Category Archives: GayProf

Roger Answers Your Questions, Gay Prof and Scott

Gay Prof offers:
My question: Do you have any theories about the best way to keep John McCain out of the White House?

I do, but unfortunately it’s illegal and probably immoral. Wait, there’s probably some ageist crack I could make, but I won’t.
Look, I don’t know why people vote against their own interests, except that they naively by into a bill of goods. The economic boom that we used to be in was helping the John McCains of the country a lot more than you and me. Literally, the rich get richer, with golden parachutes for CEOs of failing companies. I thought Charlie Gibson on ABC News asked George Stephanopoulos an odd question last week: with Barack backing out of public financing, was it “fair” for Barack to have so much more money vs. McCain. I laughed so hard I almost hurt myself again. The GOP has had a lot more $$ at its disposal for decades, and Obama’s money is coming mostly from the common people. Is it fair that the government tut-tut homeowners for getting into financial situations that government policies encouraged? I know this doesn’t answer the question, but I’m stumped to find out how is John McCain the ANSWER to any of our current woes.

Generous Scott adds: I don’t care if you don’t answer any of mine, but I certainly hope you can answer Gayprof’s and it be something that we can truly do to make it happen.
Well, I did answer GP’s, FWIW. And now I’ll answer yours:

1. Who do you think will play in the World Series this year, and who will win it?

One team will be a new team, i.e., one we haven’t seen much of before. I think before the season I picked the Cubs, so I’ll stick with them. Not so incidentally, I’m hoping to see them play in Wrigley for the very first time in September. I thought that Cleveland and Detroit would do better, but alas. So, I’m going with Tampa; it’ll probably be Boston, but I’ve bored with Boston sports teams (except the Celtics, who I picked to win in seven.) It’s been 100 years. don’t the Cubs get to win every CENTURY?

2. What do you think has been the best (so far) movie adaptation based on a comic book?

Superman. No, Spider-Man. Wait, I liked Spider-Man 2 more than the first one. I didn’t see the last Batman or the upcoming one, but saw several others – not those. I did like Iron Man, but not the first Fantastic Four.

3. What are you top five movies?

Always impossible. Annie Hall’s on there, and probably Groundhog Day. The others are so fluid, like my favorite songs list or even favorite album. It might include Casablanca, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Field of Dreams, The Iron Giant, Rear Window, the original Star Wars (“episode 4” – feh), Toy Story 2, West Side Story (which isn’t a great movie, but the music and choreography hold), The Wizard of Oz, Young Frankenstein, and about a dozen movies I’ve either forgotten or are of the genres named (Empire Strikes Back, Toy Story); it could be any of the Pixar films I’ve seen, e.g.

4. If Obama loses the Presidential election, do you think it will hurt race relations and the fight against racism, or do you think that his nomination was already a move in the right direction and that a loss won’t set it back?


Oh, you want more.

One of those ongoing myths was that Barack Obama was embraced nationally by black folks out of the shoot. Look at any poll that came out in December 2007, and Obama’s losing big time to Hillary Clinton with black voters. Part of it, ironically was that he wasn’t considered black enough. (And Hillary Clinton was?) But when he won Iowa, black voters gave him another look, and he’s been winning the black vote handily ever since, starting in South Carolina. (Which is why Bill Clinton’s correct observation that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina irritated so many people; it wasn’t just that he was black, it was that he was a black that, since the white folks in Iowa liked him, actually had a chance to win.) All the things he’s endured since from what I think is a media obsession with Rev. Wright to the sniping at Michelle Obama to the Muslim thing – regularly, at least 7% of the electorate believes that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is Muslim (not that should matter if he were) has made him more attractive to many blacks, and probably to white liberals as well. Here’s what often happens in with black folks when one of their own is put upon; they become more loyal, recognizing the institutional racism involved.

So, if he loses, most older blacks will see it as the same-o same-o. I’m not sure the paradigm holds for younger blacks, especially those who identify as biracial. It’s not that they don’t see racism, it’s that they may see Barack’s nomination, to use a football metaphor, as field position. Maybe Barack doesn’t score the touchdown this time, but it makes someone else’s chances better the next time. Maybe.

5. What album in your collection would probably most surprise your friends?

That would almost certainly be my one Toby Keith album. Not crazy about his politics, but I got it it for free at a convention in Nashville, and I rather liked a couple songs, especially “Let’s Talk About Me.”
Someone, I wish I could remember who, said about Robert Mugabe: If Zimbabwe had oil, we would have invaded by now.


A gay pride march

Back on March 9 of this year, there was this story in the Times Union by Jennifer Gish titled “Humanity in ‘Laramie’: High school actors project offers lesson on more than gay tolerance”. It was about Bill Ziskin, a teacher at Schenectady High, directing his young actors in Moises Kaufman’s “The Laramie Project.” Gish writes: The play is based on interviews conducted by New York theater students with the townspeople of Laramie, Wyo., after the 1998 ultimately fatal beating of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Because of its mature nature and strong language, Ziskin did
run the idea by school administrators before going ahead with it… Today, it’s hard for some of the kids to imagine that kind of brutality.
One of the actors was quoted as saying, “When they told us about it I thought it was something that happened a while ago, like the ’70s or the ’80s.”

Ah, the optimism of youth. Earlier this year, though the stories I read were about a month after the fact, a Gay California student’s slaying sparks outcry, and “Activists demand that middle schools do more to teach tolerance.” Lawrence King — Student Who Was Murdered For Being Gay — To Be Honored With National Day Of Silence. I heard there was a similar case in Florida recently like the California case cited.

As for that day of silence, in some places such Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, WA, it was anything but, as I read this Seattle Times account Lynn Thompson. Unfortunately, I actually sort of know one of the people protesting against gay acceptance.

As New Yorkers almost surely know, the governor of the state has ordered government agencies to recognize gay marriages that were performed in states and countries where they are legal. While, for at least one of my gay blogging colleagues, marriage is not such an overriding issue, for others ,it is of paramount importance.

I note all of this as my church plans once again to participate in the gay pride parade next Sunday. that same gay blogger I know opined that the idea of a march might have been diluted by corporate interests. I think we agreed that MAYBE in locations with a large gay population, such as New York City and San Francisco, it has lost its urgency. I’m convinced, however, that it still has meaning and efficacy in places like Albany, NY.



I was checking out this recent this Modern World with Tom Tomorrow and it occurred to me – I wonder how many of the folks this cartoon represents are bitter?

In the wake of Barack’s “bitter” battle, which probably hurt him in yesterday’s Pennsylvania primary, a number of folks have actually come to his defense, including the Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel; in fact, Robert Reich, a superdelegate who served in Bill Clinton’s cabinet, recently came out for Obama, primarily because of Hillary Clinton’s campaign going negative over this.

But are people bitter? I mean, even GayProf is losing his Zen.

I must say that the Iraq war and loss of basic human rights in the US has made me annoyed; no, “annoyed” doesn’t begin to cover it. Torture in my name has really ticked me off. If you don’t know the name John Yoo, you should. He was the government official who “publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.” More recently, A Torture Victim’s Records Were Lost at Guantánamo, Admits the Camp General; oops! And Amnesty International has unveiled a ‘Waterboarding’ film.

But, am I bitter?
Let’s find the definition:
2) Causing pain or smart; piercing; painful; sharp; severe.
3) Causing, or fitted to cause, pain or distress to the mind; calamitous; poignant.
5) Mournful; sad; distressing; painful; pitiable.
I’d say definitions 2 and 3 apply to me, but not so much #5, for more than pitiable, there are times when I’m just furious. So, it depends on your take of the word.



I don’t recall any recent movie that was as critically acclaimed as Once. Last I checked, it had a 97% positive rating on the movie site Rotten Tomatoes. It’s been billed, correctly, I think, as a musical for those who like music but hate musicals. I mean, there’s no Ewan McGregor from Moulin Rouge, merry murderers from Chicago or even Jennifer Hudson from Dreamgirls, all of which I’ve seen, by the way, breaking into song to advance the plot. All the music comes from their “real” situations, and works, perhaps, because musicians who could act were cast, rather than actors who could sing.

Carol and I got a babysitter and went to see Once last month at the Spectrum in Albany, when it was down to two shows a day, as it turns out the week before it closed. It’s the story of a Guy (Glen Hansard) in Ireland who is a busker with a guitar, an aspiring singer/songwriter and vacuum cleaner repairman who meets a Girl (Marketa Irglova), who’s also a singer/songwriter as well as a pianist. They end up making beautiful music together in an “organic” way. But it doesn’t play out exactly how you might think.

Incidentally, I capitalized Guy and Girl, because that’s how the characters are billed; likewise Guy’s Dad (Bill Hodnett) and Girl’s Mother (Danuse Ktrestova).

I really don’t know how to describe this any further without giving out key plot points, except to say that we too were charmed and captivated by Once. It has a running time of 85 minutes, and it’s rated R, almost certainly for the substantial use of the F-word. In fact, much of the scene before the credits even pop up is laced with that word; it lessens considerably after that, but you may want to watch this with other adults.
Gay Prof says something snarky about the impeding departure of Karl Rove so I don’t have to.


Roger's Problem Is That He Has No Opinions

Hope you can read the item above about the cause of global warming.
I was sad to read that writer David Halberstam had died. Probably the only book of his I ever read in toto was 1972’s The Best and the Brightest, but it so informed me about VietNam that it was pivotal in my understanding of “wisdom” run amok. I’ve read large sections of The Powers That Be (1979), one thick book. But I have read, and enjoyed the essays on sports, which may have been excerpted from his many sports books, such as The Breaks of the Game, The Amateurs, and especially Summer of ’49, about the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry. Halberstam died in a car accident on the way to see Yelberton Abraham Tittle, the former New York Giants’ quarterback, for a book about “The Game”; a decade before the Super Bowl, the 1958 Colts-Giants Championship Game helped to “make” the NFL.
Most of the pieces about Boris Yeltsin were about his mixed legacy: “Russians pay respects to flawed hero Yeltsin”: Tributes to Yeltsin praised him for taking on and defeating the Soviet establishment, but also noted his shortcomings during his eight years as president – economic turmoil, a disastrous war against rebels in Chechnya and his drink-fuelled gaffes.” Somehow reminded me of an American President, Richard Nixon.
I was interested in personal international reactions to the Virginia Tech shootings. Here’s one from an expatriate in New Zealand, and, at my request, one from Great Britain/ Someone domestic noted, in response to a comment I made: “People see an Iraq bombing and think, ‘Gee that’s sad, but not unexpected.’ People expect bombing and mayhem in a war zone” but not on a peaceful college campus. OK, sure. But those lives lost are no less horrific to me because they’re “expected”. (And I suspect those families in Iraq are just as horrified by the loss of their loved ones, and don’t think it’s “sad, but expected.”)
I first heard about the Ken Burns’ exclusion of Hispanics in his upcoming WWII documentary from history professor GayProf. Since then, the situation has been rectified, with Burns’ support. While hailed as a victory in some circles, I’ve also read a lot of that “affirmative action/political correctness run amok” rhetoric. I was most struck by this particular passage in GP’s piece: “This time, Burns set out to chart the little-discussed Second World War. How often have I said, ‘If only somebody would stop and think about that forgotten war!'” In setting himself to be the end-all and be-all on this oft-mined area, I think Burns had a greater responsibly to paint the broadest tableau possible. Off topic: GP, what do you think about this article Commentary: The hypocrisy of repeating the ‘w-word’?
Here’s an editorial about Kitty Carlisle Hart, more than a panelist on a game show, but New York State’s grand doyenne of theatre.
And yet I have nothing pithy to say about the passing of music legend Don Ho?


Not Such a Good Friday

I’m sitting in the choir loft last night, listening to the Passion reading from Luke as the lights get lower and lower, and suddenly get a vivid sensation about why I so oppose the death penalty: the execution of the innocent. It was a point I had reached intellectually before, but this was a more visceral understanding that I’m not sure I can explain.

In any case, I’m still feeling rather awful. Looking at computer screens is particularly not recommended, because everything looks fuzzy. So, I’ll be brief:

Thanks to Gordon for answering one of my questions,. One down, about a dozen to go. Microsoft Paint, eh?

Thanks to Scott for embracing his 2003-ness and citing me as the inspiration.

Congrats to Gay Prof for not having to go back to Texas, but will instead be at BMU.

Thanks to uberblogger Mark Evanier for posting a video AFTER I DID. This pleases me, and I’m not sure why. And thanks to Dan for sending it to me in the first place.

Thanks to Lefty’s Mixed CD pals, even Greg, and to little Stevie Brown, Lefty’s intelligent iPod.

Special thanks to ol’ what’s his name who I spoke to by phone yesterday for the first time in a while.

I’m going to rest most of the day so that I can try to sing tonight. I had about a six-note range last night, mostly in the lower register. Wish me luck.