Mitt Romney very nearly has it wrapped up ...
... but what, exactly, is a Mitt Romney?
I don't see how a father, or any parent, can look at their son, the one they've loved since before the child was even born, and upon hearing him say, "Dad, I'm gay," turn their back on him. The comments from men much older than me telling stories just like that break my heart. My wife always wants to adopt the teenage kids who write to her; I want to adopt the 60-year-old men who cry when they read that I tell my son how awesome he is. I don't care if they are as old as my father; they deserve love just as much as anyone else.
Gay groups take root in military academies.
Novelist Kergan Edwards-Stout writes a letter to his long-dead bully:
How lonely you must have felt, Dirk, as you tied that rope. Could you really see no path forward? Was there no one you could have reached out to? Was there no friend, family member, priest, counselor -- not one person you could've trusted with your pain?
Later, I heard that you'd left behind a note, writing that although you did not like girls, you did not want to like boys. And suddenly it became horribly clear to me. You and I were exactly alike. That anger and venom you directed at me, you were also directing at yourself.
The Moscow Times has a sunny take on the way Russian gay life has been driven underground:
The city's gay scene is surprisingly busy and accessible to all, with four well-established clubs and a smattering of bars and saunas— it differs little from the scene to be found inany other European city. While visibility is increasing, nearly all establishments remain somewhat discreet about their nature, so you can still expect good old-fashioned videophone entries andunsigned venues, which just adds to the sense of adventure.
Salon on the ongoing right-wing takeover. (Curiously, they leave out the bit about how libertarians and objectivists have run the Fed for a generation.)
These are supposed to be the worst album covers of all time, but I think they're kind of awesome.
Archaeology from space:
By combining the earthly and the bird's-eye, Menze and Ur have so far created "the largest archaeological record for a landscape in Mesopotamia." That record currently maps about 14,000 different sites -- spanning, in all, about 8,000 years of human history.
Big in China: Eggs boiled in the urine of boy virgins ...
There is no good explanation for why it has to be boys' urine, just that it has been so for centuries.
The scent of these eggs being cooked in pots of urine is unmistakable as people pass the many street vendors in Dongyang who sell it, claiming it has remarkable health properties.
"If you eat this, you will not get heat stroke. These eggs cooked in urine are fragrant," said Ge Yaohua, 51, who owns one of the more popular "virgin boy eggs" stalls.
"They are good for your health. Our family has them for every meal. In Dongyang, every family likes eating them."
Finally: Google Maps for the Nintendo Entertainment System. We've waited so long! If you don't have a NES, or if you can't be bothered to pull the dear old thing from your parents' attic, you can get a look at what Google Maps will look like when crammed through your 8-bit Nintendo processor by visiting Google Maps and hitting "Begin Your Quest." Otherwise, watch Google's introductory video AFTER THE JUMP ...
YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
Once upon a time there lived a director with big canvas visual ideas. He would stretch them across just about any surface and start painting. Serial killer craziness (The Cell), muscle queen mythology (The Immortals), and uncategorizable period fantasy (The Fall) were all fair game. Any topic would do including a comic spin on Snow White because why the hell not?
His name was Tarsem Singh or Tarsem or Tarsem Singh Dwandwar or Tarsem Dwandwar Singh because he could never settle on a signature. He would halfheartedly skim screenplays until inspiration struck. Once the spell was cast, he'd toss the script into the fire, chug absinthe, and speed dial Eiko Ishioka. He'd sketch until the last of the words had turned to ash and only his drawings remained*. The end.
*not his real process.
Whether you live happily ever after from watching his movies depends on what you go to the movies for.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
For instance, if you pronounce the words "style" with a sneer and "substance" with reverence in the same sentence you are not the target audience. But if you go to the movies for the images, you've already seen or should see his work - even the weaker efforts like Mirror Mirror.
The Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) introduces us to Mirror Mirror with a gorgeous zoetrope spin as the movie begins, reminding us that cinema is storytelling. She warns us that it's her story and not the young princess's but the images that follow in a glorious animated prologue tell us otherwise. The Evil Queen finds Snow White completely irritating and since Snow is played by Lily Collins who can blame her?
The comedy here is hit or miss with some of the anachronisms landing with a thud. At once point Prince Charming tells Snow he has to save her because the Prince saving the Princess has been 'focus group tested and audiences like it.' [Groan]. This modern winking wouldn't be a hindrance in a movie that wasn't so visually insane but here it's distracting. The prince and his valet really shouldn't be making jokes about how strange their outfits are. They are strange -- Julia is so immobile in hers that 75% of her performance is hand gesturing -- but it breaks the absurd spell.
Speaking of spells, the Prince is torn between the Queen and Snow White. He loves the young princess at first sight but the Queen has cast a love spell on him to win his heart. He's played by Armie Hammer and often shirtless, so you can't blame her. The love spell is good stupid fun both in the casting and the breaking. Mirror Mirror often comes up with clever reflections of the familiar tale rather than telling it straight but it undermines its own wit constantly by pointing out the revisionism in the bad "jokes" or dialogue. (If I ever watch it again, I'll turn the sound off.) The Queen sees herself in the magic mirror which is a nice twist on the typical portrayals but it's a slightly altered version of herself. The movie is like that, too -just a little bit off though it's trying hard to be "on": Everything cheap-looking is thisclose to looking rich; everything beautiful is teetering towards hideously gaudy.
Sadly, Mirror Mirror is the imaginative costume designer Eiko Ishioka's swan song. She died earlier this year. It's vaguely discomfiting then that Lily Collins wears an actual swan dress and delivers the closing song, an anachronistic Bollywood meets American dance song called "I Believe in Love." The lyrics are inane but Tarsem probably didn't read them. He was undoubtedly gagging over Eiko Ishioka's brilliant rethink of the traditional blue and yellow Disney dress Snow wears while singing it; it sure is something to look at.
Prostitution's illegal in Louisiana regardless of who does the prostituting, but not all convicted prostitutes have always been punished equally. Until last year, gay and transgender prostitutes, along with some poor black female prostitutes, were very often charged with violating a 200-year-old statute entitled Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS), conviction under which required criminals to register as sex offenders.
CANS was amended last year so that offenders were no longer required to add their names to the registry, but the amendment did little for the approximately 400 sex workers already registered. Their lives have been difficult. From Care2:
Many have been unable to secure work or housing as a result of their registration as sex offenders. Several of the plaintiffs had been barred from homeless shelters, one had been physically threatened by a neighbor, and another had been refused residential substance abuse treatment because providers will not accept registered sex offenders at their facilities.
On Thursday, Federal Judge Martin L. C. Feldman ruled that the unequal punishment of prostitutes charged with CANS is unconstitutional. His decision, he wrote, was "not about approval or disapproval of sexual beliefs or mores. It is about the mandate of equality that is enshrined in the Constitution."
Somehow this isn't enough to guarantee that those hundred currently on the registry "unconstitutionally" will be removed. From WWLTV.com:
Feldman gave the plaintiffs five days to submit a proposed judgment consistent with his decision. Plaintiffs' attorney Alexis Agathocleous said he and his colleagues were still reviewing the ruling and weighing their options but would, at a minimum, ask for the names of the nine anonymous plaintiffs to be removed from the sex offender registry.
Rep. Aaron Schock III, the toothsome hunk of lawmaking Republican mansteak who represents Illinois's 18th Congressional District, has come under fire for using campaign funds to purchase "P90X" home fitness DVD's. From The Hill:
Schock, 30, purchased the P90X "Extreme Home Fitness" DVDs during the 2010 election cycle and classified them as a "healthcare" expense.
... which they are! And they obviously work! Nevertheless, after initially including the DVDs in an itemized campaign expense filing, the Schock campaign redacted the item. Curiously, according to Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the totals in the amended report didn't change after the redaction. Rep. Schlock's staff insist there was no wrongdoing, though Rep. Schlock himself admits to loving his P90Xs, which he heartily endorsed in a fawning cover story in an issue of Men's Health last year. From The Hill:
"When I first saw [P90X], I kind of laughed," Schock told the magazine. "I didn't think you could get a real workout from a DVD. But at 6:30 a.m., it helps to have somebody talking you through your workout."
The piece noted that Schock — Congress's youngest member — is one of about 12 lawmakers who exercise together using the program most mornings.
In the interview, he cited one of his favorite quotations, from Benjamin Franklin: "A good example is the best sermon."
This week, star Australian comic Adam Hills hosted a big, beautiful gay wedding on his talk show, Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight. It wasn't a legal wedding (this is Australia) and it wasn't entirely straight-faced (so to speak), but what it lacked in legality and reverence it almost made up for in charm and sweetness. It was a mass wedding of 41 same-sex couples, and according to The Sydney Morning Herald its genesis was something like this:
Prospective audience members are asked to complete a questionnaire, and when they started pouring in for the first show a pattern began to emerge. Asked "what would you change if you were Prime Minister for a day?" an overwhelming majority answered they'd legalise same-sex marriage.
"And when I read one saying, 'I'd change the same sex laws so I could marry my girlfriend', I thought, 'I think I know what I have to do now'," Hills said ...
The show's producers contacted Rebecca Edwards to ask how she would feel about being "married" - albeit without any legal status - on TV. She said was up for it.
... the day after her proposal went to air 200 other couples contacted the ABC to say they wanted to be involved. In the end, logistics limited the wedding party to 41 couples.
The couples were gay, the officiator was famous, and the wedding singer was Adam Ant. Watch the mass nuptials AFTER THE JUMP ...
The MPAA still won't grant Bully anything less than an "R" rating, and in the face of its obstinacy the Weinstein Co. now suggests it might re-cut the film, sans profanity, to secure a rating of "PG 13." This is from "two people familiar with the company’s plans who were not authorized to speak about them publicly," according to the Los Angeles Times. Officially, however, the Weinstein Co. still plans to release the film in mid-April with no rating at all. From the Times:
The Weinstein Co. denied that changes were being made now but allowed for the possibility in the coming weeks. “At this time, there are no plans to change the film for a PG-13,” Stephen Bruno, the company’s head of marketing, told 24 Frames on Friday. “We are in constant conversation with the MPAA and hope a compromise can be reached.” The MPAA has been steadfast that the existing cut wll not be given anything lower than an R.
The Times explains a weird quirk of the MPAA rating system: That merely bleeping profanity isn't enough to lower a film's rating, presumably because even impressionable kids are sufficiently worldly to know what ugly noises are being made beneath the beeps. Which makes one wonder why they need to be protected from profanity in the first place, but never mind.
Removing all profanity from Bully will pose difficulties for Weinstein Co., because one of Bully's most important scenes is full of the stuff:
The scene that earned the film an R features one teen threatening another as the two sit side-by-side on the bus, with profanities interwoven throughout the scene ... Weinstein and filmmaker Lee Hirsch have been adamant that the scene remain in the film as is to show the full force of what bullied kids face.