Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hee-hee; I'm an "Elitist Prick"!

There's a very lame hoo-haw on Slog concerning John McCain's $500 shoes. Eli Sanders originally posted a quote from Christopher Hayes, where Hayes wonders why some Democrat blogger doesn't make a stink about the high price of said shoes and implying that if the shoe were on the other foot, (meaning if Obama was displaying inappropriate signs of wealth and priviledge), the Republicans would be all over it.

Here's the link to the original Slog post:

I responded with this comment:

Lame. The reason that this isn't a story, is that $500 for a pair of shoes isn't that big of a deal for most Americans. Lots of blue collar types have athletic shoes that cost over a $100 and many people own boots up in that range.

Hitchens is an ass.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 30, 2008 2:50 PM

Quite a few other people agreed with me, that this was NOT a big deal, but a few were outraged:

I am distressed that anyone would spend $500 for a pair of shoes. SHOES?! What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Posted by Greg | July 30, 2008 3:45 PM

"$500 for a pair of shoes isn't that big of a deal for most Americans"

Did you mean to say "most gay Americans?"

Posted by rjh | July 30, 2008 4:24 PM

I can't believe the number of people here who think $500 "isn't much" for shoes? Where do you people work? And can I have some of your extra scratch?

Posted by Andrew | July 30, 2008 5:38 PM

This next one, is either posted by my arch-nemesis, or someone being funny:

@8 Hey Mr. Michael Strangeways.... you're an out of touch jackass. Most Americans these days can barely afford their basic bills, let alone buy $500 shoes. Do you understand what this economy is doing to middle and lower class people?

Apparently not, if you think blowing $500 on a pair of fucking shoes is 'no big deal for most Americans'.

Fuck you and yer Bruno Malis or whatever the fuck they are, you elitist prick. Shove 'em up yer kiester. How out of touch with the real world are you?

You're an ass.

Posted by michael strangeways is an elitist prick | July 30, 2008 11:24 PM

Obviously, I HAD to respond to that vicious attack:

uh, I make $15 an hour and my primary pair of shoes are Chuck Taylor knock-offs from Payless that have holes in the soles. The most expensive shoes I own are $200 Kenneth Cole boots I bought 15 years ago in NYC. The very attractive shirt I'm wearing today, I took from my apartment building's laundry room after it had been abandoned for three months. I don't own a car and have considerable debt.

Sounds pretty elitist to me.

Some of you have an odd view of America as a nation of people living on the edge of poverty. We're very much a middle class country. As of 2004, the median household income was $43,389. The vast majority of Americans are probably unlikely to pay $500 for a pair of shoes, but a majority of Americans COULD afford to BUY a pair of $500 shoes, once a year, if they so desired.

$500 dress shoes worn by a millionaire are not that shocking or insulting. I think you'd have to hit the $1k mark and have them made out of stem cells before you'd get much public outcry over a pair of goddamned shoes.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 31, 2008 9:49 AM

oh, and dude, it's Bruno MAGLI.

UPDATE: I misread the original post and thought that it was a quote from Christopher HITCHENS and not Christopher HAYES, from The Nation. I apologize to Mr Hitchens and stand corrected.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update: Jackson County Heatwave

I've received word from my iconic porn director that he's still interested in Jackson County Heatwave, which is nice to know. I was getting worried he was going to either steal it from me and not pay or credit me, (the sleazy Hollywood stereotype) or let it languish and do nothing with it, (another Hollywood pitfall)but he reassured me that that wasn't the case. In all my dealings with him so far, he's been a nice guy, so that's good. (I also sent him a new scenario, which he also liked; it involves border crossings, strip searches and maybe a Mountie. I'm hoping we can film it at the Peace Arch...)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sophia Petrillo is Mort...

According to TMZ and DListed, actress Estelle Getty passed away at her home in Los Angeles this morning after battling Lewy Body Dementia. She was 85.

I'll resist the urge to sing, "Thank you for being a friend" but the sentiment is there in my heart.

A toast to America's favorite Sicilian grandmother.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm not all fluff...

I also saw the Philip Glass documentary at Northwest Film Forum. It wasn't quite as toe tapping good as Mamma Mia, but I still had an enjoyable time and learned a lot about Glass. The best parts were the scenes from his recent opera, The Barbarians; the music was amazing and the production design was gorgeous. Oh, and it (the documentary)had appearances from Errol Morris, Woody Allen and Chuck Close, whose portrait of Glass appears to your left.

Notes on Mamma Mia!

1)I like all kinds of music and I hate music snobs. If you can't appreciate and adore Abba, you have no soul. It's pop music at its best and it exists purely to entertain and lift your spirits.
2)I've never seen a stage production of Mamma Mia, but I own the cast album and I'm aware of its meager plot. Like many a musical, Mia is cursed with an inane book.
3)I went to the Meryl Streep starring movie version on Saturday with high hopes of a good time, but also burdened by a slight headache and rotten mood not improved by a slow moving line at the concession stand and then having to face the fact that the screening was almost full and I was going to have to sit in the front row.

Next to a six year old boy.
4)Mamma Mia the movie is ineptly directed and very badly photographed. (In some shots, Streep looks about 30 and in others, she looks older than God's nightgown). The plot is unoriginal (The Secret of Santa Vittoria was obviously a major influence) and the characters are cardboard and crudely drawn. The female characters carry the show and get all the best songs and lines and the men have nothing to do. The actresses are hammy and the actors playing the three dads, cannot sing and aren't very interesting. The Greek setting is beautiful but the interior sets look phony and harshly lighted. A couple of the songs are boring and desperately need trimmed out of the film.
5)All that being said, Mamma Mia is the most fun I've had at the movies in a very long time. It's silly and campy and dumb and a hell of a lot of fun. The very mixed audience I saw it with, (quite a few geighs and 40ish women but also quite a few families and young couples) had a very enjoyable time and there was some subtle sing-a-longs happening during the more beloved numbers. It lifted my spirits and improved my mood immensely and I might see it again, hopefully with better seats.
6)Oh, and STAY THROUGH THE CLOSING CREDITS!!! There's a very entertaining medley during the credits with the entire cast singing the major songs, just like the stage show.

Sophie can sing; 007 can't...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

There will be no arguments. There will be no discussions.

She is our Queen, the most amazing woman on the planet.

She turns 63 in a few days. But regardless of age, she is timeless.

I'm a Kinsey Six, but this is a hot, hot WOMAN. Not a girl, not a lady, not a tramp.

A Woman, in all her power and glory.

And I'm not just talking about the externals. The brain, the mouth, the heart; she is a complete package.

Source: Daily Mail/Jason Frasier but I originally saw it on DListed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jackson County Heatwave, Parts One and Two

I wrote this treatment for a gay porn film last fall and sent it to a director who liked it. I haven't heard from him in awhile, so I don't know what's going on with it, but I think it's important to see this seminal work published for the world to enjoy...Oh, and it's copyrighted by ME, Michael Strangeways and all rights reserved so don't go stealing it for your own prurient purposes.

It’s 110 degrees in the shade in Jackson County and the power supply is straining at the overload…

Introductory Scene) The offices of Jackson Brothers Tool & Dye (wink). The air conditioning is on the blink and it’s sweltering in the office. Pregnant receptionist Pam goes into labor and the only other female in the office, her best friend Karen, rushes her to the hospital. To alleviate their discomfort, Bob Jackson the normally by the rules boss, allows the 4 men in the sales office to strip down in an effort to keep cool. He sends a 5th man, the youngest in the office, Jesse, home so he can come back later at night when it’s cooler to finish the all important quarterly report. After Jesse leaves, another man Nick volunteers to help Jesse and Mr Jackson agrees. A little nervously, the men gradually start to shed ties, shoes, socks and unbutton their shirts…But Mr Jackson can’t join them; he has a job interview to conduct…

Scene 2)Matt Carruthers is a hunky, young, recent college graduate nervously interviewing with the seemingly for boding boss Mr Jackson. It’s not helping matters that it’s hotter than hell in the conference room. But when Mr Jackson starts to shed some clothes and urges Matt to join him, naturally he has to mirror the actions of his potential new boss…

Scene 3)Tom played hooky from work today and is lounging around in the yard soaking up some rays and drinking beer. When a new mailman, Zack, nearly passes out from dehydration in Tom’s front yard, naturally Tom has to play the good Samaritan and get Zack stripped down and cooled off…

Scene 4)Down in the tool & dye shop, most of the men have been sent home due to the extreme heat. Adam is working on a simple project but spills a dangerous solvent on his pants and the foreman Phil and his buddy Sean have to rush Adam into the chemical shower and strip him down and hose him off….

Scene 5)Upstairs at the office, the three remaining office workers are trying to get cooler… but seem to be getting only hotter. All of them are stripped down to their underwear but no one’s quite brave enough to go all the way. There’s a lot of furtive looks and subtle crotch tugging going on and rampant boners. Then nerdishly hot I.T. guy Devon comes in to hook up some new printer cables under the desks of one of the men and he gets more than an eyeful….the others join in AND Mr Jackson…finally, as their orgasms subside, the power goes out…

End of Part One

Part Two

Scene 6)It’s after work now, and Frank, one of the office workers, goes to his AA meeting. Zack, the mailman is there, too and only two other guys; the heatwave has scared off everyone else…it’s sweltering hot in the darkened meeting room and as the men testify about various addictions, the clothes start coming off…

Scene 7)Back at the office. It’s 10pm and Jesse is back in the office to work on the quaterly report. He’s surprised to find Nick there, wearing very little. Nick explains he has to work late, too…Jesse starts his work, but Nick doesn’t seem to be doing too much. Nick takes a brief sexy phone call from his ‘honey’ and he gets a boner which he doesn’t make much effort to hide. He then shows Jesse a picture of his ‘honey’, and it’s picture of a very hot man, Dr Nate. Jesse is a little surprised and Nick winks and tells him, you can’t judge a book by its cover. They go back to work for a moment then Nick takes another phone call from Nate which develops into full blown jacking off and Jesse joins in. The two are going at it hot and heavy when Marco, the cleaning man shows up. The men quickly try to cover themselves and act non-chalant but soon Marco strips down and they all go at it.

Scene 8)It’s 1am in the morning now, and Pam, the pregnant receptionist is still in labor. Her young husband, Cody, passes out in the delivery room and Dr Nate, (Nick's lover) boots the young man out of the room to recover; besides, Pam has a long way to go and seems to prefer having her best friend Karen as coach. The primary waiting room for maternity is being remodeled so Cody heads to a more secluded waiting room on the next floor where there aren’t currently any staff or patients. There, he meets Ken, a ruggedly handsome Ken Mack-ish, blue collar kind of guy similarly waiting for HIS wife to give birth to their 4th child. When Ken starts commenting on how horny he is because his wife has cut him from sex for the last few months of pregnancy, Cody has to admit he’s suffering, too. Ken also confesses that this last child was unplanned and to prevent anymore ‘accidents’ from happening, that he’s had a vasectomy. Cody asks him about the procedure, then Ken is more than happy to show Cody his scar…of course, Dr Nate has to show up to do a thorough exam and at the end of it all, casually informs them that they are both new fathers of healthy baby girls.

Scene 9)It’s an official brownout now, and the power is off in most of the county. Mr Jackson is too hot to sleep in his bed so he goes to try and catch some zzz’s on his screened in porch. As he tosses and turns, his hands begin caressing his body. Though it’s the wee hours of the morning, there’s quite a few men out and about and Mr Jackson’s little show draws them like moths to a flame. First it’s his next door neighbor, then the 19yr old paper boy and finally it’s a jogger and it gets very ‘Body Heat’ ish as the screens get ripped down…As the last orgasm rips through them, the power comes back on…or maybe it rains…but that’s probably too expensive…

Po' Mr Poe...

Under his new pseudonym, Hubert Cumberdale, Mr Poe has been swatted down like a pesky gnat on this very dull Gawker post which seems to be about some Gawker writer/insider and her hatred of ugly ass Talbots clothing. Slog can be pretty navel-gazey and dull at times but I don't think they've stooped to the depths of this banality, and if they had, it was probably pretty short and sweet... here's the link and down below some quotes from the site:

Hubert Cumberdale at 05:26 PM
People who rip on Sheila should be forced to asphyxiate themselves. Jezebel is just a click away, you dolts

karion at 05:39 PM
@Hubert Cumberdale: Step aside, nephew. This is way too insidery for you. You have no idea how much Sheila should be fired.

Hubert Cumberdale at 05:44 PM
I'm scared of saying something now. Riddled with fear and trepidation, I'll settle with this: snniiiiiiiiiiiiiff.

I do feel sorry for Mr Poe. Being a tiny minnow in the big Gawker Media pond can be traumatic...and humorous to those of us content to be middle size minnows in middle sized ponds...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reflections on beauty.

I'm chagrined to admit that I watched/skimmed portions of the Miss Universe pageant last night. It was the first time in many, many years that I had seen a beauty pageant on tv. I have a few observations...

1)Donald Trump now owns the Miss Universe/Miss USA organization and it shows. He's managed to turn a tacky dinosaur turd of a travesty into a sleazefest of epic porportions. The majority of contestants look like high end call girls or porn stars, and in more than one case, several looked suspiciously like they might be tucking penises between their asscheeks. At best, it was like a two hour video magazine version of Maxim. Oh, and Donald Trump, Junior was the first judge introduced. The rest of the judges were a Who's Who of banality. Ethnically, they were dominated by Americans and Europeans. I don't think there were any African judges...there was a Bollywood actress and a local Vietnamese official in a cheap suit.

2)The show was in Vietnam this year and it was interesting to note that pageants are still loyal to their roots of being primarially a marketing tool to boost tourism and trade; it was two hours of promotion for the Vietnam Board of Tourism with dozens of shots of tourist spots and western style beach resorts. And the efforts the show took to AVOID mentioning the war or the presence of communism couldn't help but remind me of "The Germans" episode of Fawlty Towers and I sort of hoped John Cleese would make an appearance at the pageant to stage whisper from the sidelines, "Whatever you do, don't mention the war!!"

3)The first elimination of the show brought the number of contestants down to 15. They consisted of Miss Australia, 6 Europeans, 4 Latins, 2 Asians, 1 African and Miss USA. Despite the fact that "white" people are outnumbered by people of Asian and African descent, only 4 of the 15 were not of whole or partial European ethnicity and the two black contestants, Miss USA and Miss South Africa were both very light skinned and both could quite easily be cast in a remake of "Imitation of Life". Whenever the camera pulled back for a long shot of the 15 standing on stage, it was difficult to discern the individual ethnicity of the contestants; they were various shades of Spray Tan raging from Light Tan to Medium Light Tan. The majority of the women had the same brunette hair weave trailing halfway down their backs; the Barbie Doll/Porn Star hairstyle is still popular in pageant culture. There were two blondish girls, no redheads and no short hair. I'd say about half the girls had had some work done; more than one pair of breasts failed the natural bounce test as they strutted across the stage. The make-up was tranny fierce; the sweet, natural faced girl next door look is apparently an anathma in the modern pageant world. The next two cuts brought it down to the final five consisting of 4 Latins and Miss Russia. For the 5th time in 57 years, Miss Venezuela took the crown and doubled her chances of being offered a gig as a Latin American television hostess or becoming a mistress of an Andean junta leader or jungle drug lord. (I keed, I keed; Dayana Mendoza looks like a lovely young woman...and one who desperately needs to eat a cheeseburger or two.)

4)Jerry Springer and Scary Spice were the hosts. Both have horrible accents and neither one has the sufficient hosting charisma necessary to preside over a two hour television event. Springer shouldn't be allowed to leave the studio where he shoots his freak show, and Scary is adorable but her cocky, cockney brashness works best when she's working off the cuff. He might be a twit, but Ryan Seacrest is very good at this sort of thing and I longed for his dwarfish, fey presence.

5)oh, and I missed it, but for the second year in a row, Miss USA took a tumble on the Miss Universe stage. I'm guessing that foreign papers around the world printed the story with the caption, "Like their President, Miss USA takes tumble on world stage"

Separated at Birth, Part Trois

Actors Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright were arrested in Louisiana over the weekend after refusing to leave a bar at closing. The two are filming Oliver Stone's George W Bush biography, W. Here is Brolin's mugshot...I'm guessing that he shaved his head so he would be more comfortable wearing the numerous wigs required to play The Shrub from youth to the present.

And here's a picture of iconic porn star and writer, Scott O'Hara. It's not the best picture for comparison, but I think Brolin would be a natural for "The Scott O'Hara Story". He'd have to lose weight though, and would probably need to borrow Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler appliance to play the part...I have't heard of any rumors that Brolin is hung like a horse or a master of self-fellatio like O'Hara...

And, if you don't know who Scott O'Hara is, (or rather was; he died in 1998 from AIDS related complications), then I suggest you google him. He was an amazing guy, and a very good writer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Workplace Angst

Due to the fact I'm constantly whining about it, anyone who knows me is aware that I have a very boring job as a contractor (ie, temp) for "Redmond's largest software company". Like most contract workers, I'm not at liberty to say exactly what my job entails, but I can confidently tell you, like Larry King's sex life, it's not worth talking about. It involves search engines and customer reviews and the use of lots of different and dull Access based programs. It's so dull, that when I had to switch to a different project last week that involved a fucking Excel spreadsheet and the typing of either the letters "y" (for yes) or "n" (obviously, for no) that I found it to be a pleasant and interesting change from the drudgeries of my normal Access-specific workday routine despite the fact that I had to type "y" or "n" 15,000 times in those tiny little Excel boxes. At least the time went by quickly and I didn't have the time to fret over the usual things that irritate me at work, like the braying laughter of certain co-workers or misuse of storage space in the refrigerator or the irritating problems caused by having only 4 single occupancy bathrooms in an office with 40 to 50 employees or the irritating summer presence of an endless stream of Ducks braying down lower Stoneway on their way to Lake Union.

Actually, I will bitch about the bathrooms for a moment. First of all, I have to admit that there are good as well as bad points about our bathroom facilities. On the positive side, I don't have to face the awkward situation of using the urinal next to friendly but uptight heterosexual male co-workers. Oh, I'm guessing that most of the men here are to some degree or another, gay-friendly but there's still that awkward moment with straight acquaintances when you encounter each other, dick to dick so to speak, in the mens room. I always feel like they're nervous that I might be trying to catch a look at their one-eyed trouser snake, so I make a point to pointedly look straight up at the ceiling while I'm taking a whiz. I think they're doing the same thing but tend to do so while nervously whistling.

Of course, occassionally, I DO want to check out what they have to offer in the dingle-dangle department so I have to surreptiously sneak a look to see if they measure up to expectations. This usually only happens if the dude in question is either really hot, out of the ordinary (meaning super tall or short or strange looking) or if they're jerks and you need confirmation that rude, nasty assholes are, hopefully, badly hung.

The one person you never want to stand next to at an urinal, is your boss. It's just...awkward and weird; like catching your grandparents making out on the front-porch swing. Icky.

Unless, of course, you have a different plan for climbing the corporate ladder...and your boss is cute and hung.

The main thing that bugs me about our single occupancy bathrooms is the fact that we obviously have to share them with the ladies which also means we have to share them with that little metal trashcan that sits next to the know the one I'm talking about...the one that smells like Death and Life and Fecundity all wrapped up in a stink sandwich. Aunt Flo's Final Resting Place. The Stable where the old cotton ponies go to die. Don't make me spell it out any further, people...

Probably the problem is, I haven't had to live in a household with a menstruating female for 20 years so I've gotten unaccostommed to life with a healthy, vibrant and actively functioning vagina. And when I did live with one, it was my mother's and therefore not a part of my day to day consciousness; I think most people prefer to think of their parents and relatives as having the smooth plastic and non-defined genitalia of a Ken or Barbie doll, if they think of it at all...Regardless, I'm not an expert at living with vaginas and I could be overly sensitive on the subject and maybe the smell isn't that bad.

OR, maybe the stench is out of control because the damn janitorial staff doesn't empty the fucking tampon trashcans often enough, or bother to scrub them out once and awhile with some fucking Lysol, or maybe we just have some stinky slobby women working here on strange diets that funk up their bodily secretions...I dunno; your guess is as good as mine.

Generally speaking...

in the broadest terms:

Men are hot.

Women are interesting.

Pre-pubescent boys are adorable.

Pre-pubescent girls are cloying.

Teenagers are gross.

Obviously not all men are hot, (ie. men I find sexually desirable) and not all women are interesting, (worthy of friendship and conversation) and my observations of the pre-pubescent are confined to memories of my own youth and brief encounters with children of friends and acquaintances but I think that sums it up in a nutshell.

Oh, and ALL teenagers are gross to one degree or another, even the "nice" ones. That transitionary period between youth and adult is repulsive on so many levels.

OT: why the fuck doesn't Spellcheck recognize the word "transitionary"?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Film Nerds Rejoice!!

Film archivists at the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires have discovered a COMPLETE 16mm print of Fritz Lang's classic 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis! Lang was forced to make cuts to the film after it's original limited release and 20% of the original cut was removed from the film. Due to the fact that such exised material was rarely saved, the devasting effects of World War II and the deteriorating nature of nitrate film stock, it was long thought that the footage or any existing prints of the original version was lost forever. The print isn't in the best shape, but it's likely that it can be restored sufficiently enough to be re-edited into the film for eventual screenings and a dvd release.

Metropolis is a great film and one I can recommend to people who are afraid they'll be bored by a silent film. It's visually stunning and a cultural landmark that still influences filmmakers and artists.

I originally saw this at Digital Bits: