Monday, February 28, 2011

Sarah Palin goes through "media withdrawal"


When the media decides to make February "No Sarah Palin Month" Ms. Palin goes through withdrawal without her favorite drug: the media.

From Will Ferrell's funny website - funnyordie.com

In honor of Kylie Minogue's "Aphrodite" tour



Who doesn't like some cute, sexy boys and some Kylie?

If you're a fan, check out tour dates here.

Happy Final Feb Day kids...

DADT: "Top Ten Things Soldiers Need to Know"


The Army has posted on the army website a list of "Top Ten Things Soldiers Need To Know" about the repeal of DADT:

1. Accessions & Separations Policies: Upon repeal, the Army will no longer separate Soldiers solely on the basis of homosexual acts, a statement that a Soldier is gay, lesbian or bisexual, or marriage to a person of the same sex. Statements about sexual orientation or lawful acts of gay and lesbian conduct will not be a bar to military service or admission to any accession program. Sexual orientation will continue to be a personal and private matter.

2. Standards of Conduct Apply Equally to Everyone: All Soldiers will be held to the same standard of conduct. All members are responsible for upholding and maintaining high standards of the U.S. Military at all times and in all places.

3. Personal Privacy: Commanders may not establish practices that physically segregate Soldiers according to sexual orientation. Commanders do have the discretion to alter billeting assignments to accommodate privacy concerns of individuals on a case-by-case basis where it is in the interest of maintaining morale, good order and discipline, and is consistent with performance of the mission.

4. Moral and Religious Concerns: There will be no changes regarding any Soldier's free exercise of religious beliefs, nor are there any changes to policies concerning the Chaplain Corps and its duties. The Chaplain Corps' First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change. Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.

5. Benefits: There will be no changes to eligibility standards for military benefits and services. The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing any same-sex marriage, so same sex partners do not qualify as dependents for many military benefits and services. A same-sex partner should be treated the same as an unrelated third party (e.g. girlfriend, boyfriend). All Soldiers will continue to have various benefits for which they may designate any beneficiary regardless of relationship.

6. Equal Opportunity: Sexual orientation will not be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex and national origin as a class under the Military Equal Opportunity Program and therefore will not be dealt with through the MEO complaint process. All Soldiers, regardless of sexual orientation are entitled to an environment free from personal, social, or institutional barriers that prevent Soldiers from rising to the highest level of responsibility possible. Harassment or abuse of any kind, including that based on sexual orientation, is unacceptable and will be dealt with through command or inspector general channels.

7. Duty Assignments: There are no changes to assignment policy. All Soldiers will continue to be eligible for world-wide assignment without consideration of sexual orientation. Soldiers assigned to duty, or otherwise serving, in countries in which gay and lesbian conduct is prohibited will abide by the guidance provided to them by their local commanders.

8. Medical Policy: There are no changes to existing medical policies.

9. Release and Service Commitments: There will be no new policy to allow for release from service commitments for Soldiers opposed to repeal of DADT or to serving with gay or lesbian Soldiers.

10. Collection and Retention of Sexual Orientation Data: Sexual orientation is a personal and private matter. Commanders will not request, collect, or maintain information about the sexual orientation of Soldiers.

Note: in regard to spouses of same-sex couples,  same-sex partners will be treated the same as an unrelated third party (e.g. girlfriend, boyfriend) due to the continued enforcement of DOMA.  So same-sex spouses will not be eligible for any benefits or services currently enjoyed by opposite-sex spouses.

Training is scheduled to being in early March 2011.

L.A. Times: "Same-sex marriage, NOW"


In a very direct and clear editorial published today, the L.A. Times has called for gays and lesbians to be allowed to get married while the Proposition 8 case continues it's circuitous route through the courts.

"Enough already. Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to wed while the case works its way through the system."

"The state Supreme Court was asked by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on whether supporters of Proposition 8 have the right — known as "standing" — to continue with their case. It indicated that it would hear arguments late this year, with a ruling likely to follow a few months later. Meanwhile, a stay pending the outcome of the appeal has kept gay weddings from going forward. Now, however, the lawyers challenging Proposition 8 have asked the 9th Circuit to lift the stay and allow the weddings to take place. We agree that it should."

I'm with the L.A. Times. A stay should be issued only if it looks like those appealing the decision will prevail. That would be the anti-gay Prop 8 supporters here. At this point, it's very murky if those appealing even have "standing" to appeal.

Also, during the trial, the supporters of Proposition 8 were unable to identify any harm that would befall them if same-sex weddings took place.

This could possibly continue on for more than a year, and in that time gays & lesbians are, by definition, are being harmed in denying their rights. And the denial of constitutional rights is never a justifiable action.

Time to let the LGBT community have access to these important civil rights.

Many Iowans ambivalent on same-sex marriage


From the Des Moines Register: While there are certainly strong voiced sides on the issue of marriage equality in Iowa, a new poll shows there's also a lot of ambivalence.

In a poll conducted Feb.13-16, 37% of those polled opposed the court ruling that gives gay and lesbians the right to marry, while 32% support it - but 30% don't care one way or the other.

On a question asking if there were a vote for a constitutional ban on same sex marriage, 38% would vote against such a ban, 35% would vote for it and 25% wouldn't vote at all.

With the focus of the argument being taken up by the loudest voices, there is a large middle ground of Iowans who don't find the issue compelling or worthy of the "front and center" position it seems to have taken in political discourse in Iowa.

Nick Palencsar, a 30-year-old Davenport man, is engaged to a woman and ambivalent on same-sex marriage. "It's not my issue, and I don't feel like my input is all that valid for that reason," Palencsar said. "If I had to make choice, I'd probably vote against the ban."

Aaron Lea, a self-employed painter in Des Moines with a wife and a child, says he voted against retaining the three Iowa Supreme Court judges (who voted to allow marriage equality) because he doesn't believe in lifetime appointments, not because of their position on gay marriage. He says he wouldn't vote on a constitutional amendment that forbids such unions. "This is so low on the priority list, it shouldn't even be allowed on the Senate floor." After discussing the matter for about 15 minutes, Lea said: "This is the most time I've spent thinking about gay marriage. Ever."

With a large block of voters having little or no interest in either side, it would seem the issue doesn't have much momentum in terms of repeal.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

For your enjoyment - Chippendog, the handsome Bruno...

For your enjoyment - Bruno - he is a Chippendale in training....

This handsome guy sits in my lap every morning and makes me feel important.

video

The Oscars - 2011

Not all that fun yet. I had some funny one-liners earlier, but it turned into shooting fish in a barrel. Congrats to Aaron Sorkin, who I went to college with.

Otherwise, not so much...

I've been picked up by LGBTQnation.com!


LGBTQnation.com is going to pick up some of my opinion writing for their terrific website.  The site is mainly a news site for LGBT news issues, plus some entertainment articles relating to the LGBT community.  My writing will appear on it's own page under "Views & Voices"!

How cool is that?

I've followed it for quite a while myself - it's a great website for news and support for the LGBT community.  It's on my blog roll here on The Randy Report - make sure you check out their site too!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gay couple bashed at Burger King awarded $3.15 Million


A Hudson County jury has awarded a gay Union City couple $3.15 million after the couple were chased and beaten following a dispute over their order at a Union City Burger King.

From NJ.com: "Violence against anybody, including gay people, cannot be condoned. The jury spoke to this issue," Nutley attorney James F. Fine of the compensatory and punitive award awarded to Peter Casbar, 43, and Noel Robichaux, 46.

"The manager and a group of angry restaurant employees chased the couple and then mercilessly kicked, beat and spat upon the two men while screaming hate-filled anti-gay invectives," Fine said in a statement.

In emotional testimony during the trial, Casbar and Robichaux testified saying the dispute with the person taking their order in the 2007 incident became heated and other Burger King workers became involved after the couple left the restaurant.

Speaking of the impact of the attack on Casbar and Robichaux, Fine said "It was devastating to them. We assert this was a gay bashing. They thought that they were going to die."

The couple alleged they were victims of a violent hate crime and brought the suit under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination.

The jury rendered its verdict at 7 p.m. Wednesday and the award includes $1.7 in punitive damages. The $3.15 million must be paid by Food Service Properties Corp. and Union City Restaurant Corp.

Angel Caraballo and Christopher Soto, two employees of the Union City Burger King, have already pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in connection to the attack.

Dachsund plays fetch with himself...



This is so cute I just laugh out loud. I have four dachsunds, and I know how they can be relentless in their pursuit of "the ball."

Just makes me laugh. I wish I had one of these machines...

NASHVILLE! - Great music! Leslie Ellis and more!


This is a Benefit for Todd Cerney who is battling Melanoma. In addition to the amazing Leslie Ellis, the show features Thom Shepherd, "Restless Heart", Steve Holy and Ty Herndon as well as a huge cast of writers and performers...including Todd himself!

Here's the link to the jamboree! Go! Enjoy!

Red Rooster Bar and Music Hall - Feb 28 - Door open at 6pm.

Red Rooster Bar and Music Hall
Address: 1530 Demonbreun St Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-457-2781
Directions: Exit 40W onto Demonbreun St. and turn left.
About a block down on the right.
Look for the big Red Rooster!

Jay Garner has left the building...


The first Broadway show I appeared in was the 1995 revival of "Hello, Dolly!" with Carol Channing. The leading man of the show, and Carol Channing's comic foil, was the incomparable Jay Garner. He was funny, warm, funny, talented, and very very funny.

Jay never ceased to make me laugh. To this day I smile and laugh out loud at the memory of him backstage.

Often, during a very quick costume change I had going into "Before The Parade Passes By" he would walk past me, Jon Bantay and Stephen Bourneuf quickly stripping our costumes off to change into our "Parade" costumes. With the driest of readings he would walk past, without stopping, and say "whores." I laugh as I type this.

He was so dear to all of us, and especially Carol. It's not an easy thing to hold the stage with Carol Channing. And especially Carol Channing in HELLO, DOLLY! - but Jay did, and with absolute ease, charm and pure Broadway talent.

Jay would laugh and joke with everyone.  Everyone.  And he loved to find a little time to head to a casino and gamble.  And damned if he didn't win most of the time.

Among other roles, he created the role of the Governor of Texas in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, and the politician "Dindon" in the original LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. Additional Broadway roles included "Benjamin Franklin" in the Tony Award-winning 1776 and the role of "Sir John Tremayne" in ME AND MY GIRL. He would later play kindly "Ben", the gardener, in the first national tour of The Secret Garden in the early 1990s.

I was just watching a rerun of the movie of BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE and was telling Michael how Jay created the role of the Governor. It was only in looking up his many other credits that I just learned Jay left us this past January 21, 2011 at the age of 82.

I will laugh and smile at the memory of his talent and amazing warmth forever.  RIP Jay.

Sh*t happens...



Priceless...

(via my friend Matt Bezmarevich)

How some conservatives are twisting DOMA announcement



Pretty cut and dried, and simple.

The Obama administration clearly stated that DOMA will not be defended in appeals courts, but it will be enforced. It is still the law of the land.

For anyone confused by what you might hear elsewhere, here's a clear statement of what is and what isn't.

And regarding the marriage component, I guess Obama does have some catching up to do if he wants to speak to the issue of marriage in the way that serial adulterer Gingrich does. It's almost laughable that Gingrich speaks to Obama "swearing on a Bible" when Gingrich swore on a Bible himself a few times. In a church. To his former wives.

Beagle puppy learns to howl



How do you not love this? Although I see some sleepless nights coming this family's way somewhere in the future...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Newt Gingrich on the decision to not defend DOMA


Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and possible GOP Presidential candidate, today criticized President Obama for his decision to order the Department of Justice to stop defending the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.
"I believe the House Republicans next week should pass a resolution instructing the president to enforce the law and to obey his own constitutional oath, and they should say if he fails to do so that they will zero out [defund] the office of attorney general and take other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job," said Gingrich.
To be absolutely clear here: the president's oath - specifically his oath I'm talking about here - has nothing to do with laws passed by Congress.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
DOMA is not part of the US Constitution.  Are we clear here?

Gingrich went on to say: "Imagine that Governor Palin had become president. Imagine that she had announced that Roe v. Wade in her view was unconstitutional and therefore the United States government would no longer protect anyone's right to have an abortion because she personally had decided it should be changed. The news media would have gone crazy."

Of course, what Mr. Gingrich has lost sight of here is that Roe V. Wade is a Supreme Court decision, NOT a law passed by Congress. It is not uncommon for a law passed by Congress to be challenged and to be found unconstitutional.  Also, President Obama has made clear DOMA will continue to be enforced, just not defended in court when challenged in court.

I would also point out that Obama is a constitutional law scholar who taught at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years. Gingrich, a former history professor, taught at West Georgia College. Does it take a legal expert to figure out who might be more educated or qualified to know what is or isn't constitutional?

And while Mr. Gingrich seems concerned about the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act not being defended, and therefore what must offend his own value system, let us not forget that this is the man who cheated on his first wife - while she lay in a hospital bed dying of cancer - with his then mistress. His mistress who became his second wife, who he then cheated on with the woman who would become his third wife.  Yes, a veritable pantheon of morality.  This isn't being snarky kids - these are the facts.

The more you think about it, the name Newt becomes more and more appropriate.

Kesha - Star Trek "Tik Tok" mashup



I'm actually old enough to say I saw the first "reruns" of the original Star Trek series.

Fun mashup of video clips to make a new video with Kesha's "Tik Tok."

Fun.

Georgia citizen asks "Who's going to shoot Obama?"


Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) was asked at a town hall meeting Tuesday, "Who is going to shoot Obama?"

The question was met with laughter, and Broun did not immediately condemn it. Several eye witnesses say Broun laughed as well.

Broun said in response at the time: "The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president. We're going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Broun issued a statement days later -

"Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, "Who's going to shoot Obama?" I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities.'

'I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements -- made in sincerity or jest -- that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated."

A law enforcement source confirmed that the Secret Service interviewed the constituent and determined that he now regrets making a bad joke.

Ummm... yeah. A very bad joke. Ask Congresswoman Gifford and her family.

White House names openly gay Social Secretary


The White House announced the appointment Friday afternoon of Jeremy Bernard to the position of Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary. He is the first man and the first openly gay person to hold the position.

Bernard will join the White House from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where he serves as senior adviser to the ambassador. He previously worked as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2008 to 2010.

Finally someone who will know how to throw a "fabulous" party. And I never use that word.

Half-naked Princeton Dive & Swim Team does Katy Perry



I think this is getting to be a fun little trend kids...

Josh Strickland of Holly's World shoots music video



Josh Strickland, of Holly's World & Peepshow, shot the music video for his dance single "Report To The Floor" at Krave Night Club in Las Vegas, NV.

Go you wild man - you Tarzan you!

Huckabee: no equality for LGBT "experiment"



In case anyone ever wondered why I'm so emphatic about equal rights: here you go.

This man, who ran for president, does not want gays to marry, raise kids or serve their country.

His argument against marriage rights for gays is "the majority voted this way." Well, the "majority" wasn't behind ending segregation in the 1960s but it was the right thing to do. The "majority" wasn't all that keen on women's rights, but it was the right thing to do. Society evolves.

His argument against gays serving in the military is "military leaders were against this." That's not so true. Many military leaders found there would be very little disruption in military service by ending DADT. A few had reservations and are now fully behind the change. Many, many countries around the world have allowed gays and lesbians to serve and it hasn't affected military readiness a bit. AND the sky hasn't fallen.

Society evolves kids. The fight for marriage equality isn't an arbitrary thing. RIGHTS are attached to federal marriage recognition. Over 1,138 specific federal rights. And as tax payers living in a country where all are supposed to be equal, every American should have access to the same rights.

If not, then make "marriage" a totally religious status and require every married couple to get not only "married" in a church, but "civilly unionized" by the government that issues the marriage license and bestows those rights. And make civil unions available to all.

Whatever it takes so that all CIVILLY ISSUED RIGHTS by a CIVIL GOVERNMENT are available to EVERYONE. That is how this whole thing IS about "civil rights."

I make no claim to changing anyone's religious practices. But you don't have to be religious in this country to get married. So technically speaking - these rights at the heart of this argument - are NOT about a church or religion. They are about a government that extends certain rights to one group of people and not another.

Cute - Dachsund puppies!



This is a lot like my household.

Seven and a half years ago our dachsund puppies were born - we still call them puppies, and they are all still here.

We lived all of this video: watching them eat, learn to walk, lear to play, eat some more, fall and get up...

This is just 6 minutes of cute.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maryland: Marriage Equality Passes in Senate 25-21!

The Maryland State Senate just passed Marriage Equality on a vote of 25-21.

From here the Civil Marriage Protection Act goes to the more Democratic leaning House of Delegates.  Governor Martin O'Malley has indicated he has every intention of signing this bill into law.

Maryland would become the sixth state along with the District of Columbia to have marriage equality.

Go Maryland!

Aloha! Civil Unions Signed into law in Hawaii!



Great speech by the Governor of Hawaii, Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Thank you state of Hawaii for your respect! Equality is epic.

"E komo mai" - all are welcome!

Grease segment for the Oscars?



This video shows a dream-like segment of James Franco and Anne Hathaway acting out the carnival scene from the end of "Grease".

Kinda cool. Maybe Oscar material???

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So pretty... Not so coordinated...



Bless her heart. But she looked good.
(tip from Bill Nolte)

The Randy Report - 3,000 visits!

So I'm feeling very excited.

In less than a month of working on this here blog, The Randy Report just hit it's 3,000th visit!

Thank you to everyone who stops by to reads my little rants, opinions and soapbox dance.

Please come back often. I hope to entertain and enlighten just a bit.


Fox News switches results of poll

This morning, during a segment regarding the current protests happening in Wisconsin with that state's Governor Walker working to strip workers of the right to collective bargaining, co-host Brian Kilmeade referenced a poll by Gallup in today's USAToday in a discussion with Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman.

KILMEADE: Wow. But is President Obama out of step with history? Joining us now to debate it, knock it around just a little bit, Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman and Jim Glassman, Director of the Bush Center and author of the book Safety Net. First things first, Robert, do you think the president is taking a big risk here?

ZIMMERMAN: Not at all. I think he's showing respect for history and respect for our history of supporting the rights and safety of workers, but more than that, he's speaking for the mainstream of our country and the main stream of Republican governors that are not siding with Governor Walker in his efforts to overturn right to work -- collective bargaining.

KILMEADE: I think Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view. And here is the question that was posed, should you take away--will you favor or are you in disfavor of taking away collective bargaining when it comes to salaries for government workers? Sixty-one percent in favor of taking it away. Thirty-three percent oppose. Six percent up in the air. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/23/11]

The "network" even made a pretty graphic showing the "results" of the poll:



The problem was: the "network" switched the results. 44 minutes later, in the very last minute of the broadcast, Kilmeade corrected his misstatement saying a quick "I apologize." Here's the correct results of the Gallup poll:



I'm sure it was all just a silly error. I'm also sure I just saw a unicorn.

Majority of Americans support bargaining rights

In a poll released today in USA Today, a strong majority - 61% of those polled - support Americans right to collective bargaining.

For eight days now, the country has focused on the fight happening in Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker has urged passing a bill stripping workers of their right to collective bargaining. In response to that, 14 state senators have left the state leaving the senate without a quorum to pass legislation.

While Walker contends that ending collective bargaining will help balance the budget, union negotiators say they have already agreed to the concessions originally sought by the Governor. State Democrats say the Governor is pursuing this legislation in an effort to "break" the unions due to the traditional union support for Democrats.

Similar protests have broken out in Indiana and other states. Union workers across the nation have organized protests in their own state to show support for Wisconsin union members.

Pres. Obama to Justice Dept: DOMA "unconstitutional"

According to the NY Times, in a letter sent by Attorney General Eric Holder to Congress today, the Obama Administration stated that it believes the 1996 so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (which bans the federal government from recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples) is unconstitutional, and the Department of Justice will no longer defend DOMA in court.

From Attorney General Eric Holder: “After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination."

Here is a link to his full statement.

Laws that unequally affect a group protected by that test are presumptively unconstitutional, and may only be upheld if lawmakers purpose in enacting them serves a compelling governmental interest.

CA Senator Dianne Feinstein says she intends to sponsor repeal of the law: "As a Member of the Judiciary Committee, it is my intention to introduce legislation that will once and for all repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that. I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It was the wrong law then; it is the wrong law now; and it should be repealed."

House Speaker John Boehner questioned the Obama administration's decision to halt its legal defense of DOMA. "While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation," he said in a statement.

In a twist of irony, Boehner has stated that the Republicans came into their majority to create jobs and yet, since taking control of the House, they have focused on repealing health care reform and other issues with no movement on actually "creating jobs."

Why Wis. Gov. Walker is working to break the unions



Ok, so I usually hate long videos on the internet, but this is actually very straight forward and explains things in a very easy to understand way.

Rachel Maddow takes facts and shows why the governor of Wisconsin, who got all the financial concessions he wanted, still wants to strip Wisconsin union workers of their rights of collective bargaining.

Basically it goes like this: get rid of unions, fewer Democrats, fewer Democrats to win elections.

By the way, he apparently tried a similar tactic earlier in his career firing union security guards and then hired a private security company. A company with a history of partying on the job in Iraq. The security "chief" hired in that instance in Wisconsin had a police record including jail time. And in the end, the move didn't save nearly as much money as promised by Walker.

It's a very interesting explanation. Watch.

Chippendales on ELLEN today!


So, as we go along the journey of The Randy Report you'll notice I have a few favorite things: great music, the triumph of equality, my husband Michael, my best friend Carlye, and you can add to that mix The Chippendales.

Michael is the national press rep for the show, so we've gotten to know the guys pretty well over the past five years or so. They are really cool guys, and I always have a great time at the show. (Contrary to popular belief, men are allowed at the show. We see married couples, boyfriends and girlfriends, gay men at the show all the time).

The show in Las Vegas is at The Rio Hotel and Casino in The Chippendales' $10 Million theater complex with it's own cool lounge/bar and theater. The show isn't what they used to call "strip and tip" anymore. It's a "production" show with the vast majority of the show taking place with the guys on stage doing production numbers. It's never vulgar and a lot of fun - no tipping, no dollar bills or any of that.

The guys have been featured on The View, ELLEN, The Wendy Williams Show, Oprah, and tons of reality shows.  Michael has gotten press for guests at the show like Ronnie from Jersey Shore, Karina Smirnoff from Dancing With The Stars, Olivia Newton-John, Dorothy Hamill, Mel B from The Spice Girls, Holly Madison from Holly's World and Peepshow... Just a ton of stuff.

Three of the guys - Lind, Billy and Jaymes - are on ELLEN today as a special surprise for a guest. If you can, watch. It's always fun to watch the audience members lose their minds. I celebrate women having such a good time enjoying the idea of good looking, sexy men.  It's always a good, light-hearted fun time.  There's almost a universal reaction of "look, then scream."  So fun.

Oh yeah...  I have a good time too.  What's not to like?  Watch and have a good time kids.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little Italy - only 5% Italian - but still all NYC

I'm married to a proud Italian-American and I'm always going to be a proud New Yorker no matter where I go, so this hits home.

According to the recent Census, only 5% of residents in Little Italy are of Italian descent, and there are NO residents originally born in Italy.

From the New York Times: "In 1950, nearly half of the more than 10,000 New Yorkers living in the heart of Little Italy identified as Italian-American. The narrow streets teemed with children and resonated with melodic exchanges in Italian among the one in five residents born in Italy and their second- and third-generation neighbors."

"The number of residents of Italian descent in the neighborhood has been declining since the 1960s, as immigration from Italy ebbed and Italian-Americans prospered and moved to other parts of the city and to the suburbs."

“When the Italians made money they moved to Queens and New Jersey, they sold to the Chinese, who are now selling to the Vietnamese and Malaysians,” said Ernest Lepore, 46, who, with his brother and mother, owns Ferrara, an espresso and pastry shop his family opened 119 years ago."

Apparently, as Chinatown moved north and SoHo moved east, the neighborhood has slowly been absorbed by the surrounding areas.

You haven't lived until you've attended the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy.  So NYC.

(tip from Joe.My.God)

It's Toto Tuesday! - "Africa" by Toto



I can listen to this song over and over and over. It completely takes me back to my days in college, sitting watching MTV in my fraternity house - Sigma Chi don't you know - when MTV was still new and we all would just hang watching videos. (Ok, so there was probably some beer drinking involved too).

Good times. Good times.

Maryland Marriage Equality Bill hits the state Senate


The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, SB 116, which passed out of committee on a vote of 7-4 was introduced to the full state Senate this morning. This bill would legalize marriage equality in the state of Maryland.

State Senator Robert Garagiola introduced the measure and in doing so emphasized that religious institutions would not be required to recognize these relationships:

"Under the terms of the Act, an official of a religious institution or body who is authorized to solemnize marriages, may not be required to solemnize any marriage in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, or Article 36 of our Constitution. As amended, the bill also provides that a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit operated by one, may not be required to provide services accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs."

Debate is scheduled to occur Wednesday. Reports are that there are 24 votes, the necessary number, to pass the bill. From there the bill heads to the house of delegates where it's expected to pass.

Governor Martin O'Malley has indicated he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Sarah Palin & Lou Sarah: a tale of two Sarahs

There's news floating around today that Sarah Palin allegedly has a second, "secret" Facebook account so that she can praise and "like" her own posts.

Under the name "Lou Sarah" - Louise is apparently Sarah Palin's middle name - Palin has been "liking" and praising not only her own posts but her daughter's performances on "Dancing With The Stars."

From Wonkette:"We searched for this address on Facebook, the way millions of people search for people on Facebook every day, and it appears that Palin keeps a second Facebook account. Besides staying in touch with Sarah Palin’s father Chuck Heath, what does “Lou Sarah” use Facebook for? Saying “amen” to her own Facebook fan page missives, in the guise of a completely different person. “Lou Sarah” also really “LIkes” Bristol Palin’s Dancing With the Stars photos."

Apparently, along the way "Lou Sarah" cheered Bristol Palin on, said "amen" to Sarah Palin's own posts, divulged secret information that Wasilla's Edge Fitness was going to be featured on "Sarah Palin's Alaska" (how "Lou Sarah" knew that we'll never know!) and criticized health care reform.

Personally I'm shocked to find out there's a fitness club in Wasilla.

Inspiration 101 - what can happen when given a chance...



I love this story so much.

Last year my brother, after almost 50 years, was finally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. No one ever cheered him on, no one ever offered to really help him. But he tries everyday. And he never gets off the phone without telling me he loves me.

Watching this just sends me over the edge. Talk about Inspiration 101.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Sarah Palin quit being governor...



A former top aide to former half-term Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, Frank Bailey, has revealed emails from Palin to him saying "I hate this damn job."

I'm guessing she likes making lots of money and not being responsible to any constituents now.

ABC's "What Would You Do?" addresses HIV/AIDS



Normally on this show, it seems most people who observe negative behavior don't get involved.

Watch this time.  This will give you hope for the kindness of people.

Montana State committee approves anti-LGBT bill


HB 516 was passed out of committee by a vote of 13-7. This bill, now on it's way to the state House legislature, will remove all local ordinances passed by cities and towns in Montana that would protect LGBT citizens.

The city of Missoula had passed protections for LGBT community members and this seemed to rile the conservative members of state legislature. The Montana Human Rights Act does not cover LGBT citizens.

That is exactly why the City of Missoula passed its Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in April of 2010. Missoula is the home of the University of Montana.

The panel also voted to table HB 514, a bill that would have expanded the Montana Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation.

From the Montana Human Rights Network: This will repeal not only the Missoula ordinance - but existing policies and resolutions that other cities have passed to protect their residents. People from across the state came to speak out in opposition (Helena, Cardwell, Butte, Billings, Great Falls, Bozeman, Missoula, Sidney and Opportunity, MT all came to the Capitol on Friday to stand in opposition to HB 516) - and their testimony was not only limited to ten minutes total, but cut off.

Sad day for equal rights in Montana.

Lady Gaga credits discussions/conditions with Target for LGBT policy changes


According to reports Lady Gaga recently agreed to release a special exclusive edition of her upcoming "Born This Way" CD but only on the condition that Target address recent allegations of anti-gay policies and political donations.

"That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I've ever had in a business meeting," Gaga told Billboard. "Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they've made in the past ... our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they've made supporting those [antigay] groups."

Go Gaga!

Kathy Griffin set to play a "Palin-type" on GLEE

Kathy Griffin, in a bit of fun casting, is set to guest-star on the hit TV show GLEE.

The role is being described as a "recent Tea Party candidate and home schooler -- a Sarah Palin type."

In well-publicized appearances, Kathy Griffin has appeared on red carpets on the arm of Levi Johnston, the ex-fiance and father to Bristol Palin's child. The comedy superstar has continued to use the Palin family for fodder in her stand up act.

"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy hinted that perhaps his show was ready to be nicer to the Tea Party.

"We've taken a couple jabs at the right wing this year," he said to TV Guide. "So what I want to do with this character is have someone who Christian kids and parents can recognize and say, 'Oh, look -- I'm represented there, too!' If we're trying to form a world of inclusiveness, we've got to include that point of view as well."

Olivia judges at TropFest


TROPFEST can be relied upon to pull at least one big international star and this year it was Olivia Newton-John, who created a stir, arriving on the arm of film director Stephan Elliott in Sydney on Sunday night.

Elliott is directing Olivia in his latest film, A Few Best Men.

"Animal Beatbox," by Damon Gameau, featuring a trip down a river with different animals moving to the beat, was declared the winner of the 19th annual festival by judges, including actress and singer Olivia Newton-John and film director Bruce Beresford, at the Sunday event watched by 150,000 viewers nationwide.

Nell Carter - "Back In The High Life"



When I was on national tour with A Chorus Line in Los Angeles, I was invited to the taping of this TV special, and I can only say I wish everyone could have witnessed the power and glory of this amazing performance live, in person.

This is really what being a diva is about: channelling, delivering, "being" at the top of your game.

I simply can't watch this just once. I just can't. From about 1:45 on, it's a visceral, gut-driven performance. Few performers get to a level where they can be so "on point" and access this deep an emotional life in a song.

This is art. This is power. This is reaching people.

Nell is missed. We need more like her. There will never be another like her.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Olivia's New Cook Book - LIVwise


Olivia Newton-John is a woman who radiates health, positivity and wellbeing. She is often asked, ‘how do you do it?’

In Livwise, Olivia explains her belief in the importance of eating a healthy diet in order to maintain wellness and balance. This book will introduce you to ways of eating and living that will keep you in good health and happiness.

Click here to order.

These simple, wholesome, tasty recipes are the ones Olivia loves to cook for her family — some created in her own kitchen and others contributed by friends and chefs at her Australian health retreat, Gaia.

From delicious salads and snacks to hearty mains and guilt-free desserts, the recipes in Livwise offer a perfect balance of flavour, goodness and vitality.

Click here to order.

"Jesus Christ Superstar" - Marcus Lovett



Marcus Lovett knocks it out of the park in this performance of "Superstar" from 'Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration.' He just sits in the pocket and grooves it out. Great voice and in the moment. No fear.

Sit back and have a good time kids...

Rep. Anthony Weiner asks Tea Party/GOP congress members to give up their government run healthcare



I love this. Rep. Anthony Weiner of NY calls on all of Congress who "want to bring down the size of government" and get rid of "government run health care" to defund and give up their own health plans.

Bravo Congressman Weiner. If the Tea Party and GOP congress hates government run health care and high government spending so much, let's see them make decisions that affect THEM.

Pettiness of Palin

So, here's the deal kids: I'm actually pretty moderate politically.

Gasp - yes, I know. I believe we should spend within our means as individuals. But I also believe there are people who need help. And there is a responsibility of society to help.  Not support - but help.  I hate this "I take care of myself, you take care of you" thing.

I believe we can raise the retirement age one or two years (for kids under 50 today) and we can help Social Security. Nope, that doesn't bother me.

I think we could raise the cutoff level for contributing to Social Security a bit and it wouldn't hurt all that much.

I also believe we should invest in infrastructure. I like nice roads. I like safe bridges.

For those people - mostly Tea Party and conservatives I'll notice - who say "I don't need to take care of anyone else, and no one needs to take care of me" I say fine. But along with that, since I have no children, can I stop paying for public schools? That's my money you know. I didn't choose to have children. Why should I pay for someone else's result of whoopie? But I do. It's the way it works. Society helps further society.

What DOES bother me lately is the fact that some people have lost the respect we used to have for public figures like the First Lady. This bothers me. It irritates my a**hole.  You betcha.

Sarah Palin has taken to finding reasons to get snarky with the First Lady every chance she can. First, because the First Lady dared to say we should encourage kids having healthy options to eat at schools. And then she criticized Michelle for supporting breast feeding.  Good lord!  The nerve!

Let's be clear here - Michelle Obama didn't dictate exactly what kids SHOULD HAVE TO EAT. Michelle Obama spoke up and said we should offer healthy options. And we should encourage children to be more active.

This is what Sarah Palin said to that: "What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track."

Here are the facts:

• One-third of young people in the United States are overweight or obese, and one-third will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives.

• Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled.

• A Department of Defense report notes the military must recruit about 15 percent of youth. About one-fourth are obese, making them medically ineligible. In 1980, by comparison, just 5 percent of youth were obese.

Michelle Obama has chosen to stand up for “smart, strategic efforts to help our kids lead active, healthy lives right from the beginning.” By starting young and staying firm, she hopes to slow the impact of the killer diet that threatens all Americans.

For THAT Sarah Palin, former half-term governor/reality TV entertainer - loses all decorum and attacks Michelle Obama? Seriously folks.

I don't recall people attacking Lady Bird Johnson for her efforts to beautify America. I don't recall anyone attacking Laura Bush for encouraging reading and education. Where was Sarah Palin complaining that Laura Bush should have "gotten off her back" about encouraging her kids to read? Have we ever heard Palin complain that Nancy Reagan stood on her platform of "just say No to drugs"? Why doesn't Palin say "geez - I can teach my kids about drugs on my own - why don't you get off my back?"

No, you don't hear that because it didn't promote Sarah Palin's agenda. She needs to attack - but only if it's a Democrat.

I never spoke out against Laura Bush, Barbara Bush or any First Lady. I applaud these women finding a cause that helps encourage the public good. Not dictate - encourage. Sarah Palin has clearly never met a Democrat she ever liked.

And by the way Ms. Palin - if you're going to Facebook and Twitter everything you think, can you at least bring something to the table in the form of a positive solution?  No one likes a bitter Monday morning quarter-back.  It seems all we get from the reality TV star is snark.  How about contributing something that moves us all forward in a positive way?

I guess I just wish if people want to attack the President - who campaigned for his job - do your thing. Free speech and all that.

But I really wish we had the class and courtesy to not attack any First Lady for trying to do a little good with the small platform they choose.

And by the way - since I'm paying for the school taxes in my area - can we ask some of these kids to eat a bit healthier, and send them out to run around in the fresh air?  If I'm paying, I figure I should have a say.

Or send me a tax refund.

You have to watch this and appreciate...



Just fabulous. I watched this five times in a row.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shirtless College guys tribute to Katy Perry's "Firework"



Good for these guys. Obviously they had fun doing this and have a sense of humor.

Fun.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zach Wahls from Iowa on ELLEN



How do you not beam watching this guy? His moms obviously did an amazing job raising a bright, articulate and clear-headed young man. THIS is the America I look to for our future. Watching this really makes me happy.

NH Conservative Marine supports Marriage Equality

Great story here. This is really what it's about kids.

Craig Stowell wrote a full page ad in New Hampshire's largest newspaper, the Union Leader, saying he supports his brother's right to marry and efforts to repeal marriage equality are "off task."

Watch his story here.

Chris Matthews: Hearings on no Iraq WMD



I watch Chris Matthews "Hardball" everyday. He is absolutely honest, direct and fair with every guest that comes on his show. Democrat or Repub, he demands honesty and direct answers. I've seen him call out anyone who tries to double-speak their way out of something.

Yesterday, in light of the fact that more and more people have come forward saying there was no evidence of WMD in Iraq. Over 4,500 American soldiers have died and over 100,000 Iraqis have died. "Curveball" - the Iraqi who said the weapons were there now admits he made it up. Rumsfeld now admits we had no evidence.

The war in Iraq was sold to the US people with the scare tactic that Iraq HAD Weapons of Mass Destruction and they were "coming to get us." This, after 9/11, made the US people so afraid that they supported the war.

If the last administration had come to the US people and said "Hussein's a bad guy - we're going to invade a country that has never attacked us and lose 4,500 American lives to free the Iraqi people" the country never would have supported the war.

We've also spent over $770 billion on the war there. Talk about spending and deficits!

Watch Chris Matthew's end of show yesterday. He tells it straight. I want answers too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hawaii: Civil Unions bill headed for Governor's signature


The Hawaii State Senate voted 18-5 in favor of the Civil Unions bill and is now headed to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.

From the Star Advertiser: "I have always believed that civil unions respect our diversity, protect people's privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha," Gov. Abercrombie said in a statement after the vote.

"I appreciate all the time and effort invested by those who shared their thoughts and concerns regarding civil unions in Hawaii. This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended. Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected.

"For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii," Abercrombie said.

Hawaii will now become the seventh state to offer civil unions to it's citizens. Five states and Washington, D.C. offer marriage equality to same-sex couples. The civil unions status in Hawaii will afford couples all the rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities as traditional marriage.

Hawaii couples, gay and straight, can enter civil unions beginning in January.

Let's all celebrate the beautiful Aloha state!

CA Supreme Court to hear arguments on Prop 8 repeal

The CA State Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments about whether anti-gay proponents have "standing" to oppose the repeal of Prop 8 in California. March 14th is when the court will accept briefs on the issue.

From Lambda Legal: "Because the federal appeals judges said they need clarification, we look forward to a decision by the California Supreme Court confirming that initiative proponents lack legal standing to continue the Perry case. They are not law enforcers, and have the same limited rights as everyone else to litigate only when their own rights are at stake, not merely to assert their opinions about others' rights."

Initiative proponents also cannot step into the shoes of the attorney general, the governor or other state officials. The reason for this is basic: the governor and attorney general are elected by the people to represent all the people, not just one point of view on one issue, out of countless, competing concerns. Most importantly, state officials swear an oath to uphold the federal and state constitutions, including their abiding promises of equal protection and due process for everyone. Initiative proponents take no such oath, and have no such duties.

Should the CA Supreme Court decide the anti-gay forces have no standing to appeal, the issue dies, the repeal of Prop 8 stands and marriage equality is reinstated in CA. If the court decided the anti-gay forces do have standing, then the issue goes back to the Federal Appeals court to decide the issue. This could mean the whole magilla may end up in US Supreme Court.

Stay tuned kids...

Indiana: House approves Marriage Equality ban


In a vote of 70-26, the Indiana state House voted to approve a state constitutional amendment to not only ban same-sex marriage but "anything similar" like civil unions and domestic partnerships.

The bill now goes to the state Senate, where it look to pass there as well.

The proposal has to pass in another separately elected legislature in 2013-14 before it can go before the voters.

Sad to know that so many in Indiana like the idea of committed partners not having the same rights as straight couples.  Hospital visitation, inheritance, medical decision making...

Sure, we can go spend thousands at a lawyers office, but why should gays and lesbians have to spend all that money for a small handful of rights when heterosexual couples don't?  Seriously kids - this isn't the America we can be proud of.

Random Facebook conversation...


Reading through my Facebook at my friend Matt's house -

Randy: "Wow, I've friended a lot of porn stars on FB."

Matt: "It happens..."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

KS Tea Party/GOP Rep. Says She Can Tell Who Is ‘Illegal’


One week ago, the Kansas House Federal and State Committee held a hearing about in-state tuition being granted to the children of undocumented immigrants, which has been the policy in the state since 2004.

Speaking in favor of repealing the law, Tea Party Rep. Connie O’Brien (R-KS) began telling an anecdote at the hearing about how her son had difficulty in getting financial assistance to attend college. She explained that she took her son to a financial aid office, and as she was waiting in line, she believed there was a girl waiting in line with them who was “not originally from this country.”

REP. O’BRIEN: My son who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid. Yet this girl was going to get financial aid. My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country. [...]

REP. GATEWOOD: Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?

REP. O’BRIEN: Well she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian, and she had the olive complexion.

There you go folks - if you aren't black or asian, you must not be from this country originally. Whatever that means.

I also think it's rich that she didn't think it was "proper" to ask the girl in question her nationality, but it's fine to decide she's an illegal. That's "proper." This is the Tea Party kids. Party on...

Listen below:

Celebrate Ethel Merman!

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the passing of Ethel Merman, the Queen of Broadway.

In tribute to the fabulous "Merm", I thought I'd share a montage from the fantastic show "Ethel Merman's Broadway" which celebrates this one of a kind, amazing talent.

Rita McKenzie & Chris Powich wrote this show - which stars Ms. McKenzie in an amazing performance - and it's played to rave reviews all over the country. This week it starts a two week run at the El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles' North Hollywood area. I really recommend it. Rita really captures the essence of Merman, sings up a storm, and brings a nice sense of depth to Ethel as she tells stories from an incredible life.

Go see it if you're in the area. Here's a link to the theater.

Olivia Newton-John Fans: Concert in Colorado


Legendary pop superstar John Denver is to be inducted to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in a special benefit concert celebrating his music and life, hosted by Olivia Newton-John on Earth Day Eve, April 21, 2011 at 1STBANK Center. Tickets go on sale this Friday, at 10am MT.

The evening will feature performances by Olivia Newton-John, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Richie Furay, Lee Ann Womack, John Oates and other talents in a commemoration to the late musician.

Notable John Denver hits will be performed by his former band collaborators Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert of the Starland Vocal band (co-writers of “Take Me Home, Country Roads”) and John Sommers (writer of “Thank God I’m A Country Boy").

Famed composer Lee Holdridge, who has conducted orchestras for John Denver, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond, among others, will lead the Boulder Philharmonic in a special tribute performance.

John Denver will always be associated with the Rocky Mountains and the city from which he took his name. During his 1970s heyday, he was one of the top five selling recording artists in music history.

Notable environmental activists will also join the stage in a commemoration of John Denver’s long life dedication to the environment.

Chuck Morris, President and CEO / AEG LIVE Rocky Mountains, commented, “Earth Day seems so fitting for the tribute because John used his popularity to promote the environment, his favorite cause over his lifetime.”

A portion of the proceeds from the concert will benefit environmental organizations that John Denver would have supported and the University of Colorado’s School of Music.

The tribute is to be held at the 6,500-capacity, state-of-the-art 1STBANK Center; the permanent home of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. The venue is located only 15 minutes between Denver and Boulder at 11450 Broomfield Lane (Broomfield, CO) off U.S 1-36.

TICKETS GO ON SALE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18th at 10AM.
Reserved tickets are $29.50 - $79.50 plus applicable service charges. All ages welcome.

To purchase tickets and for more information visit www.1STBANKCenter.com
and www.TicketHorse.com or by calling 866.461.6556.
Directions http://1stbankcenter.com/directions/

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts on Valentine's Day - year 17


With today being Valentine's Day, obviously my mind wanders to MY valentine, Michael.

It's hard to believe that we've been together 17 Valentine's Days. Before we met, it looked like V Day was always going to be something to sing sad songs about.

Music is such a part of my life that I relate it to everything. Even the day Michael and I met, I explain that it was exactly as Oscar Hammerstein II wrote: "some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger; you may see a stranger across a crowded room; and somehow you know, you know even then, that somewhere you'll see him again and again." I know, it sounds oh so cheesy, but it was that black and white. It's just the best way to explain how I knew. There are days I can't believe he's in love with me.  Still.

Not that we have this flawless romance.  There are days I have to remind him I'm his favorite.  And believe me, I do.  :)

Soon after we met, we had "our song" - Laurie Beechman's 'Listen To My Heart'. Interestingly, when we got married, we didn't really have a song for the day because we were just so amazed that we were given the right to get married. Probably the only big event in my life that doesn't relate to a song. Just Michael.

Obviously, all day long today I've played various iterations of "My Funny Valentine." Barbra Streisand's version is still probably my favorite. But I also love Melinda Doolittle's live rendition from American Idol a few years ago - earthy, rich, jazzy, and she knew what she was singing about. Lucia Micarelli is a fantastic violinist who does a beautiful, romantic version of the song.  And then there's Ella Fitzgerald's version - perfection.  I recommend you get all of them, sit back and enjoy...

I think I relate Valentine's Day and romance to music is because music has rhythm, hills & valleys and texture; a lot like long-time love does. A lot like Michael and I do.

Michael is my valentine; he's the music that makes me dance.  I hope you all dance the way we do.  (that's a euphemism, kids...)  Hills & valleys, texture and a lot of rhythm… yeah, I think that's us.

I encourage everyone to pour a glass of wine, light some candles, turn out the lights, listen to some great music and enjoy. Whether alone or with your honey, it's a good day to remember to love someone. Someone else, or even if that someone is yourself. That might even be the best place to start.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Full Marriage Equality coming to Britain this week?


According to the Sunday Times in London, "A proposal to end the ban on same sex marriage will be announced by the Liberal Democrat equality minister Lynne Featherstone at the same time as the government announces the time table for civil partnerships to be held in religious buildings."

Civil partnerships have existed in Britain since 2005 which extend many but not all of the same rights and privileges as marriage. The partnerships also are not recognized abroad.

Should full gay marriage be introduced, the only other significant legal discrimination against gay men will be the ban on donating blood, although the government have signaled in the past that they will look to end this practice.

Word is this could be introduced this week...

Marriage Equality in Maryland moves closer

OK kids - getting close to having the happy dance today.

Just saw the good news that two more state senators in Maryland have committed to supporting marriage equality when it comes up for a vote in the state senate.

From the Baltimore Sun: Sen. Katherine Klausmeier said today that she has decided to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, putting the measure within a breath of passage in the Senate.

"I just weighed all of the options," said the Baltimore County Democrat, who earlier told The Sun that she was torn about the issue. "It's about fairness."

Klausmeier becomes the second previously undeclared senator today to lend support to advocates, who plan a rally this evening. Earlier, Sen. Edward Kasemeyer said he has decided to back it.

Sen. Joan Conway has said if the numbers look like it will pass, she would possibly vote for the bill. Conway said she would not support the Senate bill if it appears to be failing. But if there are 23 "yes" votes on the board, she said, she will "pray really hard" and make her choice.

Once out of the Senate, the bill moves to the House of Delegates where chances look good.

If you'd like to reach out to Sen. Conway here's the email address: joan.carter.conway@senate.state.md.us

Indiana: Possible marriage equality constitutional ban ahead

A constitutional amendment on marriage equality could come up for a vote in the Indiana legislature as soon as Monday.

Not only would the proposed amendment to the state constitution ban same-sex marriage, it would outlaw civil unions by stating that a legal status "substantially similar" to marriage for unmarried people is not valid.

If passed in both branches of the Indiana legislature this year, it would have to pass again in 2013-2014 before it could reach voters.

Chances are strong that it will pass since both houses of the legislature are controlled by Republicans.

Governor Mitch Daniels originally wanted the legislature to focus on the economy in this session and leave social issues alone for now.

Grandmother in Iowa supports Marriage Equality



How do you not love her? Straight forward and knows just what she thinks. I love people like this grandmother. This is the best part of America.

Ronnie from Jersey Shore at Chippendales

A "Shore" Thing at the Rio in Las Vegas

JERSEY SHORE star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro invaded the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, February 12. Ronnie began his evening as a special guest star at CHIPPENDALES at the Rio where he dazzled the crowd by tearing off his shirt and tossing it to hundreds of screaming women.


Civil Union Bill Introduced in Colorado


State Senator Pat Steadman has introduced the Colorado Civil Unions Act. The bill allows committed gay and lesbian couples to enter into a civil union that provides critical legal protections.

“Especially in these difficult economic times, gay and lesbian couples need the critical protections that civil unions offer to provide for their families,” said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado. “Civil unions will ensure that thousands of gay and lesbian couples all across the state can protect the ones they love.”

The Colorado Civil Unions Act provides committed gay and lesbian couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities, such as the ability to insure a partner, to inherit property, to take family leave to care for a partner, to visit a partner in the hospital, and to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner.

“Civil unions will allow committed couples to share in the responsibilities and protections in Colorado law that most families take for granted. Our society is stronger when we promote personal responsibility and taking care of one another, and civil unions do just that,” said Senator Pat Steadman, sponsor of the bill.

The bill explicitly protects freedom of religion by not requiring priests, ministers, rabbis, or other religious officials to certify a civil union. Religious leaders who want to certify a civil union may do so. Various statewide religious institutions have come out in favor of Sen. Steadman’s bill, as the bill does not require institutions to certify civil union partnerships.

The results of a Public Policy Polling survey conducted in early Februart match almost exactly results of a survey conducted last January by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and American Viewpoint. More than 70 percent of Coloradans support legally recognized domestic partnerships, including those between same-sex couples.

First Kiss better than sex...


From ABC: "Psychologists report that most people can remember up to 90 percent of the details of their first romantic kiss, a memory that is even more powerful that their first sexual encounter."

I have to agree. To this day I definitely remember my first romantic kiss. My first real sexual encounter, meh...

Romance is where it's at kids... Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from Mishka... precious



(via John Herrera)

Arcade Fire wins Album of the Year

Arcade Fire celebrated an amazing dark horse win last night for Album of the Year for The Suburbs at the Grammys, beating out Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Lady Antebellum.

Watch Arcade Fire's video for "The Suburbs" -

Matt Zarley: "We Belong - The Trevor Project Single"

Out singer/songwriter Matt Zarley has spent the last several years climbing the Billboard Dance charts with his hits “While You See A Chance” and “Where Did You Come From” while his music videos & interviews have been featured on “The Hit List” and CBS News on LOGO.

In addition to his music, Matt is also known for his appearances in principal roles on Broadway and breaking ground as the first openly gay man featured in People Magazine’s “Most Eligible Bachelors.”

While in the studio for his upcoming CD, he’s also taken time to cover the 80s iconic Pat Benatar hit “We Belong” as a charity single to benefit The Trevor Project. The song is available as a two-song download: pop version and DJ Bill Bennett dance remix.

With gay bullying becoming a national topic of discussion, The Trevor Project continues to be a leading provider of life-saving and life-affirming resources including nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.

I recently spoke with Matt while he was in the studio putting the finishing touches on “We Belong.”

Randy: How did this project come about?
Matt: I was approached by DJ Bill Bennett last year about doing a charity single for The Trevor Project. I thought "We Belong" would work beautifully and is a song that is very uniting. Plus it's never covered. It felt like a great fit.

R: Why The Trevor Project?
M: I've had a personal connection with TTP for a few years. With the abundance of media attention this past year regarding the bullying epidemic, I wanted to find a way to raise some visibility to the cause. The work that they do is so important.

R: Why do you think this song is relevant to the Trevor Project and it's mission?
M: I assume that the song (when Pat Benatar recorded it) was a love song. But if you listen to the lyrics, it can really be open for interpretation. I hear the song as more of an anthem of unity. I think that regardless of your orientation or viewpoint, we are all of the same earth... and we are all the same. We truly all belong TOGETHER.

R: Is there a particular lyric in "We Belong" that you hope gay and lesbian teens hear or take to heart?
M: Definitely..."whatever we deny or embrace, for worse or for better, we belong together."

R: In a perfect world, what would you like people to get from listening to this recording?
M: To have a sense of hope, and to remember that we are all one in the same. We need to support and love one another, not bully and hate.

R: While we’re talking music, what can you tell us about the new CD?
M: Well, I’ve got several tracks in production right now, and we’re looking at a summer release date. Tentatively titled “Change Begins With Me.”



“We Belong” is available on all major music download sites.

Click here to download from iTunes.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Betty Garrett passes away at the age of 91

I had the great gift of working with Betty Garrett in the Broadway revival of FOLLIES in 2001 at the Belasco Theater. She was a wonderful, warm and funny woman who brought the house down with her performance of "Broadway Baby."

I always remember Betty got the theater early, went out to the stage to do her own warm-up, physically and vocally, and I can't recall her ever missing a show.

The audiences loved her. And she showed a genuine love for them. There was a joy and smile in her eyes all the time it seemed.

Most people may remember her from her recurring roles on "All In The Family" and "Laverne & Shirley" but her career stretched back decades to Hollywood. She starred in movie musical classics like "On The Town" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" opposite Frank Sinatra, and at 27 she signed a contract with MGM, then the king of musical movies.

Her career took a terrible hit during the Red Hunt of the 1950s when her husband, Larry Parks, was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and he admitted that he had joined the Communist Party in 1941 and left in 1944 or 1945.

From MSNBC: Parks had won stardom and an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his dynamic portrayal of singer Al Jolson in the 1946 "The Jolson Story." But in 1951, he was
Pressed to name his fellow members of the party, Parks pleaded not to be forced "to crawl through the mud as an informer." He agreed to testify fully in executive session.

He made one more film, "Love Is Better Than Ever" with Elizabeth Taylor, then his film career was over.

"It was a dark period, a foolish, foolish period," Garrett said in 1998. "It destroyed a lot of lives and ruined my husband's career."

In 1998, she published her autobiography, "Betty Garrett and Other Songs," which was the title of her one-woman show.

I really loved seeing her smile before a performance of FOLLIES began. She, and her smile, will be missed.
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