26 July 2014

No Bicycles Were Harmed (At Least, Not Physically) In Making This Movie

I am going to make a confession:  I simply could not get through Fifty Shades of Grey.

I tried. I really tried.  You see, I am not at all averse to erotic fiction.  And, every once in a while, I need a mindless diversion.

It's not as if I was expecting FSG to be the next Lady Chatterley's Lover or even Histoire d'O.  But--call me a snob--I have some standards when it comes to writing.  FSG started off well below them and sank with every page I managed to read.  

How bad is it?  How can anyone, with a straight face, write or publish a novel that has both of these sentences:  "Her curiosity oozes through the phone" and "My mom is oozing contrition"?  Worse, those aren't the only passages containing some form of the verb "to ooze".  The only time someone should use any form of that word more than once in a piece of writing is when he or she is writing about a volcanic eruption.

That's not even the worst offense I saw in what I managed to read.

I don't think I have to tell you I won't be seeing the movie.  

Apparently, a trailer for the flick, which is scheduled to be screened--when else?--next Valentine's Day, is on the web.  Someone named "Christine B." who has a stronger stomach than mine or is getting paid for her troubles, posted the one and only scene that might even be mildly interesting.  That's because it features the only credible character, if you will"  a bicycle.

25 July 2014

Gay Rights = Loss Of Religious Freedom. Haven't We Heard That One Before?

New Orleans is often called "The Big Easy."  While that nickname might depict life--at least some aspects of it--in the Crescent City, it doesn't apply to the state--Louisiana--of which it is a part.

Interestingly, New Orleans extended its anti-discrimination laws to protect gender identity and expression in 1998, four years before New York City managed to do the same.  And, of course, New Orleans was known to have a lively gay culture and "scene"--even if much of it was underground--long before it held its first "official" Pride event in 1978.  

Even with such an environment, there were reminders--some of them truly awful--that the "N'awlins" is indeed located in Dixie.  On 24 June 1973, the UpStairs Lounge, club that provided meeting space for the city's first LGBT-affirming congregation, was set ablaze in an arson attack. Thirty-two people died as a result.  Rodger Dale Nunez, the only suspect arrested for the attack, escaped from psychiatric custody and was never again picked up by the police, even though he spent a lot of time hanging around in the French Quarter neighborhood surrounding the UpStairs Lounge.  He committed suicide in November 1974.  Six years later, the state fire marshal's office. lacking other leads, closed the case.

I mention this to give you an idea of what a formidable task some folks in Baton Rouge, the state's capital, are trying to do:  pass a "Fairness Ordinance" banning discrimination against gays and lesbians in their city. Not surprisingly, it's meeting with fierce opposition from people who claim that passing such an ordinance will inhibit their religious freedom?

How many times have we heard that argument?  How many more times must we hear it before everyone realizes how bogus it is?

20 July 2014

Sunday Sailing


I admit this photo hasn't much to do with gender identity or any related issue. I took it on Point Lookout, one of the places to which I rode my bike last week.

But somehow it seems right for a Sunday afternoon in summer.  And I suppose it has something like composition and a balance of tones in it.  Even if it doesn't, I hope you like it.