz

My result for The Sexuality Spectrum Test...

Mostly Gay

You scored -31 (-52 being completely gay, 0 being bisexual, and 52 being completely straight)


You are mainly homosexual, but you have a few heterosexual qualities. You much prefer the same sex, but you have a mild interest in the opposite sex. While you would jump at the opportunity to screw someone of the same sex, you might be up for experimenting with members of the opposite sex if given the opportunity. If you are sexually inexperienced, you could shift on the spectrum at a later time depending on whether you have sexual encounters with the opposite sex and whether or not you like those encounters.

Take The Sexuality Spectrum Test at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The West Wing II

For those of you who would rather watch the scene instead of read the transcript, I found this:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The West Wing

Via Netflix, I have been making my way through one of my all-time favorite TV shows, The West Wing. This is one of the best scenes I’ve watched.

Season 2, Episode 3
Transcript courtesy of West Wing Transcripts

C.J.
Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen. The President of the United States.

Everyone stands and claps. The flashbulbs go off as Bartlet enters the reception.

BARTLET
Thank you. Thank you, very much. Thanks a lot. I wish I could spend more than a few minutes with you but the polls don't close in the east for another hour and there are plenty of election results left to falsify.

Everyone chuckles.

BARTLET
You know with so many people participating in the political and social debate through call in shows, it's a good idea to be reminded...

Bartlet loses his train of thought when something attracts his attention. The camera pans over to Jenna Jacobs, sitting on her chair.

BARTLET
...it's a good idea to be reminded of the awesome impact... the awesome impact...

He finally gives up and addresses her.

BARTLET
I'm sorry, um... you're Dr. Jenna Jacobs, right?

JENNA JACOBS
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
It's good to have you here.

JENNA JACOBS
Thank you.

BARTLET
The awesome impact of the airwaves and how that translates into the furthering of our national discussions but obviously also how it can... how it can...

He sighs, and addresses Jenna Jacobs again.

BARTLET
Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D.?

JENNA JACOBS
Ph.D.

BARTLET
A Ph.D.?

JENNA JACOBS
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
In Psychology?

JENNA JACOBS
No sir.

BARTLET
Theology?

JENNA JACOBS
No.

BARTLET
Social work?

JENNA JACOBS
I have a Ph.D. in English Literature.

BARTLET
I'm asking, 'cause on your show, people call in for advice and you go by the name of Dr. Jacobs on your show. And I didn't know if maybe your listeners were confused by that, and assumed you had advanced training in Psychology, Theology, or health care.

JENNA JACOBS
I don't believe they are confused, no sir.

BARTLET
Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.

JENNA JACOBS
I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.

BARTLET
Yes, it does. Leviticus.

JENNA JACOBS
18:22

BARTLET
Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.

(small chuckles from the guests)

She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, and always clears the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath, Exodus 35:2, clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important, 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

Jenna Jacobs fidgets uncomfortably.

BARTLET
Think about those questions, would you? One last thing, while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tightass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.

Jenna Jacobs squirms in her seat but doesn't rise. Bartlet glares meaningfully at her.

She finally rises out of her seat.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Improv Everywhere: Best Game Ever

Improv Everywhere has come out with another brilliant mission - Best Game Ever.

"What we are going to do today is that we picked a random little league game that is taking place here in Hermosa Beach, California and we are going to turn this little league game played by 10 year olds into a major league baseball game."

My favorite part is when the Goodyear blimp arrives!



---------------

In case you missed them, here is a list of my favorite past missions by Improv Everywhere:

Frozen Grand Central - 207 Improv Everywhere Agents suddenly come to a halt in Grand Central Station for 5 minutes - and then resume as if nothing happened.

Best Buy - Almost 100 people identically dressed as Best Buy employees (royal blue shirt, khaki pants, black shoes) enter a Best Buy at the exact same time, pretending to be surprised that anyone else is dressed as they are.

Even Better Than The Real Thing - Improv Everywhere pretending to be U2 holding a free rooftop concert - as U2 did for their "Where The Streets Have No Name" video, which was an homage to the ending of The Beatles's Let It Be movie.

The Moebius - The description from the Improv Everywhere site: "Seven undercover agents meticulously repeated a five-minute slice of time for twelve consecutive repetitions. Starbucks employees and patrons were frightened, confused, and ultimately entertained as they found themselves stuck, without escape, in the middle of a time loop." The YouTube video.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Criminal (A Quick One Revisited)

Following up to my below Justin Nozuka post, here he is performing the song live. (The video to the original version of his song Criminal doesn't seem to be available on YouTube anymore.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

Taking an idea from Carlos (my boyfriend), here is my summer reading list. As I read these, I'll come back here with comments.

The Film Club - David Gilmore
From the cover: "The true story of a father who let his son drop out of school - if he watched three movies a week."
I finished it last night. Decent, but not great. Easy reading though. It was almost 200 pages and I read it in two sittings.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell
I borrowed this one from my dad a couple of years ago and read it then. The title phrase has worked its way into our common vernacular so I thought I'd read it again.

Pictures At A Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood - Mark Harris
From the dust jacket: "Pictures at a Revolution tracks five movies - the milestones Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate, the popular hits Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, and the big-budget disaster Doctor Dolittle - on their five-year journey to Oscar night in the spring of 1968."

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Jared Diamond
NPR interviewed the author a month or so ago. The book sounded interesting.

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World - A.J. Jacobs
From the dust jacket: "Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs' hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z."
I actually started my summer reading with this one, but put it down at the end of chapter D. I'll try again later this summer.

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America - David Hajdu
I have hundreds (thousands?) of comic books, collected in my youth, gathering dust and money in my closet. I've always like the E.C. Comics from the 1950's best. The company is reissuing many of them. Damn. More ways to spend my money. ("Beans. Magic Beans." as Carlos would say.)

Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life - John Sellers

A recommendation from Vincent from a few months back.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Out On The Tiles

A few Saturdays ago, I went to a 40th birthday party of some friends that I have known for over 25 years. I thought it would be interesting to tell the story of the night by describing the people I encountered.

Sue
It was her birthday party. I hadn't seen her in about 10 years. She and I dated for a while in high school. (Yes, I was gay then too.) A few days after the birthday party, she emailed me: "I have only loved 3 men in my life and you were the first." She is now married with three kids. Her husband is currently stationed in Iraq.

Meg
She was the co-birthday girl. Besides Sue and Meg, there were around 10 other girls in their group. Back in high school, their group and my group (totaling about 15) would all hang out together - intermingling and interdating. Whenever I had a party at my house, I would call one of them and it would instantly double the amount of party guests attending. (They always traveled in packs.)

Anne
One of the girls in their group. I hadn't seen her since high school (1985). Back then, she was dating my friend Scott. Scott and I would often double date with Anne and Sue. And then go home and sleep with each other. He and I were together for about a year and a half, longer than he was with Anne.

Scott
He wasn't at the party. He is married with a kid and living in San Francisco. He met his wife about 10 years ago when he was living in Key West, Florida. I still don't know if back in high school he was just experimenting, or he's deep in the closet now. He and I don't discuss our history.

Pegeen
The girl I lost my virginity to. I hadn't seen her since that night! I must have been 16 because I had gotten my driver's license two months prior. Back then, all the Uptown New Orleans kids would hang out at the back of Audubon Park at a spot we called The Fly. (There is a huge concrete building near the edge of the Mississippi River that resembled a Butterfly.) Every Friday and Saturday night, there were hundreds of people there. No one over 19. Everyone would park their cars, turn up their stereos, pull out their alcohol, and just hang out.

The particular night with Pegeen, Scott picked up some girl. (I don't remember who.) I picked up Pegeen. As the four of us were heading from The Fly to go off to some impromptu party, drinking and weaving through the Uptown streets, Pegeen decided to go down on me. I was driving. My first blowjob. I almost wrecked my car! I remember Scott and the girl in the back seat stopping their make out session to inquire where Pegeen's head had gone and why I was smiling. Once they figured it out, they laughed so hard that neither of them was interested in their own make out session, but started rooting Pegeen and me on. Pegeen didn't seem to notice.

The four of us made it to the party and Pegeen pulled me into a room to the side. Apparently she was drunk and horny because, without hesitation, she pulled down my pants in unison with hers and pulled me on top of her. Less than 10 minutes later, we were done.

We all hung out for a while drinking beer until Scott and I decided to leave. Pegeen and Scott's girl stayed at the party.

Scott slept over at my house that night as usual.

---------------

My second most memorable blow job: In a graveyard, right next to a gravestone, in Leesville, Louisiana - by the sister of a guy I had a crush on.

But I'll save the details of that story for another post.

++++

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Quick One

It's been really busy at work so just a quick music post tonight.

My next post will be huge.

Check out Justin Nozuka. I can't remember how I found his music, but I really like it. The song Criminal (below) is one of his best.

He's actually playing here in New Orleans tomorrow night (June 12) at HOB. Here's a link to his web site for more tour dates. If I didn't think I would be the oldest person in the audience by 20 years, I would love to see him live.

Hollywood Connection: His mom is the sister of actress Kyra Sedwick.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Walking On Sunshine

This below question came up as off-handed comment in an email filled with unrelated material, in a Yahoo group that I'm in. It's a group comprised of around 60 people from around the world, none of which besides me live in New Orleans or even the Southeastern United States. The guy who posted the email is from out of the US. (I'd give him and his country credit, but I truly don't remember. I think it's the Netherlands.)

To answer his question, I combined my personal hurricane Katrina story with bits of my friends's stories to try to give a rounder picture of our situtation.

---------------

>>BTW, speaking (earlier) about New Orleans... Today I saw a recap of 2 and a half years later and still, nothing has been done. Is this true? Why?<<

The short answer - No, that is not true. Thousands of people have worked really hard to try to bring New Orleans back. The media reports what it wants to see.

The long answer -

Imagine this situation: You've lived in New Orleans your entire life so you are used to hurricanes. At least once every few hurricane seasons (June 1 through November 30), there is one storm that you evacuate for. (You don't worry about the "minor" ones, only evacuating for the Category 3 or above storms.)

This new hurricane is predicted to hit to the east of New Orleans, but may shift so you call your friends in northern Louisiana and ask to stay for a few days. You pack three days worth of clothes. (That's as long as you've ever evacuated.) You put all your valuables in the attic. (When Betsy, the last major hurricane to hit New Orleans, came through your neighborhood in 1965, your house sustained one foot of water so you figure your stuff will be safe in the attic.)

You leave on Friday, August 26 with a full tank of gas and $500 in your pocket, telling everyone to have a good three day weekend.

Hurricane Katrina hits on Monday, August 29.

The National Guard finally lets you back into your neighborhood on Monday, October 3. You have been gone for over five weeks.

You had left a week's worth of food for your cat. He's been dead for a couple of weeks. Killed by a racoon.

Your house is on a hill six feet above the street, but the water still made it to your gutters and almost to your roof. A total of 17 feet. Remember that your same area received one foot of water during hurricane Betsy - and that water came in and was gone within a day. The water this time sat for over two weeks. Everything in your house is covered with black sludge. Mold is starting to crawl up your walls.

You call your home owners insurance company. They say that the damage to your house was caused by flood water which is not covered by your policy. They offer you $10,000 for the contents of your home. You call your flood insurance company. They tell you that the damage to your house was caused by wind damage not flood water. They offer you nothing.

You apply for a Road Home Loan - that you'll have to pay back in addition to the mortage still outstanding on your home. The Road Home has a nine-month waiting list. In the meantime, you max out your credit cards fixing up your home.

After two years, you're tired of living in a 150-square-foot FEMA trailer next to your house. You're ready to move home. The news reports about the trailers containing nearly toxic level of famaldahyde make you nervous.

Now imagine that situation has happened to EVERYONE you know in YOUR city. Every family member. Everyone on your street. Everyone in your neighborhood. Everyone you work with. Over 250,000 people.

How long would it take you and your city to recover?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Brad Delp RIP

I have a long list of topics I want to cover in my blog, not including the day-to-day events going on here in New Orleans.

One of them is the death of Brad Delp, lead singer of the band Boston. He died on March 9, 2007. (That's how far behind I am!)

From Wikipedia:
On March 9, 2007, Delp was found dead in his home in Atkinson, New Hampshire. Delp, who was only 55, died from the smoke of two charcoal grills he lit inside his sealed bathroom. He was found by his girlfriend Pamela Sullivan lying on a pillow on his bathroom floor with a suicide note pinned to his shirt. The official cause of death was listed as carbon monoxide poisoning. That day, the official web site for the band was taken down and replaced with the statement: "We've just lost the nicest guy in rock and roll."

Rest in Peace, Brad.

Here's the cast of Scrubs doing what I think is Boston's greatest song:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Karen's Reggae

One day, I’ll get into the detailed dynamics of my office.

The Short Version: I work with six other people –
3 women, 3 men;
4 African-Americans, 2 Whities Like Me,
3 under 25, 3 over 45

We have a great mix.

I am the Manager of them. They are all fantastic at their jobs so I’m more of a guidance. (I’ve been there 8 years. The rest were ALL hired post-Katrina. Pre-Katrina, our office had 22 people. After a bit of a post-Katrina shake up, I was the ONLY ONE of the 22 to make it through. That was a really traumatizing year or so. I’ll expound on that experience one day.)

In working in such close quarters with everyone, we all get to know each other quite well. One of the things that I’m known for is my music knowledge – and they know I love a challenge.

Earlier this week, Karen told me that she’d love to be introduced to some songs that “were reggae, but not that old stuff that I know, but not songs that are too fast that don’t sound like reggae, but not too new that they’re on the radio right now.”

I love a challenge.

This is the CD that I compiled for her. I did sneak in some older reggae (Come Back Darling was released in 1970), but I think I accomplished her goal.

Knocking On Heaven’s Door - Peter Tosh & The Wailers
Close My Eyes - Matisyahu
King Without a Crown - Matisyahu
Short Nigun - Matisyahu
Warrior - Matisyahu
Anda Sola (Remix) - Arcangel Ft. Don Omar y Calle 13
Mamacita - Collie Budz
Adios - Don Omar
Angelito Vuela - Don Omar
Ice Cream Love - Johnny Osbourne
No Ice Cream Sound - Johnny Osbourne
Taxi Riddim - Johnny Osbourne
Fally Lover - Johnny Osbourne & The Roots Radics
Come Back Darling - Johnny Osbourne & The Sensations
Candle - Matisyahu
Shalom Salaam - Matisyahu
Wanna Go Home - Nasio Fontaine
Tu Eres Un Sueno - Wisin y Yandel

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Last Mix

Music has always been a huge part of my life.

I have been making mixed tapes (now mixed CD's) since high school. I always give them titles - Dance Til Dawn, Cruisin' 92, Birdman's Best Unplugged, Sykotic Runner, Reinventing The Lake. The reason behind the titles and the songs picked specifically for the compilation could each fill a blog entry.

Over 90% of the compilations have been for myself. I use mixed CD's to express whatever I'm feeling at that time.

The rest I give away to friends, never keeping a copy.

I have made literally hundreds of them.

There is one mixed CD that I have been working on since 1993 called The Last Mix. My only criteria for entry is if I say "Oh My God. That is the best song I have ever heard in my entire life. Ever."

I then add that song to the mix.

I have promised myself that 1) once a song has been added it can not be deleted, and 2) the day that I fill up that compilation, I will never make a mixed CD again.

From 1993 to the present, I have added 10 songs to that compilation. This afternoon, I am adding an 11th song.

It's a 1995 song by the Jayhawks called Blue. I knew the song back then, but heard it again recently and realized how much I still loved it.

Here's the song - audio only:



If you're wondering what the first 10 songs in The Last Mix are, you'll have to wait. The compilation is less than half filled. I'll publish the details once it's done.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shirtless Sanjaya

Every season* on American Idol, there is at least one contestant that I really root for. Last season, it was Sanjaya Malakar. Yes, his singing got worse and worse almost every week, but I still liked him.






It only took me a year, but I finally found shirtless pictures of Sanjaya.



*To compare: My pick in the first season of American Idol was Jim Verraros. I still follow his career. I'll save shirtless pictures of him for another time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A List for Us Homosexuals

  1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.
  2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people can't legally get married because the world needs more children.
  3. Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
  4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if Gay marriage is allowed, since Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
  5. Heterosexual marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are property, blacks can't marry whites, and divorce is illegal.
  6. Gay marriage should be decided by people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of the minorities.
  7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
  8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
  9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
  10. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
  11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to things like cars or longer life spans.

Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages for gays and lesbians will.

-----------------------

I can't take credit for it. The credit goes to the Gator Gay-Straight Alliance.

At the end of the list, they add, "This list is sarcastic. We don't see how anyone could take our list seriously! We don't want people to get the wrong idea :) We hope to show how ludicrous the arguments against gay marriage really are, by explicitly stating the arguments... and letting the obvious conclusions from these arguments follow, which are clearly not accurate."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

New (To Me) Song

My new favorite song - from the end credits of The Last Kiss.



The band is called Turin Brakes and the song Pain Killer.

Apparently, the song is five years old. I gotta get more current with my music!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Improv Everywhere: Frozen Grand Central

Another mission from Improv Everywhere...



Here's a link to their web site.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What Religion Are You?

I took a "What Religion Are You?" quiz...











You fit in with:
Atheism



40% scientific.
60% reason-oriented.


Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people.

Take This Quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Friday, January 25, 2008

Morning Commute

During my usual morning commute this morning, a large white van pulled out in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes.

Once I caught his eye in his rear view mirror, I gave him The Look. Since he was driving a company van, I made exaggerated gestures, showing him that I was calling the phone number of his office that was posted on the side of his van. (I wasn’t really dialing.)

He got really upset and attempted to speed up to me so, I assume, he could catch my eye and give me The Look or The Bird. Apparently he was paying too much attention to me because he slammed into the truck in front of him.

He and I made eye contact one last time as I slowly drove away, smiling and waving at him.

Sometimes, it’s fun to be evil.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fun with Remodeling

I have lived in my current house since 2000. I was renting it from my sister and her girlfriend until they decided to sell it to me in 2006.


The house is only 750 square feet so upkeep is easy, but I have wanted to do remodeling work on it for awhile. I made a game out of the process. (I can hear Carlos now: "Of course you did.") I wrote down the names of all the areas of my house, including the outside, on small pieces of paper and placed them in a bowl. Picking a random area, I would work on that area until totally done and then move on to the next.


The first area I picked was the bathroom. Jason, Carlos and I stripped the old wallpaper and painted it. We also picked out new linens from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Months later, after my plumbing problems, I got stalled on the tile work and updating the sink.


I couldn't find anyone to do the work so I was stuck - and frustrated. To make me feel better, I bought myself a gift – a CD rack.


I pulled out all the shelves in my office holding the CD's, ready to move them to the new rack.

Then I thought that since most of the furniture was pulled out of the room, I should just pull out all the rest and rearrange the room.

Then I thought that since all the furniture was pulled out of the room, this would be a good time to paint the walls.

Then I thought that since it’s rarely used I should throw away the twin bed in my office.

Then I thought that since I now had so much extra space I should get an overstuffed chair and a new larger desk.

Then I thought that as long as I was painting the walls, I should get new carpet for the office. The person at Home Depot told me that the $199 installation charge was for any amount of carpet. Instead of paying that again when I replace my bedroom carpet, as I was planning on doing this summer, I thought that I should have that carpet replaced also.

Then I thought since I am getting new carpet in the bedroom, I thought that I really should repaint those walls too. (I am thinking a light yellow. I'm going this weekend to pick out a color. I hope to have the bedroom painted by the end of this weekend. It's a three-day weekend because Monday is Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday and so we're off work.)

And all that started because I bought a CD rack.

Once all this is completed, I’ll post before and after pictures.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brad Renfro - Rest in Peace




Reminds me of the day I heard about River Phoenix's death. Drugs kill, you dumb kids!